Patricia Smith Churchland
University of California at San Diego
Neurophilosopher; Professional society administrator; Educator
Originator of the movement of neurophilosophy: approaching philosophical problems in light of insights from contemporary neuroscience. Her 1986 book Neurophilosophy was the first major statement of this program. Her 1992 book The Computational Brain (co-authored with Terrence Sejnowski) is a central and influential statement of the foundations of computational neuroscience. She brought insights from neuroscience to bear on questions in ethics and moral philosophy in her book Braintrust (2011). She was President of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division). Her nomination is particularly apt both because neurophilosophy is one of the major emerging fields within philosophy and because women are a strongly underrepresented group. MacArthur Fellow (1991), Rossi Prize in neuroscience (2008).