Causes without mechanisms: Experimental regularities, physical laws, and neuroscientific explanation
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 75 (5):995-1007 (2008)
This article examines the role of experimental generalizations and physical laws in neuroscientific explanations, using Hodgkin and Huxley’s electrophysiological model from 1952 as a test case. I show that the fact that the model was partly fitted to experimental data did not affect its explanatory status, nor did the false mechanistic assumptions made by Hodgkin and Huxley. The model satisfies two important criteria of explanatory status: it contains invariant generalizations and it is modular (both in James Woodward’s sense). Further, I argue that there is a sense in which the explanatory heteronomy thesis holds true for this case. †To contact the author, please write to: SNF‐Professorship for Philosophy of Science, University of Basel, Missionsstrasse 21, 4003 Basel, Switzerland; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|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
David Michael Kaplan (2011). Explanation and Description in Computational Neuroscience. Synthese 183 (3):339-373.
M. Chirimuuta (2014). Minimal Models and Canonical Neural Computations: The Distinctness of Computational Explanation in Neuroscience. Synthese 191 (2):127-153.
Worth Boone & Gualtiero Piccinini (forthcoming). The Cognitive Neuroscience Revolution. Synthese:1-26.
David Michael Kaplan (2015). Moving Parts: The Natural Alliance Between Dynamical and Mechanistic Modeling Approaches. Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):757-786.
Similar books and articles
Viorel Pâslaru (2009). Ecological Explanation Between Manipulation and Mechanism Description. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):821-837.
Carl F. Craver (2009). Explaining the Brain. OUP Oxford.
Jani Raerinne (2011). Causal and Mechanistic Explanations in Ecology. Acta Biotheoretica 59 (3):251-271.
Robert N. Brandon (1997). Does Biology Have Laws? The Experimental Evidence. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):457.
Bert Leuridan (2010). Can Mechanisms Really Replace Laws of Nature? Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340.
Jim Bogen (2005). Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):397-420.
Holly Andersen (2011). Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
Carl F. Craver (2008). Physical Law and Mechanistic Explanation in the Hodgkin and Huxley Model of the Action Potential. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):1022-1033.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads73 ( #49,306 of 1,777,915 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #87,412 of 1,777,915 )
How can I increase my downloads?