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Profile: Brandon N. Towl (Washington University in St. Louis)
  1. Brandon N. Towl, The Subset View of Realization: Five Problems.
    The Subset View of realization, though it has some attractive advantages, also has several problems. In particular, there are five main problems that have emerged in the literature: Double-Counting, The Part/Whole Problem, The “No Addition of Being” Problem, The Problem of Projectibility, and the Problem of Spurious Kinds. Each is reviewed here, along with solutions (or partial solutions) to them. Taking these problems seriously constrains the form that a Subset view can take, and thus limits the kinds of relations that (...)
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  2. José Luis Bermúdez & Brandon N. Towl (eds.) (2012). Philosophy of Psychology: Critical Concepts in Philosophy. Routledge.
    v. 1. Representation and mind -- v. 2 The organization of the mind -- v. 3. Special topics: language, thought, and belief -- v. 4. Special topics: consciousness, happiness, and free will.
     
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  3. Jose Luis Bermudez & Brandon N. Towl (eds.) (2012). The Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge.
    The study of human behaviour, and the minds that produce that behaviour, has been an occupation of scholars, artists, and philosophers for millennia. But it was not until the turn of the twentieth century that psychology came into its own as a distinct field of study—and, more importantly, as a scientifically legitimate field of study. When we view psychology as a science, certain questions naturally emerge: what sorts of phenomena does psychology seek to explain? What is distinctive about the kinds (...)
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  4. Brandon N. Towl (2012). Laws and Constrained Kinds: A Lesson From Motor Neuroscience. Synthese 189 (3):433-450.
    In this paper, I want to explore the question of whether or not there are laws in psychology. Jaegwon Kim has argued (Supervenience and mind. MIT press, Cambridge; 1993; Mind in a physical world. MIT press, Cambridge 1998) that there are no laws in psychology that contain reference to multiply realized kinds, because statements about such kinds fail to be projectible. After reviewing Kim’s argument for this claim, I show how his conclusion hinges on a hidden assumption: that a kind (...)
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  5. Brandon N. Towl (2011). Mind-Brain Correlations, Identity, and Neuroscience. Philosophical Psychology 25 (2):187 - 202.
    One of the positive arguments for the type-identity theory of mental states is an inference-to-the-best-explanation (IBE) argument, which purports to show that type-identity theory is likely true since it is the best explanation for the correlations between mental states and brain states that we find in the neurosciences. But given the methods of neuroscience, there are other relations besides identity that can explain such correlations. I illustrate some of these relations by examining the literature on the function of the hypothalamus (...)
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  6. Brandon N. Towl (2010). Spurious Causal Kinds: A Problem for the Causal-Power Conception of Kinds. Philosophia 38 (1):217-223.
    There is an assumption common in the philosophy of mind literature that kinds in our sciences—or causal kinds, at least—are individuated by the causal powers that objects have in virtue of the properties they instantiate. While this assumption might not be problematic by itself, some authors take the assumption to mean that falling under a kind and instantiating a property amount to the same thing. I call this assumption the “Property-Kind Individuation Principle”. A problem with this principle arises because there (...)
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  7. Brandon N. Towl (2010). The Individuation of Causal Powers by Events (and Consequences of the Approach). Metaphysica 11 (1):49-61.
    In this paper, I explore the notion of a “causal power”, particularly as it is relevant to a theory of properties whereby properties are individuated by the causal powers they bestow on the objects that instantiate them. I take as my target certain eliminativist positions that argue that certain kinds of properties (or relations) do not exist because they fail to bestow unique causal powers on objects. But the notion of a causal powers is inextricably bound up with our notion (...)
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  8. Brandon N. Towl (2003). Review of Jesse Prinz's Furnishing the Mind (Cambridge, Ma: Mit Press, 2002). [REVIEW] Brain and Mind 4 (3):395-398.
  9. Brandon N. Towl, Jonathan Halvorson & Carl F. Craver (2003). An Elusive Target: A Critical Review of Clark Glymour's the Mind's Arrows. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 16 (1):157 – 164.
    The mind's arrows , by Clark Glymour, combines several of the author's previous essays on causal inference. Glymour deploys causal Bayes nets (CBNs) to provide a descriptive psychological model of human causal inference and a prescriptive model for making inferences in cognitive neuropsychology and the social sciences. Though The mind's arrows is highly original and provocative, its labyrinthine organization and technical style render it inaccessible to the uninitiated. Here we attempt to distill, package and dress some of Glymour's more interesting (...)
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  10. Brandon N. Towl (2001). Dynamics Under Scrutiny - or, How to Teach Old Problems New Tricks: A Critical Review of Alicia Juarrero's Dynamics in Action. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 14 (2):217 – 225.
    Alicia Juarrero's Dynamics in action is an attempt to bring dynamical systems theory to bear on action theory. Juarrero claims that the vocabulary and examples from dynamical systems theory can help us resolve some pressing problems in action theory, including the problems of extended action and disrupted causal chains. In the process, Juarrero calls for a return to an Aristotelean plurality of causes and a serious scrutiny of modern Humean/positivist science as she sees it. Although her book has some inaccuracies (...)
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