I have been a fan of Neuroskeptic’s writings for a long time, but this new post he (or she) has written is one of the best I’ve read so far. It is challenging a basic idea “that all of the natural sciences can be arranged in a chain or ladder according to the complexity of their subjects”. But what if this is not the case?
Could it be that brains are only accidentally made of cells, just as computers are only accidentally made of semiconductors? If so, neuroscience would not be founded on biology but on something else, something analogous to the mathematical logic that underpins computer science. What could this be?
It’s possible that brains are computers and that neuroscience will one day be unified with computer science. In that case, the same logic would underlie both. But that’s not the only possibility. The underlying principle of neuroscience may be something else, something that remains to be discovered. This would be an abstract system that happens to be implemented through biology in the form of brains.