Representation of Reality: Neuroscience and Patricia Churchland's Conception (Review Article)

: 57-63
Received: March 19, 2019
Accepted: April 19, 2019
Lviv National Polytechnic University

In this article, the author considers the relation of a neurophilosophy and neuroscience. Neurophilosophy suggests a new interpretation of consciousness and representation of reality. Patricia Churchland, the founder of Neurophilosophy, says that representation of reality is the main philosophical and scientific problem. She criticizes “folk intuition” about the mind or consciousness. The hypothesis of neurophilosophy is an explanation of consciousness as a level of brain activity. Neurophilosophy uses neuroscience for interpretation of representation of reality. The article explains that philosophy in XXI century must interact with natural scientific knowledge. Philosophical ideas, concepts and hypotheses will not be able to interpret representation without physics, chemistry, and medicine. Churchland is going to establish a connection between philosophy and science through ІТ (Information Theory) and IOA (Ideal Observer Analysis). Philosophers and scientists do not know enough about how the brain works, about the relation between genes and epigenetic condition and brain development – Churchland`s conclusion.

The article examines the two conceptions of neuroscience which try to explain the representation of reality. These conceptions are one of the most modern in neuroscience and do have an influence on Churchland`s researches. The first conception was founded by Gerald Edelman (USA), the second one – by Antonio Damasio (Portugal-USA). Both conceptions have the main idea: the representation looks like an evolutionary phenomenon. The representation appeared after evolutionary development of a simpler nervous system. Edelman’s “primary consciousness” and “higher-order consciousness” appear to be somewhat similar to Antonio Damasio’s concepts of “core consciousness” and “extended consciousness”. Patricia Churchland assumes that problems of representation of reality are interdisciplinary. The general conclusion of this article: Churchland`s conception is better than traditional philosophical conceptions when it comes to the explanation of the representation. The neuroscience data, empirical research give preference to neurophilosophy over the other conception.

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