Autonomous psychology and the moderate neuron doctrine
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||What does it mean to say that the discipline of psychology is autonomous? Jerry Fodor (1998, p. 9) says that ‘a law or theory that figures in bona fide empirical explanations but that is not reducible to a law or theory of physics is ipso facto autonomous’. F-autonomy is irreducibility. The Churchlands mean more than this by autonomy; for them, to regard a discipline as autonomous is to ‘try to conduct the affairs of [that discipline] independently of the affairs of its immediate neighbours, both upward and downward in level’ (Churchland and Churchland, 1996, p. 220). We take it that this is not just a matter of pragmatic choices about conducting research with limited resources; rather, a discipline is autonomous when it is not governed or constrained by other disciplines. In this sense, C-autonomy is independence. On the face of it, the two doctrines are distinct and C-autonomy entails F- autonomy|
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