Is the Next Frontier in Neuroscience a Decade of the Mind?

In Charles Wolfe (ed.), Brain Theory: Essays in Critical Neurophilosophy. Palgrave MacMillan (2014)
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In 2007, ten world-renowned neuroscientists proposed “A Decade of the Mind Initiative.” The contention was that, despite the successes of the Decade of the Brain, “a fundamental understanding of how the brain gives rise to the mind [was] still lacking” (2007, 1321). The primary aims of the decade of the mind were “to build on the progress of the recent Decade of the Brain (1990-99)” by focusing on “four broad but intertwined areas” of research, including: healing and protecting, understanding, enriching, and modeling the mind. These four aims were to be the result of “transdisciplinary and multiagency” research spanning “across disparate fields, such as cognitive science, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, mathematics, engineering, and computer science.” The proposal for a decade of the mind prompted many questions (See Spitzer 2008). In this chapter, I address three of them: (1) How do proponents of this new decade conceive of the mind? (2) Why should a decade be devoted to understanding it? (3) What should this decade look like?

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Jacqueline Anne Sullivan
University of Western Ontario


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