BBS Call (Neuron Doctrine) + 3 Announcements

Stevan Harnad harnad at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Thu Oct 15 12:56:37 EST 1998

        3 important announcements, followed by
        BBS Call for Commentators
        (Gold/Stoljar: Neuron Doctrine):

(1) There have been some very important developments in the area of
    Web archiving of scientific papers in this last month. Please see:

American Scientist:
Chronicle of Higher Education:

(2) All authors in the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences are
    strongly encouraged to archive all their papers (on their
    Home-Servers as well as) on CogPrints:

    It is extremely simple to do so and will make all of our papers
    available to all of us everywhere at no cost to anyone.

(3) BBS has a new policy of accepting submissions electronically.

    Authors can specify whether they would like their submissions
    archived publicly during refereeing in the BBS under-refereeing
    Archive, or in a referees-only, non-public archive.

    Upon acceptance, preprints of final drafts are moved to the public
    BBS Archive:

    Below is the abstract of a forthcoming BBS target article on:

        by Ian Gold & Daniel Stoljar

This article has been accepted for publication in Behavioral and Brain
Sciences (BBS), an international, interdisciplinary journal providing
Open Peer Commentary on important and controversial current research in
the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences.

Commentators must be BBS Associates or nominated by a BBS Associate. To
be considered as a commentator for this article, to suggest other
appropriate commentators, or for information about how to become a BBS
Associate, please send EMAIL to:

    bbs at

      or write to:

    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
    ECS: New Zepler Building
    University of Southampton
    Highfield, Southampton

If you are not a BBS Associate, please send your CV and the name of a
BBS Associate (there are currently over 10,000 worldwide) who is
familiar with your work. All past BBS authors, referees and
commentators are eligible to become BBS Associates.

To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give
some indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring
your areas of expertise to bear if you were selected as a commentator.
An electronic draft of the full text is available for inspection
with a WWW browser, anonymous ftp or gopher according to the
instructions that follow after the abstract.



        Ian Gold
        Institute of Advanced Studies,
        Australian National University,
        Canberra ACT 0200,
        iangold at

        Daniel Stoljar
        Department of Philosophy and Institute of Cognitive Science,
        University of Colorado,
        Boulder 80309
        stoljar at


        Institute of Advanced Studies,
        Australian National
        University Canberra ACT 0200,
        dstoljar at

    KEYWORDS: Churchlands, classical conditioning, cognitive
    neuroscience, Kandel, learning, materialism, mind, naturalism,
    neurobiology, neurophilosophy, philosophy of neuroscience,
    psychology, reduction, theoretical unification

    ABSTRACT: Many neuroscientists and philosophers endorse a view
    about the explanatory reach of neuroscience which we will call
    the neuron doctrine to the effect that the framework for
    understanding the mind will be developed by neuroscience; or,
    as we will put it, that a successful theory of the mind will be
    solely neuroscientific. It is a consequence of this view that
    the sciences of the mind that cannot be expressed by means of
    neuroscientific concepts alone count as indirect sciences that
    will be discarded as neuroscience matures. This consequence is
    what makes the doctrine substantive, indeed, radical. We ask,
    first, what the neuron doctrine means and, second, whether it
    is true. In answer to the first question, we distinguish two
    versions of the doctrine. One version, the trivial neuron
    doctrine, turns out to be uncontroversial but unsubstantive
    because it fails to have the consequence that the
    non-neuroscientific sciences of the mind will eventually be
    discarded. A second version, the radical neuron doctrine, does
    have this consequence, but, unlike the first doctrine, is
    highly controversial. We argue that the neuron doctrine appears
    to be both substantive and uncontroversial only as a result of
    a conflation of these two versions. We then consider whether
    the radical doctrine is true. We present and evaluate three
    arguments for it, based either on general scientific and
    philosophical considerations or on the details of neuroscience
    itself; arguing that all three fail. We conclude that the
    evidence fails to support the radical neuron doctrine.


To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
this article, an electronic draft is retrievable from the World Wide
Web or by anonymous ftp from the US or UK BBS Archive.
Ftp instructions follow below. Please do not prepare a commentary on
this draft. Just let us know, after having inspected it, what relevant
expertise you feel you would bring to bear on what aspect of the

The URLs you can use to get to the BBS Archive:

To retrieve a file by ftp from an Internet site, type either:
   When you are asked for your login, type:
   Enter password as queried (your password is your actual userid:
   yourlogin at yourhost.whatever.whatever - be sure to include the "@")
cd /pub/harnad/BBS
   To show the available files, type:
   Next, retrieve the file you want with (for example):
   When you have the file(s) you want, type:

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