Philosopher Alva Noe:Imagine that we find the Holy Grail of neurobiology, the patterns of neural activation that correlate perfectly with different events in our mental lives. We would still never understand or make sense of why those correlations exist. There is no intrinsic relationship between the experience and the neural substrates of the experience. We always need to look at what factors bring the two together. The environment, other people, our needs and desires -- all these things exist outside the brain and have to be seen as essential parts of our selves and consciousness. So we aren't just our brains, we're not locked inside our craniums; we extend beyond our skulls, beyond our skin, into the world we occupy.
This doesn't strike me as even mildly profound. In fact, it seems to be nothing but pointless hand-waving.
Of course one must take the stimuli we get from the outside world into account when delivering a full account of the physical processes that underlie consciousness. And so what? That doesn't mean we can't make sense of how our minds work. Why would it? Such an observation is no refutation of even the most hardcore physicalist reductionism, just a useful reminder that such a project involves more matter than what is contained within any individual human skull. At the risk of being excessively flippant: Duh.
Armed with nothing better than this kind of argument, I have difficulty imagining how much of the traditional philosophy of mind won't come crashing down as empirical science continues to expand its explanatory power regarding the functionality of the human brain/mind.