David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 67 (3):444-465 (2000)
This paper explores the relationship between psychology and neurobiology in the context of cognitive science. Are the sciences that constitute cognitive science independent and theoretically autonomous, or is there a necessary interaction between them? I explore Fodor's Multiple Realization Thesis (MRT) which starts with the fact of multiple realization and purports to derive the theoretical autonomy of special sciences (such as psychology) from structural sciences (such as neurobiology). After laying out the MRT, it is shown that, on closer inspection, the argument is either circular or self-undermining--the argument either assumes the very autonomy it seeks to demonstrate or the concluded autonomy is contradicted by the theoretical interdependence invoked by the premises of the argument. Next, I explore a concrete example of multiple realization in the explanation of animal behavior: the convergent evolution of jamming avoidance behaviors in three genera of weakly electric fish. Contrary to the image painted by the MRT, the work on these animals involves a high degree of interaction between the various levels of investigation. The fact that our understanding of electric fish behavior involves functional theories and multiple realization without the kind of disunified science that is supposed to follow from such a situation indicates that the mere fact of multiple realization cannot be the basis for an autonomous psychology
|Keywords||Fish Multiple Neuroscience Psychology Realization Science Fodor, J|
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Citations of this work BETA
Gualtiero Piccinini & Carl Craver (2011). Integrating Psychology and Neuroscience: Functional Analyses as Mechanism Sketches. Synthese 183 (3):283-311.
Eric Hochstein (2015). Giving Up on Convergence and Autonomy: Why the Theories of Psychology and Neuroscience Are Codependent as Well as Irreconcilable. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A:1-19.
Eric Hochstein (2016). One Mechanism, Many Models: A Distributed Theory of Mechanistic Explanation. Synthese 193 (5):1387-1407.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2010). The Mind as Neural Software? Understanding Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):269-311.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2006). Computational Explanation in Neuroscience. Synthese 153 (3):343-353.
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