Philosophical issues in neuroimaging

Colin Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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