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Cognitive Science 200: Large-Scale Problems in Neuroscience

Neuro Enigmas II: Large-Scale Problems in Neuroscience

Spectacular progress notwithstanding, many fundamental problems in neuroscience remain unsolved. Neuroscience remains very much a young science, in the sense that it has not yet discovered the general principles governing its target phenomena. Although fruitful ideas of a highly general sort have emerged, and though the rise of computational modeling has helped enormously in conceptualizing how macro effects emerge from micro phenomena, the fact remains that neuroscience has not yet achieved the explanatory maturity of, for example, molecular biology or physical chemistry. Unlike those sciences, it is still groping for its general, "exoskeletal" explanatory principles. Identifying unsolved problems can be a useful navigational tool in neuroscience, especially for those not yet committed to a research paradigm. This seminar discusses some of these unresolved problems.