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Adele Abrahamsen [15]Adele A. Abrahamsen [5]
  1. Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel, From Reactive to Endogenously Active Dynamical Conceptions of the Brain.
    We contrast reactive and endogenously active perspectives on brain activity. Both have been pursued continuously in neurophysiology laboratories since the early 20thcentury, but the endogenous perspective has received relatively little attention until recently. One of the many successes of the reactive perspective was the identification, in the second half of the 20th century, of the distinctive contributions of different brain regions involved in visual processing. The recent prominence of the endogenous perspective is due to new findings of ongoing oscillatory activity (...)
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  2. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (unknown). Explaining Human Freedom and Dignity Mechanistically: From Receptive to Active Mechanisms. Philosophical Explorations:43-66.
    Mechanistic explanation is the dominant approach to explanation in the life sciences, but it has been challenged as incompatible with a conception of humans as agents whose capacity for self-direction endows them with freedom and dignity. We argue that the mechanical philosophy, properly construed, has sufficient resources to explain how such characteristics can arise in a material world. Biological mechanisms must be regarded as active, not only reactive, and as organized so as to maintain themselves far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Notions (...)
     
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  3. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen, Understanding the Brain as an Endogenously Active Mechanism.
    Although a reactive framework has long been dominant in cognitive science and neuroscience, an alternative framework emphasizing dynamics and endogenous activity has recently gained prominence. We review some of the evidence for endogenous activity and consider the implications not only for understanding cognition but also for accounts of explanation offered by philosophers of science. Our recent characterization of dynamic mechanistic explanation emphasizes the coordination of accounts of mechanisms that identify parts and operations with computational models of their activity. These can, (...)
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  4. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen, Complex Biological Mechanisms: Cyclic, Oscillatory, and Autonomous.
    The mechanistic perspective has dominated biological disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, cell and molecular biology, and neuroscience, especially during the 20th century. The primary strategy is reductionist: organisms are to be decomposed into component parts and operations at multiple levels. Researchers adopting this perspective have generated an enormous body of information about the mechanisms of life at scales ranging from the whole organism down to genetic and other molecular operations.
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  5. Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel (forthcoming). Diagrams as Tools for Scientific Reasoning. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-15.
    We contend that diagrams are tools not only for communication but also for supporting the reasoning of biologists. In the mechanistic research that is characteristic of biology, diagrams delineate the phenomenon to be explained, display explanatory relations, and show the organized parts and operations of the mechanism proposed as responsible for the phenomenon. Both phenomenon diagrams and explanatory relations diagrams, employing graphs or other formats, facilitate applying visual processing to the detection of relevant patterns. Mechanism diagrams guide reasoning about how (...)
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  6. Benjamin Sheredos, Daniel Burnston, Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel (2014). Why Do Biologists Use So Many Diagrams? Philosophy of Science 80 (5):931-944.
    Diagrams have distinctive characteristics that make them an effective medium for communicating research findings, but they are even more impressive as tools for scientific reasoning. To explore this role, we examine diagrammatic formats that have been devised by biologists to (a) identify and illuminate phenomena involving circadian rhythms and (b) develop and modify mechanistic explanations of these phenomena.
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  7. William Bechtel & Adele A. Abrahamsen (2013). Thinking Dynamically About Biological Mechanisms: Networks of Coupled Oscillators. [REVIEW] Foundations of Science 18 (4):707-723.
    Explaining the complex dynamics exhibited in many biological mechanisms requires extending the recent philosophical treatment of mechanisms that emphasizes sequences of operations. To understand how nonsequentially organized mechanisms will behave, scientists often advance what we call dynamic mechanistic explanations. These begin with a decomposition of the mechanism into component parts and operations, using a variety of laboratory-based strategies. Crucially, the mechanism is then recomposed by means of computational models in which variables or terms in differential equations correspond to properties of (...)
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  8. Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel (2012). History and Core Themes. In Keith Frankish & William Ramsey (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press. 9.
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  9. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2010). Dynamic Mechanistic Explanation: Computational Modeling of Circadian Rhythms as an Exemplar for Cognitive Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):321-333.
    Two widely accepted assumptions within cognitive science are that (1) the goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for cognitive performances and (2) computational modeling is a major tool for understanding these mechanisms. The particular approaches to computational modeling adopted in cognitive science, moreover, have significantly affected the way in which cognitive mechanisms are understood. Unable to employ some of the more common methods for conducting research on mechanisms, cognitive scientists’ guiding ideas about mechanism have developed in conjunction with their (...)
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  10. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2009). Decomposing, Recomposing, and Situating Circadian Mechanisms: Three Tasks in Developing Mechanistic Explanations. In H. Leitgeb & A. Hieke (eds.), Reduction: Between the Mind and the Brain. Ontos. 12--177.
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  11. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2008). From Reduction Back to Higher Levels. In B. C. Love, K. McRae & V. M. Sloutsky (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. 559--564.
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  12. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2007). Explaining Human Freedom and Dignity Mechanistically. Journal of Philosophical Research 32:43-66.
    Mechanistic explanation is the dominant approach to explanation in the life sciences, but it has been challenged as incompatible with a conception of humans as agents whose capacity for self-direction endows them with freedom and dignity. We argue that the mechanical philosophy, properly construed, has sufficient resources to explain how such characteristics can arise in a material world. Biological mechanisms must be regarded as active, not only reactive, and as organized so as to maintain themselves far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Notions (...)
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  13. Adele A. Abrahamsen & William P. Bechtel (2006). Phenomena and Mechanisms: Putting the Symbolic, Connectionist, and Dynamical Systems Debate in Broader Perspective. In R. Stainton (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Basil Blackwell.
    Cognitive science is, more than anything else, a pursuit of cognitive mechanisms. To make headway towards a mechanistic account of any particular cognitive phenomenon, a researcher must choose among the many architectures available to guide and constrain the account. It is thus fitting that this volume on contemporary debates in cognitive science includes two issues of architecture, each articulated in the 1980s but still unresolved:
    • Just how modular is the mind? (section 1) – a debate initially pitting encapsulated (...)
    Our project here is to consider the second issue within the broader context of where cognitive science has been and where it is headed. The notion that cognition in general—not just language processing—involves rules operating on language-like representations actually predates cognitive science. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental life is construed as involving propositional attitudes—that is, such attitudes towards propositions as believing, fearing, and desiring that they be true—and logical inferences from them. On this view, if a person desires that a proposition be true and believes that if she performs a certain action it will become true, she will make the inference and (absent any overriding consideration) perform the action. (shrink)
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  14. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2005). Mechanistic Explanation and the Nature-Nurture Controversy. Bulletin d'Histoire Et d'pistmologie Des Sciences de La Vie 12:75-100.
    Both in biology and psychology there has been a tendency on the part of many investigators to focus solely on the mature organism and ignore development. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that the explanatory framework often invoked in the life sciences for understanding a given phenomenon, according to which explanation consists in identifying the mechanism that produces that phenomenon, both makes it possible to side-step the development issue and to provide inadequate resources for actually (...)
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  15. Thomas Baldwin, William Bechtel, Adele Abrahamsen, Richard Boothby, Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith, Mario Bunge, Steven M. Cahn, Peter Markie & David Cockburn (2002). Books for Review and for Listing Here Should Be Addressed to Emily Zakin, Review Editor, Department of Philosophy, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. Teaching Philosophy 25 (1):107.
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  16. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2002). Connectionism and the Mind: Parallel Processing, Dynamics, and Evolution in Networks. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  17. Adele A. Abrahamsen (1993). Cognizers' Innards and Connectionist Nets: A Holy Alliance? Mind and Language 8 (4):520-530.
  18. William P. Bechtel & Adele A. Abrahamsen (1992). Connectionism and the Future of Folk Psychology. In Robert G. Burton (ed.), Minds: Natural and Artificial. SUNY Press.
  19. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (1988). Learning, Reward, and Cognitive Differences. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (3):448.
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  20. Adele A. Abrahamsen (1987). Bridging Boundaries Versus Breaking Boundaries: Psycholinguistics in Perspective. Synthese 72 (3):355 - 388.
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