Vittorio Gallese On the Importance of Philosophy

Metzinger: Vittorio, you have repeatedly cornered me with pressing questions about Edmund Husserl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Edith Stein. Why are you so interested in philosophy, and what kind of philosophy would you like to see in the future? What relevant contributions from the humanities are you expecting?

Gallese: Scientists who believe that their discipline will progressively eliminate all philosophical problems are simply fooling themselves. What science can contribute to is the elimination of false philosophical problems. But this is a totally different issue.
If our scientific goal is to understand what it means to be human, we need philosophy to clarify what issues are at stake, what problems need to be solved, what is epistemologically sound and what is not. Cognitive neuroscience and philosophy of mind deal with the same problems but use different approaches and different levels of descriptions. Very often, we use different words to speak about the same things. I think all cognitive neuroscientists should take classes in philosophy. Similarly, philosophers — at least, philosophers of mind — should learn a lot more about the brain and how it works. We need to talk to one another much more than we are doing now. How can you possibly investigate social cognition without knowing what an intention is, or without understanding the concept of second-order intentionality? Similarly, how can you possibly stick to a philosophical theory of cognition if it i patently falsified by the available empirical evidence? There is another aspect for which I think philosophy may be helpful. Our scientific bravado sometimes makes us think we are the first to have thought about something. Most of the time, this is not true!

Well said!

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2 Comments

Filed under Philosophy, Random

2 responses to “Vittorio Gallese On the Importance of Philosophy

  1. John

    The brain is actually a device which prevents us from being open to most of Reality. A camera which the shutter tightly closed to the all pervading Brightness of Reality.

    What if the brain functions most optimally if it is completely relaxed and is thus able to feel to infinity.

    What if the brain is Realized and felt to be only Conscious Energy or Light.

    What if the fontanelles of the skull were completely open to Reality altogether.

    In contrast to our dreadfully sane normal state wherein the fontanelles are tightly shut, like a steel vault.

    These references were written by a Radiant Being in whose body the fontanelles were completely open—and much much more too.

  2. Hi .. could you please let me know where you did find that excerpt of the interview. I have been trying to find it, but was not successful yet.
    Thank you

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