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7.2a. Imaging and Localization (Imaging and Localization on PhilPapers)

See also:
Anderson, Michael L. (2007). Massive redeployment, exaptation, and the functional integration of cognitive operations. Synthese 159 (3).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Abstract: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional topography of the human brain, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components-originally developed to serve some specific purpose-were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs. If the evolution of cognition was indeed driven by such exaptation, then we should be able to make some specific empirical predictions regarding the resulting functional topography of the brain. This essay discusses three such predictions, and some of the evidence supporting them. Then, using this account as a background, the essay considers the implications of these findings for an account of the functional integration of cognitive operations. For instance, MRH suggests that in order to determine the functional role of a given brain area it is necessary to consider its participation across multiple task categories, and not just focus on one, as has been the typical practice in cognitive neuroscience. This change of methodology will motivate (even perhaps necessitate) the development of a new, domain-neutral vocabulary for characterizing the contribution of individual brain areas to larger functional complexes, and direct particular attention to the question of how these various area roles are integrated and coordinated to result in the observed cognitive effect. Finally, the details of the mix of cognitive functions a given area supports should tell us something interesting not just about the likely computational role of that area, but about the nature of and relations between the cognitive functions themselves. For instance, growing evidence of the role of “motor” areas like M1, SMA and PMC in language processing, and of “language” areas like Broca’s area in motor control, offers the possibility for significantly reconceptualizing the nature both of language and of motor control
Anderson, Michael L. (2007). The massive redeployment hypothesis and the functional topography of the brain. Philosophical Psychology 21 (2):143-174.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This essay introduces the massive redeployment hypothesis, an account of the functional organization of the brain that centrally features the fact that brain areas are typically employed to support numerous functions. The central contribution of the essay is to outline a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other, in such a way as to account for the supporting data on both sides of the argument. The massive redeployment hypothesis is supported by case studies of redeployment, and compared and contrasted with other theories of the localization of function
Avison, M. J. (2002). Functional brain mapping: What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Brain and Mind 3:367-73.   (Google)
Bechtel, William P. (2001). Decomposing and localizing vision: An exemplar for cognitive neuroscience. In William P. Bechtel, Pete Mandik, Jennifer Mundale & Robert S. Stufflebeam (eds.), Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader. Blackwell.   (Cited by 10 | Google)
Bechtel, William P. (2002). Decomposing the brain: A long term pursuit. Brain and Mind 3 (1):229-242.   (Cited by 15 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper defends cognitive neuroscience’s project of developing mechanistic explan- ations of cognitive processes through decomposition and localization against objections raised by William Uttal in The New Phrenology. The key issue between Uttal and researchers pursuing cognitive neuroscience is that Uttal bets against the possibility of decomposing mental operations into component elementary operations which are localized in distinct brain regions. The paper argues that it is through advancing and revising what are likely to be overly simplistic and incorrect decompositions that the goals of cognitive neuroscience are likely to be achieved
Bechtel, William P. & Stufflebeam, Robert S. (1997). PET: Exploring the myth and the method. Philosophy Of Science 64 (4).   (Google)
Berridge, Kent C. (2009). Wanting and liking: Observations from the neuroscience and psychology laboratory. Inquiry 52 (4):378 – 398.   (Google)
Abstract: Different brain mechanisms seem to mediate wanting and liking for the same reward. This may have implications for the modular nature of mental processes, and for understanding addictions, compulsions, free will and other aspects of desire. A few wanting and liking phenomena are presented here, together with discussion of some of these implications
Blair, James R. & Perschardt, Karina S. (2001). Empathy: A unitary circuit or a set of dissociable neuro-cognitive systems? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):27-28.   (Google)
Abstract: We question whether empathy is mediated by a unitary circuit. We argue that recent neuroimaging data indicate dissociable neural responses for different facial expressions as well as for representing others' mental states (Theory of Mind, TOM). We also argue that the general empathy disorder considered characteristic of autism and psychopathy is not general but specific for each disorder
Bogen, James (2002). Experiment and observation. In The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Cambridge: Blackwell.   (Google)
Bogen, James (2002). Epistemological custard pies from functional brain imaging. Philosophy of Science 69 (3):S59-S71.   (Google | More links)
Bogen, James (2001). Functional imaging evidence: Some epistemic hotspots. In Peter K. Machamer, Peter McLaughlin & Rick Grush (eds.), Theory and Method in the Neurosciences. University of Pittsburgh Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Buller, David J. & Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (2000). Evolutionary psychology, meet developmental neurobiology: Against promiscuous modularity. Brain and Mind 1 (3):307-25.   (Cited by 28 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychologists claim that the mind contains “hundreds or thousands” of “genetically specified” modules, which are evolutionary adaptations for their cognitive functions. We argue that, while the adult human mind/brain typically contains a degree of modularization, its “modules” are neither genetically specified nor evolutionary adaptations. Rather, they result from the brain’s developmental plasticity, which allows environmental task demands a large role in shaping the brain’s information-processing structures. The brain’s developmental plasticity is our fundamental psychological adaptation, and the “modules” that result from it are adaptive responses to local conditions, not past evolutionary environments. If different individuals share common environ- ments, however, they may develop similar “modules,” and this process can mimic the development of genetically specified modules in the evolutionary psychologist’s sense
Burock, Marc, Over‐interpreting functional neuroimages.   (Google)
Abstract: Cognitive neuroscientists use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure properties of a participant’s brain during a cognitive task. These imaging results are transformed into compelling pictures of brain activity using statistical models. I will argue that, for a broad class of experiments, neuroimaging experts have a tendency to over‐interpret the functional significance of their data. This over‐interpretation appears to follow from contentious theoretical assumptions about the mind‐brain connection, and from a propensity to conflate the anatomical location of a statistically‐significant correlation with knowledge of the mechanistic functioning at that location
Celone, Kim & Stern, Chantal (2009). A neuroimaging perspective on the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) in educational and legal systems. American Journal of Bioethics 9 (1):28 – 29.   (Google)
Chaminade, Thierry & Decety, Jean (2001). A common framework for perception and action: Neuroimaging evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):879-882.   (Google)
Abstract: In recent years, neurophysiological evidence has accumulated in favor of a common coding between perception and execution of action. We review findings from recent neuroimaging experiments in the action domain with three complementary perspectives: perception of action, covert action triggered by perception, and reproduction of perceived action (imitation). All studies point to the parietal cortex as a key region for body movement representation, both observed and performed
Cleeremans, Axel & Maia, Tiago V. (2005). Consciousness: Converging insights from connectionist modeling and neuroscience. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (8):397-404.   (Google)
Abstract: Over the past decade, many findings in cognitive about the contents of consciousness: we will not address neuroscience have resulted in the view that selective what might be called the ‘enabling factors’ for conscious- attention, working memory and cognitive control ness (e.g. appropriate neuromodulation from the brain- stem, etc.). involve competition between widely distributed rep-
Cleeremans, Axel (2006). Computational Correlates of Consciousness. In Steven Laureys (ed.), The Boundaries of Consciousness: Neurobiology and Neuropathology: Progress in Brain Research. Elsevier.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Over the past few years numerous proposals have appeared that attempt to characterize consciousness in terms of what could be called its computational correlates: Principles of information processing with which to characterize the differences between conscious and unconscious processing. Proposed computational correlates include architectural specialization (such as the involvement of specific regions of the brain in conscious processing), properties of representations (such as their stability in time or their strength), and properties of specific processes (such as resonance, synchrony, interactivity, or information integration). In exactly the same way as one can engage in a search for the neural correlates of consciousness, one can thus search for the computational correlates of consciousness. The most direct way of doing is to contrast models of conscious versus unconscious information processing. In this paper, I review these developments and illustrate how computational modeling of specific cognitive processes can be useful in exploring and in formulating putative computational principles through which to capture the differences between conscious and unconscious cognition. What can be gained from such approaches to the problem of consciousness is an understanding of the function it plays in information processing and of the mechanisms that subtend it. Here, I suggest that the central function of consciousness is to make it possible for cognitive agents to exert ?exible, adaptive control over behavior. From this perspective, consciousness is best characterized as involving (1) a graded continuum de?ned over quality of representation, such that availability to consciousness and to cognitive control correlates with properties of representation, and (2) the implication of systems of meta-representations
Cranford, Ronald E. & Killpatrick, Barbara (1981). Tests in the diagnosis of brain death: The role of the radioisotope brain scan. Bioethics Quarterly 3:67-72.   (Google | More links)
Crusio, Wim E. (1997). Neuropsychological inference using a microphrenological approach does not need a locality assumption. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (3):517-518.   (Google)
Downie, Jocelyn & Hadskis, Michael (2005). Finding the right compass for issue-mapping in neuroimaging. American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2):27 – 29.   (Google)
Ford, Paul J. & Kubu, Cynthia S. (2005). Caution in leaping from functional imaging to functional neurosurgery. American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2):23 – 25.   (Google)
Foster, Jonathan K. (1997). The “locality assumption”: Lessons from history and neuroscience? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (3):518-519.   (Google)
Gerrans, Philip & Stone, Valerie E. (2008). Generous or parsimonious cognitive architecture? Cognitive neuroscience and theory of mind. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Recent work in cognitive neuroscience on the child's Theory of Mind (ToM) has pursued the idea that the ability to metarepresent mental states depends on a domain-specific cognitive subystem implemented in specific neural circuitry: a Theory of Mind Module. We argue that the interaction of several domain-general mechanisms and lower-level domain-specific mechanisms accounts for the flexibility and sophistication of behavior, which has been taken to be evidence for a domain-specific ToM module. This finding is of more general interest since it suggests a parsimonious cognitive architecture can account for apparent domain specificity. We argue for such an architecture in two stages. First, on conceptual grounds, contrasting the case of language with ToM, and second, by showing that recent evidence in the form of fMRI and lesion studies supports the more parsimonious hypothesis. Theory of Mind, Metarepresentation, and Modularity Developmental Components of ToM The Analogy with Modularity of Language Dissociations without Modules The Evidence from Neuroscience Conclusion CiteULike Connotea What's this?
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray & Stewart, C. Matthew (2005). Localization in the brain and other illusions. In Andrew Brook (ed.), Cognition and the Brain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray & Stewart, C. Matthew (2004). Neuroscience and the art of single-cell recordings. Biology and Philosophy 18 (1):195-208.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This article examines how scientists move from physical measurementsto actual observation of single-cell recordings in the brain. We highlight how easy it is to change the fundamental nature of ourobservations using accepted methodological techniques for manipulatingraw data. Collecting single-cell data is thoroughly pragmatic. Weconclude that there is no deep or interesting difference betweenaccounting for observations by measurements and accounting forobservations by theories
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray & Stewart, C. Matthew (2002). What do brain data really show? Philosophy of Science 69 (3):572-582.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Johnson, Kevin A.; Kozel, F. Andrew; Laken, Steven J. & George, Mark S. (2007). The neuroscience of functional magnetic resonance imaging fmri for deception detection. American Journal of Bioethics 7 (9):58 – 60.   (Google)
Kennedy, Donald (2005). Neuroimaging: Revolutionary research tool or a post-modern phrenology? American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2):19.   (Google)
Klein, Colin (2010). Philosophical issues in neuroimaging. Philosophy Compass 5 (2):186-198.   (Google)
Abstract: Functional neuroimaging (NI) technologies like Positron Emission Tomography and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) have revolutionized neuroscience, and provide crucial tools to link cognitive psychology and traditional neuroscientific models. A growing discipline of 'neurophilosophy' brings fMRI evidence to bear on traditional philosophical issues such as weakness of will, moral psychology, rational choice, social interaction, free will, and consciousness. NI has also attracted critical attention from psychologists and from philosophers of science. I review debates over the evidential status of fMRI, including the differences between brain scans and ordinary images, the legitimacy of forward inference and reverse inference, and deductive versus probabilistic accounts of NI evidence. I conclude with a discussion of fMRI as exploratory rather than confirmatory evidence, linking this debate to the growing literature on cognitive ontology
Klein, Colin (forthcoming). The dual track theory of moral decision-making: A critique of the neuroimaging evidence. Neuroethics.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The dual-track theory of moral reasoning has received considerable attention due to the neuroimaging work of Greene et al. Greene et al. claimed that certain kinds of moral dilemmas activated brain regions specific to emotional responses, while others activated areas specific to cognition. This appears to indicate a dissociation between different types of moral reasoning. I re-evaluate these claims of specificity in light of subsequent empirical work. I argue that none of the cortical areas identified by Greene et al. are functionally specific: each is active in a wide variety of both cognitive and emotional tasks. I further argue that distinct activation across conditions is not strong evidence for dissociation. This undermines support for the dual-track hypothesis. I further argue that moral decision-making appears to activate a common network that underlies self-projection : the ability to imagine oneself from a variety of viewpoints in a variety of situations. I argue that the utilization of self-projection indicates a continuity between moral decision-making and other kinds of complex social deliberation. This may have normative consequences, but teasing them out will require careful attention to both empirical and philosophical concerns
Landreth, Anthony & Richardson, Robert C. (2004). Localization and the new phrenology: A review essay on William Uttal's the new phrenology. Philosophical Psychology 17 (1):107-123.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: William Uttal's The new phrenology is a broad attack on localization in cognitive neuroscience. He argues that even though the brain is a highly differentiated organ, "high level cognitive functions" should not be localized in specific brain regions. First, he argues that psychological processes are not well-defined. Second, he criticizes the methods used to localize psychological processes, including imaging technology: he argues that variation among individuals compromises localization, and that the statistical methods used to construct activation maps are flawed. Neither criticism is compelling. First, as we illustrate, there are behavioral measures which offer at least weak constraints on psychological attribution. Second, though imaging does face methodological difficulties associated with variation among individuals, these are broadly acknowledged; moreover, his specific criticisms of the imaging work, and in particular of fMRI, misrepresent the methodology. In concluding, we suggest a way of framing the issues that might allow us to resolve differences between localizationist models and more distributed models empirically
Leo, John R. & Cohen, D. (2003). Broken brains or flawed studies? A critical review of ADHD neuroimaging research. Journal of Mind and Behavior 24 (1):29-55.   (Google)
Lloyd, Dan (2002). Studying the mind from the inside out. Brain and Mind 3 (1):243-59.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Good research requires, among other virtues,(i) methods that yield stable experimentalobservations without arbitrary (post hoc)assumptions, (ii) logical interpretations ofthe sources of observations, and (iii) soundinferences to general causal mechanismsexplaining experimental results by placing themin larger explanatory contexts. In TheNew Phrenology , William Uttal examines theresearch tradition of localization, and findsit deficient in all three virtues, whetherbased on lesion studies or on new technologiesfor functional brain imaging. In this paper Iconsider just the arguments concerning brainimaging, especially functional MagneticResonance Imaging. I think that Uttal is tooharsh in his methodological critique, butcorrect in his assessment of the conceptuallimitations of localist evidence. I proposeinstead a data-driven test for assessingrelative modularity in brain images, and showits use in a secondary analysis of fMRI datafrom the National fMRI Data Center( Although the analysis is alimited pilot study, it offers additionalempirical challenge to localism
Lloyd, Dan (2000). Terra cognita: From functional neuroimaging to the map of the mind. Brain and Mind 1 (1):93-116.   (Cited by 15 | Google | More links)
Abstract: For more than a century the paradigm inspiringcognitive neuroscience has been modular and localist.Contemporary research in functional brain imaginggenerally relies on methods favorable to localizingparticular functions in one or more specific brainregions. Meanwhile, connectionist cognitive scientistshave celebrated the computational powers ofdistributed processing, and pioneered methods forinterpreting distributed representations. This papertakes a connectionist approach to functionalneuroimaging. A tabulation of 35 PET (positronemission tomography) experiments strongly indicatesdistributed function for at least the ''medium sized''anatomical units, the cortical Brodmann areas. Moreimportant, when these PET experiments were interpretedas distributed representations, multidimensionalscaling revealed a ''brain activation space'' with asalient structure organized primarily by the sensorymodality of the stimulus, and secondarily by the typeof motor response. These results suggest that currentanalytical techniques in functional neuroimagingshould be augmented by distributed processinganalyses, and that these analyses may lead to manydiscoveries about the structure of ''inner space.''
Mole, Christopher; Kubatzky, Corey; Plate, Jan; Waller, Rawdon; Dobbs, Marilee & Nardone, Marc (2007). Faces and brains: The limitations of brain scanning in cognitive science. Philosophical Psychology 20 (2):197 – 207.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The use of brain scanning now dominates the cognitive sciences, but important questions remain to be answered about what, exactly, scanning can tell us. One corner of cognitive science that has been transformed by the use of neuroimaging, and that a scanning enthusiast might point to as proof of scanning's importance, is the study of face perception. Against this view, we argue that the use of scanning has, in fact, told us rather little about the information processing underlying face perception and that it is not likely to tell us much more
Mundale, Jennifer (2002). Concepts of localization: Balkanization in the brain. Brain and Mind 3 (3):313-30.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A spate of recent anti-localizationist publications have re-ignited the old debate about the localization of function. Many of the recent attacks on localization, however, are directed at what I will argue to be a narrow and outmoded view of localization, and thus have little conceptual or empirical impact. What I hope to present here is an analysis of functional localization that more adequately reflects the sophistication and complexity of its use in neuroscientific research, both historically and recently. Proceeding first by way of contrast, I examine theanti-localizationist positions of holism andequipotentiationism. Then, I present a four-fold analysis of localization according to physical scope, physical kind, functional scope, and functional kind. Next, I turn to a discussion of the heuristic value oflocalization in deciphering structure-functionrelationships. Finally, I hope to show that the overall view of functional localization that emerges from these considerations constitutes a much more elusive target than its critics assume. It serves to mitigate, and insome instances even defeat, some forms ofanti-localizationist criticisms
Mundale, Jennifer (2001). Neuroanatomical foundations of cognition: Connecting the neuronal level with the study of higher brain areas. In William P. Bechtel, Pete Mandik, Jennifer Mundale & Robert S. Stufflebeam (eds.), Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader. Blackwell.   (Google)
O'Brien, Gerard & Opie, Jonathan (1999). Putting content into a vehicle theory of consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):175-196.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The connectionist vehicle theory of phenomenal experience in the target article identifies consciousness with the brain’s explicit representation of information in the form of stable patterns of neural activity. Commentators raise concerns about both the conceptual and empirical adequacy of this proposal. On the former front they worry about our reliance on vehicles, on representation, on stable patterns of activity, and on our identity claim. On the latter front their concerns range from the general plausibility of a vehicle theory to our specific attempts to deal with the dissociation studies. We address these concerns, and then finish by considering whether the vehicle theory we have defended has a coherent story to tell about the active, unified subject to whom conscious experiences belong
Opie, Jonathan & O'Brien, Gerard (1999). A connectionist theory of phenomenal experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22:127-148.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches _vehicle_ and _process_ theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be space for vehicle theories of consciousness in cognitive science, they are relatively rare. This is because of the influence exerted, on the one hand, by a large body of research which purports to show that the explicit representation of information in the brain and conscious experience are _dissociable_, and on the other, by the _classical_ computational theory of mind – the theory that takes human cognition to be a species of symbol manipulation. But two recent developments in cognitive science combine to suggest that a reappraisal of this situation is in order. First, a number of theorists have recently been highly critical of the experimental methodologies employed in the dissociation studies – so critical, in fact, it’s no longer reasonable to assume that the dissociability of conscious experience and explicit representation has been adequately demonstrated. Second, classicism, as a theory of human cognition, is no longer as dominant in cognitive science as it once was. It now has a lively competitor in the form of _connectionism; _and connectionism, unlike classicism, does have the computational resources to support a robust vehicle theory of consciousness. In this paper we develop and defend this connectionist vehicle theory of consciousness. It takes the form of the following simple empirical hypothesis: _phenomenal experience consists in the explicit_ _representation of information in neurally realized PDP networks_..
Opie, Jonathan (1998). Consciousness: A Connectionist Perspective. Dissertation, University of Adelaide   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: To my father, who got me thinking, and to Tricia, who provided the love, support, and encouragement that enabled me to see this through
Roskies, Adina L. (2007). Are neuroimages like photographs of the brain? Philosophy of Science 74 (5).   (Google)
Abstract: Images come in many varieties, but for evidential purposes, photographs are privileged. Recent advances in neuroimaging provide us with a new type of image that is used as scientific evidence. Brain images are epistemically compelling, in part because they are liable to be viewed as akin to photographs of brain activity. Here I consider features of photography that underlie the evidential status we accord it, and argue that neuroimaging diverges from photography in ways that seriously undermine the photographic analogy. While neuroimaging remains an important source of scientific evidence, proper interpretation of brain images is much more complex than it appears. ‡This work was supported in part by a grant from the Leslie Humanities Center at Dartmouth College. I thank John Kulvicki for helpful comments, and Kim Sterelny, for making it possible for me to spend some time at the ANU with a grant from the Australian Research Council. †To contact the author, please write to: Dartmouth College, Department of Philosophy, Hanover, NH 03755; e-mail:
Roskies, Adina L. (2008). Neuroimaging and inferential distance. Neuroethics 1 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: Brain images are used both as scientific evidence and to illustrate the results of neuroimaging experiments. These images are apt to be viewed as photographs of brain activity, and in so viewing them people are prone to assume that they share the evidential characteristics of photographs. Photographs are epistemically compelling, and have a number of characteristics that underlie what I call their inferential proximity. Here I explore the aptness of the photography analogy, and argue that although neuroimaging does bear important similarities to photography, the details of the generation and analysis of neuroimages significantly complicate the relation of the image to the data. Neuroimages are not inferentially proximate, but their seeming so increases the potential for misinterpretation. This suggests caution in appealing to such images in the public domain
Schutter, D.; van Honk, J. & Panksepp, Jaak (2004). Introducing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and its property of causal inference in investigating brain-function relationships. Synthese 141 (2):155-73.   (Google)
Abstract:   Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a method capable of transiently modulating neural excitability. Depending on the stimulation parameters information processing in the brain can be either enhanced or disrupted. This way the contribution of different brain areas involved in mental processes can be studied, allowing a functional decomposition of cognitive behavior both in the temporal and spatial domain, hence providing a functional resolution of brain/mind processes. The aim of the present paper is to argue that TMS with its ability to draw causal inferences on function and its neural representations is a valuable neurophysiological tool for investigating the causal basis of neuronal functions and can provide substantive insight into the modern interdisciplinary and (anti)reductionist neurophilosophical debates concerning the relationships between brain functions and mental abilities. Thus, TMS can serve as a heuristic method for resolving causal issues in an arena where only correlative tools have traditionally been available
Stinson, Catherine (2009). Searching for the Source of Executive Attention. PSYCHE 15 (1):137-154.   (Google)
Abstract: William James presaged, and Alan Allport voiced criticisms of cause theories of executive attention for involving a homunculus who directs attention. I review discussions of this problem, and argue that existing philosophical denials of the problem depend on equivocations between different senses of “Cartesian error”. Another sort of denial tries to get around the problem by offering empirical evidence that such an executive attention director exists in prefrontal cortex. I argue that the evidence does not warrant the conclusion that an executive director can be localized in prefrontal cortex unless dubious assumptions are made, and that computational models purporting to support these assumptions either beg the question, or fail to model executive attention in terms of cause theories.
Stufflebeam, Robert S. & Bechtel, William P. (1997). PET: Exploring the myth and the method. Philsophy of Science 64 (4):95-106.   (Cited by 13 | Google | More links)
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Uttal, William R. (2002). Functional brain mapping: What is it good for? Plenty, but not everything. Brain and Mind 3:375-79.   (Google)
Uttal, William R. (2002). Response to Bechtel and Lloyd. Brain and Mind 3 (1):261-273.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The field of cognitive imaging is explodingboth in terms of the amount of our scientificresources dedicated to it and the associatedpublication rate. However, all of this effortis based on a critical question – Do cognitivemodules exist? Both of the reviewers of my book(Uttal, 2001) and I agree that this questionhas not yet been satisfactorily answered and,depending on the ultimate answer, the cognitiveimaging approach as well as some other parts ofthe quest for mechanistic models of mind mightnot be successful. Our views of how our scienceshould respond to this serious problem,however, are quite different. Both ProfessorBechtel and Lloyd argue for an optimisticattack on the problem of the localization ofcognitive processes in the brain based on thehistory of other sciences. I argue that arealistic appreciation of the limits of thisapproach should temper the enthusiasm for whatultimately will go the way of other attempts tounravel the mind-brain problem
Uttal, William R. (2001). The New Phrenology: The Limits of Localizing Cognitive Processes in the Brain. MIT Press.   (Cited by 181 | Google)
van Orden, G. C. (1997). Functional neuroimages fail to discover pieces of mind in the parts of the brain. Philosophy of Science Supplement 64 (4):85-94.   (Google)
Zawidski, Tadeusz & Bechtel, William P. (2004). Gall's legacy revisited: Decomposition and localization in cognitive neuroscience. In Christina E. Erneling & David Martel Johnson (eds.), Mind As a Scientific Object. Oxford University Press.   (Google)