grad programs

Alan J. Robinson robin073 at maroon.tc.umn.edu
Fri Dec 22 07:40:19 EST 1995


On Thu, 21 Dec 1995 11:37:02 -0800, 
Stephan Anagnostaras  <stephan at ucla.edu > wrote:

>In article <4bc796$6gd at maureen.teleport.com>, nevek at teleport.com (Kim
>Neve) wrote:
>
>> "Alan J. Robinson" <robin073 at maroon.tc.umn.edu> wrote:
>> 
>> >By its very nature a neuroscience program is not an "integrated 
>> >approach to studying the brain". 
>
>That's because integrated approaches to studying the brain don't work :)
>

Stephan:

I'll prepare a more extended response to your message and Kim's later 
on, but the quick responses are:

1)  Integrated approaches may not have worked in the past, but this 
has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.  (It's part of the 
reason why the 1990s have been declared the "Decade of the Brain".)  
It is now possible to answer (correctly) many of the questions that 
Freud tried to answer 100 years ago in his "Etiology of Hysteria" and 
"Project for a Scientific Psychology".

I have a reading list of relevant research (200 items - many of 
them full length books and review articles) which I prepared about 
a year ago in anticipation of writing a book on the subject.  I'll 
extract several items from the list as a quick introduction.

2)  Though ultimately all brain function should be explainable in 
neuroscience ("bottom up") terms, with the possible exception of some 
philosophical issues associated with consciousness and qualia, the 
reality is that only a small portion of the functions of the human 
brain are currently amenable to a neuroscience approach.

This gets into the general scientific and philosphical issues 
raised by reductionism (emergent properties etc. - everything in 
the universe should be explainable in terms of the laws of quantum 
mechanics, but it isn't a useful way of thinking about many problems.)
                    
AJR




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