PAOLO LEGRENZI – Professor of Cognitive Psychology, University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy
CARLO UMILTA – Professor of Neuropsychology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
This book tells a story—a story of our times but with its roots firmly embedded in the past, intertwined with the origins of psychology in the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time psychology started to take precedence over more traditional disciplines, principally philosophy. Concepts that philosophers and theologians had been debating for years, such as ‘soul’ and ‘reason’, were either absorbed (reason and rationality) or expunged from the field of scientific research and relegated to the status of personal beliefs (the soul). Now it appears that something very similar is happening in the area of the mind, traditionally the field of study of psychology.
At present, various disciplines described using the prefix ‘neuro’, which we will discuss further later, are attempting to supplant the concept of the mind. Basically, what is happening is that the knowledge accumulated over decades of psychological and neuropsychological study is being presented as a novelty under new names.
As we shall see in Chapter I, neuropsychology is perfectly capable of covering all aspects of the study of the mind-brain relationship. Why then is there currently a tendency to fragment it into other disciplines? Is it to give the impression that new branches of knowledge have come into being alongside psychology and neuropsychology?
Often the appeal exerted by innovations, especially to the layman, can be attributed purely to their novelty. Today, new fields of research characterized by a short circuit between the traditional spheres of knowledge—such as economy, ethics, politics, and even theology—and the discoveries made regarding how the brain functions are appearing on the scene….
I. At the origins of the mind-brain relationship
II. Mind, body, and explanations of behaviour
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