Aristotle would be fascinated by recent developments in neuroscience. I even imagine there is some connection between these developments and the general spirit of Aristotelian biology, with its emphasis on contingency and emergence.

Some enthusiasts seem to think that all these exciting discoveries make traditional philosophy obsolete. Nothing could be further from the case. Philosophy is pursuit of wisdom, not just knowledge. New empirical discoveries may be endlessly suggestive of philosophical implications and stimulating to thought. They are not a replacement for thought.

There is also a danger that too much dwelling on physiology — no matter how fascinating its implications — may lead by default back to a very old-fashioned physiological determinism that ignores linguistic, social, historical, cultural, and ethical considerations. What is needed is a balanced integration of reflection on these new discoveries with broader philosophical concerns.

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