Concepts structured through reduction: A structuralist resource illuminates the consolidation – long-term potentiation (ltp) link
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 130 (1):123 - 133 (2002)
The structuralist program has developed a useful metascientific resource: ontological reductive links (ORLs) between the constituents of the potential models of reduced and reducing theories. This resource was developed initially to overcome an objection to structuralist ``global'' accounts of the intertheoretic reduction relation. But it also illuminates the way that concepts at a higher level of scientific investigation (e.g., cognitive psychology) become ``structured through reduction'' to lower-level investigations (e.g., cellular/molecular neuroscience). After (briefly) explaining this structuralist background, I demonstrate how this resource illuminates an actual, emerging scientific example: the link between the psychological concept of a ``consolidation switch'' from short-term to long-term memory and the cellular/molecular mechanisms of the transition from early- to late-phases of long-term potentiation (LTP) (an important type of synaptic plasticity in mammalian hippocampus and cortex).
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