David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In V. Harcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. 251--71 (1999)
This chapter examines a question at the intersection of the mind-body problem and the analysis of mental representation: the question of the direction of constraint between psychological fact and theory and neurophysiological or physical fact and theory. Does physiology constrain psychology? Are physiological facts more basic than psychological facts? Or do psychological theories, including representational analyses, guide and constrain physiology? Despite the antireductionist bent of functionalist positions, it has generally been assumed that physics or physiology are more basic than, and hence contraining on, psychological fact and theory. Section 1 sketches the intuitions that would lead one to adopt such a view. The chapter then examines whether one-sided constraint has been and should be found in practice. It argues that philosophical analysis of psychological science shows that rigorous functional analyses can be carried out in advance of physiological knowledge. Indeed, in the investigation of sensory perception, ascription of psychological function leads the way in the individuation and investigation of neurophysiology. We shall look at several cases in visual perception (binocular single vision, stereopsis, and color vision), in which psychological results have provided a basis for physiological research. It is tempting to think that the psychological functions that enable physiological investigation would be Wrightian teleofunctions. It is, thus, natural to suppose that psychologists and neurophysiologists have proceeded with a conception of the purpose of a given neural structure, and have viewed neural anatomy and neural activity as the substrate for or instantiation of various properly psychological functions. For example, neuroscientists surely understand that the eye and visual system are for seeing, rather than for detecting an electric discharge in the vicinity of the retina (which sighted humans can do, via the subjective light produced by such discharges), and they guide their investigations of the eye, visual cortex, and intervening pathways accordingly. As a result, they will view rods and cones in the eye as photoreceptors, even though these structures will produce "output" (will respond with hyperpolarization) to other forms of energy. At the same time, there may be cases in which the functions that have guided research are in fact precisely determined input-output functions, whose teleofunctional status is absent or misdescribed. I will argue that in the case of trichromatic color matches, the psychological function involved is an input-output function, and that this result has implications for the description of color vision as a psychological capacity.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Robert Arp (2008). Life and the Homeostatic Organization View of Biological Phenomena. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 4 (1-2):260-285.
Robert Arp (2007). Homeostatic Organization, Emergence, and Reduction in Biological Phenomena. Philosophia Naturalis 44 (2):238-270.
Similar books and articles
Thomas Schramme (2010). Can We Define Mental Disorder by Using the Criterion of Mental Dysfunction? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (1):35-47.
Timo Jarvilehto, The Theory of the Organism-Environment System: II. Significance of Nervous Activity in the Organism-Environment System.
Anne Jaap Jacobson (2008). What Should a Theory of Vision Look Like? Philosophical Psychology 21 (5):585 – 599.
Jennifer Mundale & William P. Bechtel (1996). Integrating Neuroscience, Psychology, and Evolutionary Biology Through a Teleological Conception of Function. Minds and Machines 6 (4):481-505.
Bernard Crespi (2006). The Natural Selection of Psychosis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):410-411.
Paul Sheldon Davies (1996). Discovering the Functional Mesh: On the Methods of Evolutionary Psychology. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 6 (4):559-585.
Paul M. Churchland (1982). Is 'Thinker' a Natural Kind? Dialogue 21 (June):223-38.
Andre Ariew, Robert C. Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.) (2002). Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press.
Gary C. Hatfield (2009). Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.
P. S. Kitcher (1988). Marr's Computational Theory of Vision. Philosophy of Science 55 (March):1-24.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads19 ( #242,907 of 1,932,453 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #456,120 of 1,932,453 )
How can I increase my downloads?