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Department of Cognitive Science

The explicable emergence of the mind

Elizabeth Schier (
Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science,Sydney


The goal of the symposium 'Integrating Perspectives on the Relation between Mind and Brain' was to get people with different views and from different disciplines to open up a dialogue by focusing on answering a set of questions. In this paper I present a view of the relation between the mind and the brain that is informed by recent work in the philosophy of science. The basic idea is that the mind is more than the brain because mental states are identical to the activity of groups of organized neurons. Unlike the standard non-reductive materialism irreducibility is not seen as related to multiple realisability. The upshot is that we can bring the relation between the mind and the brain in line with other clear cases of ontological emergence, we can see how psychology can be an independent science, and yet how important explanatory connections can be made between psychology and neuroscience.

Citation details for this article:

Schier, E. (2010). The Explicable Emergence of the Mind. In W. Christensen, E. Schier, and J. Sutton (Eds.), ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science (pp. 306-310). Sydney: Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science.

DOI: 10.5096/ASCS200946
Download the PDF here


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