Carving Mind at Brain’s Joints. The Debate on Cognitive Ontology

Marco Viola


Since neuroimaging methods allow researchers to study the human brain at work, the vexed mind-brain problem ceased to be just a metaphysical issue, and became a practical concern for Cognitive Neuroscientists: how could they carve mind and brain into distinct entities, and what is the relation between these two sets? In this paper, I discuss the classical model of one-to-one mappings between mental and neural entities, inherited from phrenology, and make its assumptions explicit. I then examine the shortcomings of this “new phrenology”, and explore two solutions to them: the first accepts many-to-many mappings, whereas the second proposes a radically rethinking of the relata of this correspondence.


philosophy of neuroscience; philosophy of psychology; cognitive ontology; one-to-one mapping; Mind-Body problem

Full Text:



  Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY- 4.0)

Firenze University Press
Via Cittadella, 7 - 50144 Firenze
Tel. (0039) 055 2757700 Fax (0039) 055 2757712