That philosophy should unravel conceptual confusions in neuroscience or other sciences is a principal theme of the authors of Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, which book is in the presently reviewed one discussed by those authors, Maxwell Bennett and Peter Hacker, and defended by them in response to criticisms by Daniel Dennett and John Searle.
However, major conceptual confusion characterizes the arguments of authors Bennett and Hacker themselves.
Let me begin by noting that all of these authors appear to subscribe to physicalism, describable as holding that all reality is reducible to physical phenomena. Consequently it is understandable that they will aim to fit their arguments into that straightjacket. A well-known expression of this attitude is the intense opposition to Cartesian dualism, the view by Descartes that mind and body, or mind and matter, are two distinct substances.
How derided this view is by the authors can be seen from the manner in which they speak of it: "crippling Cartesianism" (p.75, Dennett), "find themselves in bed with Descartes" (p.100, Searle), "the long, dark shadow of Descartes" (p.159, Bennett and Hacker). Only the commentator in the book, Daniel Robinson, expresses (pp.192-3) reservations about "how many kinds of different sorts of 'stuff' might be constitutive of all reality", but he considers such questions "best to leave unanswered".
They need not be left unanswered in philosophy, which with the aid of logic is here to try to resolve them. I may immodestly note that I deal with such questions in my On Proof for Existence of God, and Other Reflective Inquiries, but now I wish to point out confusions by the principal reviewed authors, whose object is to prevent confusion.
In their arguments they contend (p.208, note 6) that "the idea that the mind is a SUBSTANCE [I capitalized italics] of any kind is not coherent", i.e. that it makes no "sense" to speak of mind as contrasted with the body. But the authors are confused by words. "Substance" is usually defined by the likes of "essential nature", and the main issue, regardless of words used, is whether there is an entity customarily termed "mind" which is distinct from the body. The entity in question is obviously, in Descartes' and other discussions of interaction between mind and body, consciousness--leaving aside particulars like recent propounding of an unconscious. And it certainly makes sense to inquire about the relation between conscious and bodily occurrences.
But the most prominent area of confusion by the authors is in their primary contention of a "mereological fallacy" (e.g. p.22), regarding "the logic of part/whole relations". The authors repeatedly contend such as: "psychological predicates are ascribable to the whole animal, not to its constituent parts". The underlying dispute is with neuroscientists who ascribe "psychological predicates" to the brain, and the presently discussed authors insist: "Human beings, but not their brains, can be said to be thoughtful or to be thoughtless; animals, but not their brains..., can be said to see, hear, smell and taste things..." And the authors repeat: "psychological predicates apply paradigmatically to the HUMAN BEING (OR ANIMAL) AS A WHOLE, and NOT to the body or its parts".
It should be noted that the shift to the brain by neuroscientists is done from the traditional "mind" or consciousness, since the latter does not lend itself to their physical scrutiny. And the turn by the discussed authors to the "whole" of the animal is evidently born of the like physicalist presupposition that one cannot speak of a mind separate from the body. Ironically, their phrase "psychological predicates" itself relies on the word "psyche" for "soul", and it is easy to see that their arguments correspondingly confuse the concepts involved.
It is not the "whole" of the human or animal that thinks, sees, hears, smells and tastes things. The arm does not take part in thinking, or the leg in seeing. It is indeed a truism that it is the conscious part in us that performs those tasks, enlisting in cases some of the body. Try as they may, thinkers cannot dismiss the role of consciousness in our lives.