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There's Room in the Lab for an Armchair Report on the 'Philosophy and Neuroscience' Conference Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 17-20, October 2002

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Max Tegmark, a physicist at the University of Pennsylania recently remarked, 'To tell you the truth, I think most of my colleagues are terrified of talking to philosophers -- like being caught coming out of a pornographic cinema.' Fortunately, it would seem that at least some neuroscientists do not suffer from such reticence when it comes to their professional relationship with philosophy. Testament to this was the quality and variety of the papers in both philosophically- ambitious-neuroscience and neuroscience-inspired-philosophy at what must be said (or 'confessed', if you're a Tegmarkian neuroscientist) to be a truly interdisciplinary conference. Several times I heard one audience member ask another whether the speaker was a neuroscientist or a philosopher. These days, it's hard to tell without knowing which department of the university they are employed by. In many cases, it is a distinction without difference -- Patricia Churchland is the obvious example of a speaker who is both. It also should not go unnoticed that thanks to her coining of the term with her seminal 1986 book, we now have the field of 'neurophilosophy'.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, 215 Huron Street, Toronto, Canada., Email:

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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