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      After reading this paper, Richard Rorty sent the following comment:

      Doubtless in some sense I am doing "epistemology" and for all I know the name will survive as that of something which has little to do with Kant. But I am not convinced that philosophers are making themselves as useful to cognitive science as they claim, or that cognitive science is more than an awkward place-holder for neurology. My hunch is that when neurology comes into its own, notions like "cognition" will dry up and blow away. (See Michael Williams UNNATURAL DOUBTS for a good argument that 'knowledge' or 'cogntion' is not profitably thought of as a natural kind.)

      I find this comment extremely interesting, because it shows that despite numerous surface differences, Rorty does agree on this point with the various neurophilosophers who call themselves eliminative materialists. (As does the great prophet of neurophilosophy, U.T. Place. See his comments in the selections from the CQ mailing list). The great apparent differences between Rorty and the neurophilosophers spring from the fact that they each reacted to this shared assumption in opposite ways: Rorty by abandoning epistemology, and the neurophilosophers by becoming neuroscientists. However, as philosophers like the Churchlands have spent more time actually involved with neuroscience, they have become more skeptical of the hunch that Rorty mentioned above. This is why the Churchlands now speak more in terms of co-evolution rather than elimination. (See P.S. Churchland 1983)

      The basic assumption of Rorty's critique of epistemology--that epistemology must close up shop because it has no specialized domain it can call it's own-is no longer accepted by the scientific community. In almost every branch of science today, cross-disciplinary work is the rule, not the exception. And in Cognitive Science, it is an empirical fact that the attempt to come up with a purely neurological set of categories to replace mental ones has not worked as neatly as everyone expected it would. Contrary to everyone's expectations, science is not moving closer to the language spoken by Rorty's Antipodeans in Chapter 2 of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. (I am tempted to call the country in which they live "Churchland".) A firing C fiber is not identical to a pain,unless it occurs within the context of a brain, and no one could make sense out of anything happening in the brain unless one has knowledge of how the brain helps a living organism function in a world. Could anyone make sense out of the brain's face recognition circuitry if we did not know what a face is? Could we understand why face recognition is so important without concepts like "kinship" and "predator"? This is why a variety of different sciences have to speak to each other in order to understand the mind, which is why cognitive science came into being.

      Many people in Cognitive Science believe that someday cognitive science will come up with a single language that explains the mind, and some believe that this language will be neurological. (See for example Baars' commentary on my psychology paper.) But until that happens (or if it never happens) people who specialize in not specializing are needed to help these various disciplines keep what Sellars called "the eye on the whole". That is what philosophers are trained to do, and when what they are keeping their eye on is the whole of knowledge, what they are doing is epistemology.