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CHURCHLAND, KANDEL AND DOOYEWEERD ON THE REDUCIBILITY OF MIND STATES

In: Philosophia Reformata
Author:
Gerrit Glas
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This article is devoted to the conceptual analysis of two texts of leading scholars in cognitive neuroscience and its philosophy, Patricia Churchland and Eric Kandel. After a short introduction about the notion of reduction, I give a detailed account of the way both scientists view the relationship between theories about brain functioning on the one hand and consciousness and psychopathology, respectively, on the other hand. The analysis not only reveals underlying philosophical mind/brain conceptions and their inner tensions, but also the conceptual relevance of distinctions that are fundamental in the work of Dooyeweerd, such as the distinction between modes and entities, between law and subject and between subject function and object function. After a brief clarification of the way these distinctions function in Dooyeweerd’s theory of the body as an ‘enkaptic structural whole’, I try to explain how the conceptual framework, developed here, could be applied to brain functioning and leads to greater clarity in neuroscientific theorizing.

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