David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 177 (2):261-283 (2010)
The Morris water maze has been put forward in the philosophy of neuroscience as an example of an experimental arrangement that may be used to delineate the cognitive faculty of spatial memory (e.g., Craver and Darden, Theory and method in the neurosciences, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2001; Craver, Explaining the brain: Mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007). However, in the experimental and review literature on the water maze throughout the history of its use, we encounter numerous responses to the question of “what” phenomenon it circumscribes ranging from cognitive functions (e.g., “spatial learning”, “spatial navigation”), to representational changes (e.g., “cognitive map formation”) to terms that appear to refer exclusively to observable changes in behavior (e.g., “water maze performance”). To date philosophical analyses of the water maze have not been directed at sorting out what phenomenon the device delineates nor the sources of the different answers to the question of what. I undertake both of these tasks in this paper. I begin with an analysis of Morris’s first published research study using the water maze and demonstrate that he emerged from it with an experimental learning paradigm that at best circumscribed a discrete set of observable changes in behavior. However, it delineated neither a discrete set of representational changes nor a discrete cognitive function. I cite this in combination with a reductionist-oriented research agenda in cellular and molecular neurobiology dating back to the 1980s as two sources of the lack of consistency across the history of the experimental and review literature as to what is under study in the water maze.
|Keywords||Cognition Experimental learning paradigm Mechanisms Reliability Spatial memory|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Wesley J. Wildman (2011). The Ambiguous Heritage and Perpetual Promise of Liberal Theology1. American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 32 (1):43 - 61.
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (2009). The Multiplicity of Experimental Protocols: A Challenge to Reductionist and Non-Reductionist Models of the Unity of Neuroscience. Synthese 167 (3):511 - 539.
Surender Kumar, Incorporating Unaccounted for Water Into the Performance Measurement: An Application to the Indian Water Sector.
William Lycan (2006). The Meaning of “Water”: An Unsolved Problem. Philosophical Issues 16 (1):184-199.
Bruce Simmons, Robert Woog & Vladimir Dimitrov (2007). Living on the Edge: A Complexity-Informed Exploration of the Human-Water Relationship. World Futures 63 (3 & 4):275 – 285.
Brent Silby (2012). The Ghostly Illusion of Freewill. Cafe Philosophy 4 (Jan/Feb 2012).
T. Devasenathipathi, P. T. Saleendran & J. T. Masilamani Jeevaraj, A Study on Consumers' Approach Towards Bottled Water.
R. M. Hare (2000). Sorting Out Ethics. Clarendon Press.
Carl F. Craver & Lindley Darden (2001). Discovering Mechanisms in Neurobiology: The Case of Spatial Memory. In P.K. Machamer, Rick Grush & Peter McLaughlin (eds.), Theory and Method in Neuroscience. Pittsburgh: University of Pitt Press. 112--137.
B. C. Malt (1994). Water is Not H 2 O. Cognitive Psychology 27:41--70.
Jie Liu, Amarbayasgalan Dorjderem, Jinhua Fu, Xiaohui Lei & Darryl Macer (2011). Water Ethics and Water Resource Management. UNESCO.
Added to index2010-11-30
Total downloads51 ( #25,917 of 1,017,892 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #65,012 of 1,017,892 )
How can I increase my downloads?