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Profile: Carlos Zednik (Indiana University)
Profile: Carlos Zednik (Universität Osnabrück)
  1. Carlos Zednik (2011). The Nature of Dynamical Explanation. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):238-263.
    The received view of dynamical explanation is that dynamical cognitive science seeks to provide covering law explanations of cognitive phenomena. By analyzing three prominent examples of dynamicist research, I show that the received view is misleading: some dynamical explanations are mechanistic explanations, and in this way resemble computational and connectionist explanations. Interestingly, these dynamical explanations invoke the mathematical framework of dynamical systems theory to describe mechanisms far more complex and distributed than the ones typically considered by philosophers. Therefore, contemporary dynamicist (...)
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    Carlos Zednik, Are Systems Neuroscience Explanations Mechanistic?
    Whereas most branches of neuroscience are thought to provide mechanistic explanations, systems neuroscience is not. Two reasons are traditionally cited in support of this conclusion. First, systems neuroscientists rarely, if ever, rely on the dual strategies of decomposition and localization. Second, they typically emphasize organizational properties over the properties of individual components. In this paper, I argue that neither reason is conclusive: researchers might rely on alternative strategies for mechanism discovery, and focusing on organization is often appropriate and consistent with (...)
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    Carlos Zednik (forthcoming). Heuristics, Descriptions and the Scope of Mechanistic Explanation. In P. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology. An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer
    The philosophical conception of mechanistic explanation is grounded on a limited number of canonical examples. These examples provide an overly narrow view of contemporary scientific practice, because they do not reflect the extent to which the heuristic strategies and descriptive practices that contribute to mechanistic explanation have evolved beyond the well-known methods of decomposition, localization, and pictorial representation. Recent examples from evolutionary robotics and network approaches to biology and neuroscience demonstrate the increasingly important role played by computer simulations and mathematical (...)
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