AbstractIn this paper I argue that radiological attempts to elucidate the properties of self -- an endeavor currently popular in the social neurosciences -- are fraught with conceptual difficulties. I first discuss several philosophical criteria that increase the chances we are posing the “right” questions to nature. I then discuss whether these criteria are met when empirical efforts are directed at one of the central constructs in the social sciences – the human self. In particular, I consider whether recent attempts to map the neural correlates of self and its assumed properties using brain scanning technology satisfy the conceptual conditions minimally required to ask well-formed, theoretically satisfying questions of nature. I conclude that much theoretical work remains to be done.
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