[The current mind-brain theories in analytical philosophy of mind and their epistemic significance for psychiatry]

M L Schäfer
Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie 2005, 73 (3): 129-42
This article begins with an orientational survey of the historical evolution of analytical philosophy of mind (APM) which was formulated in the last 40 years as "philosophy of mind" in the Anglo-Saxon scientific-cultural world and which, in the meantime, dominates to a great extent contemporary German philosophy. Then there follows a discussion of the currently most popular mind-brain theories in philosophy. In comparison to the more marginal dualist variants (interactionism, epiphenomenalism, parallelism), it is mainly the monistic positions of non-reductive, reductive and eliminative materialism and the materialist functionalism underlying it, which determines analytical philosophy of mind and its influence on psychopathology and psychiatry. Under the additional influence of modern brain research methods, particularly neuroimaging, it is progressively developing into a subdiscipline of neuroscience, a complex and increasingly more firmly established scientific discipline which comprises the totality of all sciences dealing with neuronal functions, including the close epistemic associations of APM and neuroimaging. This is the effective epistemic central idea determining the theory of the neuronal network which, in the form of a connectionist psychopathology, is intended to make possible a fundamentally new access to the comprehension of psychiatric forms of illness. In this respect it is evident, however, that the perception of the naturality of the mind as the fundamental thesis of APM and thus of connectionism cannot be followed through, since, up to now, neither from the phenomenality of the mind (especially the quality of senses, "Qualia") nor from intentionality of the mind (i. e. the ability to act intentionally, free from the constraint of the causality of nature and thus in self-responsible fashion) has proved it possible to reconstruct a generally accepted naturalist theory. Furthermore, it has not been possible to reformulate it in an exclusively physical, i. e. non-phenomenological concept and terminology which is, above all, free from the intentionality idiom. The consequence of this, however, is that a connectionist psychopathology can only represent a subpersonal, i. e., subhuman area and that in order to establish a personal psychopathology, naturalistic unreduced theories of experience-qualities and intentional acts of completeness are absolutely essential. The neuroscientific-connectionist paradigm of psychopathology must therefore - at least for the present - be supplement by the paradigm of a non-natural (e. g. phenomenological-hermeneutic) psychopathology. This result can only encourage the relinquishing of epistemically one-sided materialist and other monistic mind-brain theories of APM in favour of an epistemically open pragmatic interactionist dualism as the scientific position which best represents the current state of knowledge.

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