The multiplicity of experimental protocols: A challenge to reductionist and non-reductionist models of the unity of neuroscience
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 167 (3):511-539 (2009)
Descriptive accounts of the nature of explanation in neuroscience and the global goals of such explanation have recently proliferated in the philosophy of neuroscience and with them new understandings of the experimental practices of neuroscientists have emerged. In this paper, I consider two models of such practices; one that takes them to be reductive; another that takes them to be integrative. I investigate those areas of the neuroscience of learning and memory from which the examples used to substantiate these models are culled, and argue that the multiplicity of experimental protocols used in these research areas presents specific challenges for both models. In my view, these challenges have been overlooked largely because philosophers have hitherto failed to pay sufficient attention to fundamental features of experimental practice. I demonstrate that when we do pay attention to such features, evidence for reduction and integrative unity in neuroscience is simply not borne out. I end by suggesting some new directions for the philosophy of neuroscience that pertain to taking a closer look at the nature of neuroscientific experiments.
|Keywords||Explanation Experimentation Mechanism Reliability Validity Multiplicity Experimental Paradigm Experimental Protocol|
|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
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
Ian Hacking (1983). Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.
Alvin I. Goldman (1986). Epistemology and Cognition. Harvard University Press.
Carl F. Craver (2007). Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
John W. Bickle (2008). Psychoneural Reduction: The New Wave. A Bradford Book.
Citations of this work BETA
Ingo Brigandt & Alan Love, Reductionism in Biology. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Charles Rathkopf (2013). Localization and Intrinsic Function. Philosophy of Science 80 (1):1-21.
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (forthcoming). Construct Stabilization and the Unity of the Mind-Brain Sciences. Philosophy of Science (00).
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (2010). A Role for Representation in Cognitive Neurobiology. Philosophy of Science (Supplement) 77 (5):875-887.
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (2015). Experimentation in Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Neurobiology. In Jens Clausen Neil Levy (ed.), Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer
Similar books and articles
Ralph Hertwig & Andreas Ortmann (2001). Money, Lies, and Replicability: On the Need for Empirically Grounded Experimental Practices and Interdisciplinary Discourse. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):433-444.
Janet Levin (2009). Experimental Philosophy. Analysis 69 (4):761-769.
Jeffrey S. Poland & Barbara Von Eckardt (2004). Mechanism and Explanation in Cognitive Neuroscience. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):972-984.
Jan Sprenger (2009). Evidence and Experimental Design in Sequential Trials. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):637-649.
Cory D. Wright (2007). Is Psychological Explanation Going Extinct? In Huib Looren de Jong & Maurice Schouten (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. Oxford: Blackwell
John Bickle (2006). Reducing Mind to Molecular Pathways: Explicating the Reductionism Implicit in Current Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience. [REVIEW] Synthese 151 (3):411-434.
Huib L. de Jong & Maurice K. D. Schouten (2005). Ruthless Reductionism: A Review Essay of John Bickle's Philosophy and Neuroscience: A Ruthlessly Reductive Account. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 18 (4):473-486.
Tang Yijie & Yan Xin (2008). The Contemporary Significance of Confucianism. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (4):477-501.
Alan Baker (2008). Experimental Mathematics. Erkenntnis 68 (3):331-344.
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan (2010). Reconsidering 'Spatial Memory' and the Morris Water Maze. Synthese 177 (2):261-283.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads83 ( #50,263 of 1,902,049 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #66,357 of 1,902,049 )
How can I increase my downloads?