It is conventional to explain human behavior in terms of mental activity. We are said to act as we do because of desires, wishes, opinions, beliefs, motives, etc. This common sense approach to the mind and behavior has been very influential in the broad field of brain research and neuroscience. In the past half century an enormous research effort has been devoted to the study of the neural basis of cognition (cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience), of memory, and also of attention, motivation and emotion. It appears to be widely assumed that we are in possession of a valid taxonomy of mental processes, a fund of well-established knowledge about the organization of high level neural activity that is obvious to everyone. What is the nature of this taxonomy, how was it established and agreed on, and lastly, can we be certain of its validity?
The material discussed in this book may be of interest, not only to neuroscientists and psychologists, but also to animal behaviorists, anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, neurologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, and others interested in the general field of the brain, behavior and the mind.