Volume 57, Issue 4, December 2017
Can Neuroscientific Studies Be of Personal Value?
This essay reflects on the ability of neuroscientific data to be of personal value and to enrich our lives by offering insight into our capacities for self management and choice. The theory of cognitive dualism proposed by Roger Scruton seeks to preserve rationality and allow for freedom of will, but he appears reluctant to engage with the data accruing in neural studies. I contrast this approach with a Thomistic hylomorphic approach to the philosophy of mind that is founded on participation in being. It offers the potential to draw on neurobiological knowledge for insights into rationality, motivation, and eudaimonia. The role of neural development in eudaimonia is considered and the benefits of a Thomistic hylomorphism founded on participation in esse are summarized.