Can Brain Imaging Breach Our Mental Privacy?

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):275-291 (2015)
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Abstract

Brain-imaging technologies have posed the problem of breaching our brain privacy. Until the invention of those technologies, many of us entertained the idea that nothing can threaten our mental privacy, as long as we kept it, for each of us has private access to his or her own mind but no access to any other. Yet, philosophically, the issue of private, mental accessibility appears to be quite unsettled, as there are still many philosophers who reject the idea of private, mental accessibility. I have attempted to refute such rejections and to establish this idea on firmer grounds. My arguments in this paper show that brain imaging allows no access to our mind and that mind privacy is quite different from brain privacy, as the latter can be breached by brain imaging, whereas the former cannot. A reduction of the mind to the body inescapably fails, as there is a categorial difference between mind and body or brain, which is compatible with their inseparability. Brain imaging cannot enable one to “read” the mind or to breach our mental privacy. There is no external access to one’s mind. Each of us has exclusive access to his or her own mind

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