Volume 20, Issue 1, 2016
Leandro Gaitán, Luis Echarte
Transforming Neuroscience into a Totalizing Meta-Narrative
A Critical Examination
The present work is developed within the frame of so-called critical neuroscience. The aim of this article is to explain the transition from a kind of neuroscience understood as a strict scientific discipline, possessing a methodology and a specific praxis, to a kind of neuroscience that has been transformed into a meta-narrative with totalizing claims. In particular, we identify and examine eleven catalysts for such a transition: 1) a lack of communication between scientists and journalists; 2) the abuse of information by the sensational press; 3) the acceptance of specific philosophical approaches (like eliminative materialism) by a wide range of scientists; 4) the widespread transmission of two conceptual mistakes: a) an identification between methodological and ontological reductionism and b) the mereological fallacy; 5) the influence of post-Cartesian philosophical thinking in the scientific community; 6) an overwhelming scientific hyper-specialization; 7) the illegitimate transfer of authority from humanities to the sciences; 8) an inbuilt human preference for visual data; 9) economic interests; 10) scientific utopianism; and 11) the new self-help movements and their alliance with neuro-enhancement. Finally, our essay seeks to draw attention to the most damaging consequences for both science and human ways of living.