When I was in graduate school at Pitt around the late 1990s, I hung out with some faculty and students in the Psych Department. One day I asked one of the more ambitious Psych grad students, “what’s the future of psychology?” He answered without hesitation: “cognitive neuroscience”. Since then, psychology has become more and more integrated with neuroscience, and many members of psychology departments are happy to label themselves “cognitive neuroscientists”.
I have tried to articulate why this transition is both principled and warranted. In a nutshell, the cognitive states and processes of critters such as ourselves are neurocognitive states and processes, so there is no good way to discover and investigate them without taking into account data about neurocognitive systems. See my recent book for a more detailed account.
Given how far the discipline has come, you might think that the need to integrate psychology and neuroscience into cognitive neuroscience would hardly be controversial anymore. Nevertheless, skeptics raised to think that psychology is autonomous still “do not expect cognitive neuroscience to replace psychology anytime soon“. But “replace” is the wrong word here. What needs to happen, and has happened to a considerable degree, is that psychology as a whole evolve into cognitive neuroscience, which simply takes more data and constraints into account than its predecessor.
For ambitious young philosophers, there is plenty of work to do to contribute to a more integrated science of the mind. As always, I’m happy to serve of dissertation committees pushing in this direction.