1st Edition

Biological and Neuroscientific Foundations of Philosophy Towards a New Paradigm

By Franco Fabbro Copyright 2023
    222 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Biological and Neuroscientific Foundations of Philosophy is an authoritative text addressing both academicians and students, and it proposes an integrated and holistic view of scientific study and presents a new paradigm by which to study philosophy. It highlights, in a systematic and sufficiently simple manner, the fundamental role of neuroscience, neuropsychology and biology within philosophical reflection.

    Written by an expert in neuroscience, the book draws together different strands of study to explore how scientific and neuropsychological discoveries are integral to the study of philosophy and our understanding of mind. It argues to move away from a philosophical paradigm that is based solely within physics and mathematics and to embrace more complex frames of data and knowledge of psychology and biology to advance the discipline. The book also reflects on the symbolic dimensions and the concept of "information" that characterize DNA (biology), and the psyche and language (cognitive and social neuroscience). It offers an ambitious thesis that ties together the philosophical foundations of science, the evolutionary history of human beings, social organization, communication and consciousness.

    This interdisciplinary work will be highly beneficial for researchers and postgraduate students of neuroscience, philosophy and biological sciences, as well as those interested in the intersection between philosophy and neuroscience.


    1. Introduction

    1.1. The Physico-Mathematical Paradigm.

    1.2. The Role of Biology.

    1.3. The Place of Humans in Nature.

    1.4. The Enigmatic Nature of Information.

    1.5. The Symbolic Nature of DNA, Mind and Language.

    1.6. Two general objectives.

    2. Philosophical Foundations of Science

    2.1. Origin of Modern Science.

    2.2. Matter, Energy, Space and Time.

    2.3. The Limits of Doing "Physics in a Box".

    2.4. The Paradox of Quantum Mechanics.

    2.5. Ultimate Constituents of Matter.

    2.6. Nature of Elementary Particles.

    2.7. What does it mean to know?

    2.8. When is a theory scientific?

    2.9. Science advances by recognizing its errors.

    2.10. Concluding Remarks.

    3. The Tree of Life and the Origin of Knowledge

    3.1. Chemical Components of Life.

    3.2. Main Forms of Unicellular Organisms.

    3.3. Protists.

    3.4. Fungi.

    3.5. Plants.

    3.6. Animals.

    3.7. Evolution of Nervous System.

    3.8. Origin of the Mind.

    3.9. Evolution of Consciousness.

    3.10. Concluding Remarks.

    4. The Evolutionary History of Human Beings

    4.1. The First Hominids.

    4.2. Emergence of the Genus Homo.

    4.3. The Cosmopolitan Hominid.

    4.4. The Neanderthal Man.

    4.5. Origins of Homo Sapiens.

    4.6. The Exit to Africa of Modern Human Beings.

    4.7. Social Organization of Hominids.

    4.8. The Invention of Language.

    4.9. Concluding Remarks.


    5. Stages of Social Organization

    5.1. Birth of Agriculture.

    5.2. Origin of the First Cities.

    5.3. The Invention of Calculation and Writing.

    5.4. From City-States to Empires.

    5.5. The Archaic Techniques of Social Control.

    5.6. Industrial and Technological Development.

    5.7. Modern Techniques of Information Dissemination and Control.

    5.8. The Question Concerning Technology.

    5.9. Concluding Remarks.

    6. The Nature of Communication and Information

    6.1. Entropy and Information.

    6.2. Measuring Information.

    6.3 Two types of entropy.

    6.4. Symbols, Codes and Signs.

    6.5. Machines That Simulate Organisms.

    6.6. Exploratory Machines.

    6.7. Machines with Implicit Artificial Intelligence.

    6.8. Machines with Internal Imaginative States.

    6.9. Perspectives of Digital Philosophy.

    6.10. Concluding Remarks.

    7. DNA as a Symbolic Domain of Life

    7.1. Structure of DNA.

    7.2. Structure of Protein.

    7.3. Transcription of DNA into RNA.

    7.4. Translation of RNA into Proteins.

    7.5. Symbolic Nature of the Genetic Code.

    7.6. "Diversity" as the Engine of Evolution.

    7.7. Towards a Philosophy of Organism.

    7.8. Concluding Remarks.

    8. Psyche as a Symbolic Domain of Imagination

    8.1. Philosophical Conceptions of the Psyche.

    8.2. The Origin of Psychology as a Science.

    8.3. The Cognitive Sciences.

    8.4. Characteristics of Biological Intelligence.

    8.5. See, Imagine and Remember.

    8.6. The Internal Dynamic States.

    8.7 The Theory of Predictive Mind.

    8.8 The Psyche as a Symbolic System.

    8.9. Concluding Remarks.

    9. Language as a Symbolic Domain of Sharing

    9.1. The Matter of Language.

    9.2. The Symbolic Structure of Language.

    9.3. The Syntax of Complex Vocal Sequences.

    9.4. Language and Memory.

    9.5. Language, Space and Time.

    9.6. What is language for?

    9.7 Possibilities and Limits of Language.

    9.8 Thought and Language.

    9.9 Language, Knowledge and Ethics.

    9.10. Concluding Remarks.

    10. Conclusions

    10.1. The Biological Foundations of Information.

    10.2. The Symbolic Dimension of the Psyche.

    10.3. Fallacious Arguments about the Nature of the Mind.

    10.4. The Symbolic System of Language.

    10.5. The Symbolic Nature of Life.

    10.6. Return to the Source of Problems.

    10.7. Final Remarks.





    Franco Fabbro is Affiliate Professor at the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence, Sant’Anna School of Advances Studies, Pisa, Italy. He was full professor of physiology, child neuropsychiatry and clinical psychology at the University of Udine, Italy. He taught for more than thirty years after he graduated in medicine (1982) and specialized in neurology (1986). He has published numerous books and articles on the neuroscience of bilingualism, consciousness and the philosophy of science.