Neuroscience is now very popular and many research projects are going. The purpose of this paper is to examine what kind of ideology is required to promote neuroscientific research. Aim of applied science is easily understood by society. In the case of pure science or basic science, the aim is “to reveal the truth”. But such abstract idea is not sufficient to get financial support from society. Genetics has an ideology of “gene reductionism”. Dawkins coined the term “selfish gene” and it had a strong influence in society. Neuroscience needs such kind of ideology and term to appeal to society.
Brain sciences can show that our acts are caused by deterministic processes in our brain and that our acts are often influenced by unconscious brain processes, but these facts alone cannot deny free will. Brain sciences are important rather because they, along with other biological and behavioral sciences, offer the data that seem troublesome for compatibilists. The problem of free will cannot be solved either by conceptual analysis alone or by empirical research alone. Whether we endorse reductionism or non-reductionism, it is necessary to revise our commonsense concept of free will to establish compatibilism.
To survive in changeable circumstances, we have to make appropriate decisions on our behavior. Recent studies have suggested that we have two brain processes to calculate reward values of objects. One is the process coding a specific reward value of a stimulus or event dependent on direct experience. The other enables us to predict reward based on the internal model of given circumstances, including societies, which doesn't necessarily require direct experience. The nigro-striatal network works for the model-free decision and the prefrontal network contributes to the model-based decision. These two networks are cooperative in one occasion and are competitive in another.
Neuroscientific claims have a significant impact on traditional philosophy. This essay, focusing on the field of moral neuroscience, discusses how and why philosophy can contribute to neuroscientific progress. First, viewing the interactions between moral neuroscience and moral philosophy, it becomes clear that moral philosophy can and does contribute to moral neuroscience in two ways: as explanandum and as explanans. Next, it is shown that moral philosophy is well suited to contribute to moral neuroscience in both of these two ways in the context of the problem of ecological validity. Philosophy can play the role of an agent for ecological validity, since traditional philosophy shapes and reflects part of our social reality. Finally, based on these arguments, I tentatively sketch how a Kantian account of moral incentive can play this role.
Although physicalism is usually understood as an ontological thesis, it is not clear that what implications this position has on the matter of ontology expressed by the question “What there is?” In this paper, I begin with Quine's “indispensability argument,” and abstract from it a framework for sorting ontological positions. Then, I try to locate supervenience thesis, which is an important part of physicalism, within the framework above. One conclusion of this paper is that supervenience thesis works, neither as a direct assertion on what there is nor as an assertion on the criterion of ontological commitment we should adopt, but as an assertion on the class of the sentences from which we should extract ontology.
According to contextualism, the content of the predicate ‘know’ changes with the context of utterance, in other words, the truth conditions of knowledge attributions depend on the attributor's context. Invariantists object it and argue that the assertability conditions of knowledge attributions, but not the truth conditions, depend on the attributor's context. Keith DeRose has recently proposed a new argument against such an invariantist response. His argument uses the knowledge account of assertion and the context sensitivity of assertion. I argue that DeRose's argument fails to rule out invariantism so that invariantism is still an important option for us.