A lot of timeless questions in philosophy of mind seem relatively answerable by modern advancements in neuroscience and brain science. I was wondering if there are any well-known philosophers to date who have successfully merged their work with a formal background in neuroscience. Steven Pinker comes readily to mind, though I am wondering if there are others.

  • Sam Harris. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Harris
    – obelia
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 20:09
  • Also, Joshua Greene. He's a good start if you want to read what neuroscience says about ethics, especially ethical dilemmas like the Trolley thought experiment.
    – R. Barzell
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 22:33

3 Answers 3


At least the following researchers have a solid background in both philosophy and neuroscience:

  • Patricia Churchland
  • Paul Churchland
  • Gerhard Roth

Besides their personal homepage I recommend the book

Susan Blackmore: Conversations on Consciousness (2005).

It collects conversations with one of the above and some others researchers from either neuroscience or philosophy of mind.

Added: Update of the list.

  • I don't think e.g. Thomas Metzinger has a formal background in neuroscience (see CV).
    – Drux
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 10:32
  • Metzinger himself considers his research interest 80% philosophy of mind and 20% neuroscience (personal communication). Due to your comment I made an update of my list :-)
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 11:44
  • Thx for the update :)
    – Drux
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 12:01
  • I purchased Blackmore's book a couple of months ago, but I am yet to pick it up. You've inspired me.
    – nwr
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 19:39
  • David Chalmers comes to mind, though I think he's more in the cognitive science camp. I think I read somewhere that he worked with Doug Hofstadter for a while. Regardless, he knows his brain sciences. Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 3:46

Catherine Malabou writes extensively on the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy, most notably in The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage and What Should We Do With Our Brain?. Her work on plasticity is derived from both Hegel and neuroscience.


Insofar as cognitive science is neuroscience:

Daniel Dennett

Daniel Clement Dennett III (born March 28, 1942) is an American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields related to evolutionary biology and cognitive science.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 3
    I doubt that Daniel Dennett has a formal background in neuroscience either (see OP's precise question).
    – Drux
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 6:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .