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William Bechtel [115]William P. Bechtel [52]
  1.  664 DLs
    William Bechtel & Cory D. Wright (2009). What is Psychological Explanation? In P. Calvo & J. Symons (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge 113--130.
    Due to the wide array of phenomena that are of interest to them, psychologists offer highly diverse and heterogeneous types of explanations. Initially, this suggests that the question "What is psychological explanation?" has no single answer. To provide appreciation of this diversity, we begin by noting some of the more common types of explanations that psychologists provide, with particular focus on classical examples of explanations advanced in three different areas of psychology: psychophysics, physiological psychology, and information-processing psychology. To analyze what (...)
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  2.  562 DLs
    Cory D. Wright & William P. Bechtel (2007). Mechanisms and Psychological Explanation. In Paul Thagard (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier
    As much as assumptions about mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have deeply affected psychology, they have received disproportionately little analysis in philosophy. After a historical survey of the influences of mechanistic approaches to explanation of psychological phenomena, we specify the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Contrary to some treatments of mechanistic explanation, we maintain that explanation is an epistemic activity that involves representing and reasoning about mechanisms. We discuss the manner in which mechanistic approaches serve to bridge levels rather than (...)
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  3.  331 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (2005). The Challenge of Characterizing Operations in the Mechanisms Underlying Behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 84:313-325.
    Neuroscience and cognitive science seek to explain behavioral regularities in terms of underlying mechanisms. An important element of a mechanistic explanation is a characterization of the operations of the parts of the mechanism. The challenge in characterizing such operations is illustrated by an example from the history of physiological chemistry in which some investigators tried to characterize the internal operations in the same terms as the overall physiological system while others appealed to elemental chemistry. In order for biochemistry to become (...)
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  4.  325 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (forthcoming). The Epistemology of Evidence in Cognitive Neuroscience. In R. Skipper Jr, C. Allen, R. A. Ankeny, C. F. Craver, L. Darden, G. Mikkelson & and R. Richardson (eds.), Philosophy and the Life Sciences: A Reader. MIT Press
    It is no secret that scientists argue. They argue about theories. But even more, they argue about the evidence for theories. Is the evidence itself trustworthy? This is a bit surprising from the perspective of traditional empiricist accounts of scientific methodology according to which the evidence for scientific theories stems from observation, especially observation with the naked eye. These accounts portray the testing of scientific theories as a matter of comparing the predictions of the theory with the data generated by (...)
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  5.  285 DLs
    William P. Bechtel, Mental Mechanisms: What Are the Operations?
    trying to explain these reactions in terms of changes in ele- began trying to characterize physiological processes in.
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  6.  274 DLs
    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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  7.  272 DLs
    William Bechtel (2009). Constructing a Philosophy of Science of Cognitive Science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 1 (3):548-569.
    Philosophy of science is positioned to make distinctive contributions to cognitive science by providing perspective on its conceptual foundations and by advancing normative recommendations. The philosophy of science I embrace is naturalistic in that it is grounded in the study of actual science. Focusing on explanation, I describe the recent development of a mechanistic philosophy of science from which I draw three normative consequences for cognitive science. First, insofar as cognitive mechanisms are information-processing mechanisms, cognitive science needs an account of (...)
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  8.  263 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (1994). Levels of Description and Explanation in Cognitive Science. Minds and Machines 4 (1):1-25.
    The notion of levels has been widely used in discussions of cognitive science, especially in discussions of the relation of connectionism to symbolic modeling of cognition. I argue that many of the notions of levels employed are problematic for this purpose, and develop an alternative notion grounded in the framework of mechanistic explanation. By considering the source of the analogies underlying both symbolic modeling and connectionist modeling, I argue that neither is likely to provide an adequate analysis of processes at (...)
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  9.  238 DLs
    William Bechtel & Mitchell Herschbach (2010). Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences. In Fritz Allhoff (ed.), Philosophies of the Sciences. Wiley-Blackwell 239--261.
    Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary research endeavor focusing on human cognitive phenomena such as memory, language use, and reasoning. It emerged in the second half of the 20th century and is charting new directions at the beginning of the 21st century. This chapter begins by identifying the disciplines that contribute to cognitive science and reviewing the history of the interdisciplinary engagements that characterize it. The second section examines the role that mechanistic explanation plays in cognitive science, while the third focuses (...)
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  10.  235 DLs
    William P. Bechtel & Andrew Hamilton (2007). Reduction, Integration, and the Unity of Science: Natural, Behavioral, and Social Sciences and the Humanities. In T. Kuipers (ed.), Philosophy of Science: Focal Issues (Volume 1 of the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science). Elsevier
    1. A Historical Look at Unity 2. Field Guide to Modern Concepts of Reduction and Unity 3. Kitcher's Revisionist Account of Unification 4. Critics of Unity 5. Integration Instead of Unity 6. Reduction via Mechanisms 7. Case Studies in Reduction and Unification across the Disciplines.
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  11.  228 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (2002). Decomposing the Brain: A Long Term Pursuit. [REVIEW] Brain and Mind 3 (1):229-242.
    This paper defends cognitive neuroscience’s project of developing mechanistic explan- ations of cognitive processes through decomposition and localization against objections raised by William Uttal in The New Phrenology. The key issue between Uttal and researchers pursuing cognitive neuroscience is that Uttal bets against the possibility of decomposing mental operations into component elementary operations which are localized in distinct brain regions. The paper argues that it is through advancing and revising what are likely to be overly simplistic and incorrect decompositions that (...)
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  12.  222 DLs
    William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ dia- grams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations (...)
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  13.  204 DLs
    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? – a debate initially pitting encapsulated mechanisms against (...)
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  14.  202 DLs
    William Bechtel & A. Abrahamsen, Mental Mechanisms, Autonomous Systems, and Moral Agency.
    Mechanistic explanations of cognitive activities are ubiquitous in cognitive science. Humanist critics often object that mechanistic accounts of the mind are incapable of accounting for the moral agency exhibited by humans. We counter this objection by offering a sketch of how the mechanistic perspective can accommodate moral agency. We ground our argument in the requirement that biological systems be active in order to maintain themselves in nonequilibrium conditions. We discuss such consequences as a role for mental mechanisms in controlling active (...)
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  15.  199 DLs
    William Bechtel (2009). Explanation: Mechanism, Modularity, and Situated Cognition. In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge 155--170.
  16.  194 DLs
    William P. Bechtel & Jennifer Mundale (1999). Multiple Realizability Revisited: Linking Cognitive and Neural States. Philosophy of Science 66 (2):175-207.
    The claim of the multiple realizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in a comparative (...)
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  17.  193 DLs
    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.
  18.  183 DLs
    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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  19.  182 DLs
    William P. Bechtel & Robert S. Stufflebeam (1997). PET: Exploring the Myth and the Method. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):S95 - S106.
    New research tools such as PET can produce dramatic results. But they can also produce dramatic artifacts. Why is PET to be trusted? We examine both the rationale that justifies interpreting PET as measuring brain activity and the strategies for interpreting PET results functionally. We show that functional ascriptions with PET make important assumptions and depend critically on relating PET results to those secured through other research techniques.
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  20.  181 DLs
    William Bechtel (2007). In Search of Mitochondrial Mechanisms: Interfield Excursions Between Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Journal of the History of Biology 40 (1):1 - 33.
    Developing models of biological mechanisms, such as those involved in respiration in cells, often requires collaborative effort drawing upon techniques developed and information generated in different disciplines. Biochemists in the early decades of the 20th century uncovered all but the most elusive chemical operations involved in cellular respiration, but were unable to align the reaction pathways with particular structures in the cell. During the period 1940-1965 cell biology was emerging as a new discipline and made distinctive contributions to understanding the (...)
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  21.  181 DLs
    David M. Kaplan & William Bechtel (2011). Dynamical Models: An Alternative or Complement to Mechanistic Explanations? Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):438-444.
    Abstract While agreeing that dynamical models play a major role in cognitive science, we reject Stepp, Chemero, and Turvey's contention that they constitute an alternative to mechanistic explanations. We review several problems dynamical models face as putative explanations when they are not grounded in mechanisms. Further, we argue that the opposition of dynamical models and mechanisms is a false one and that those dynamical models that characterize the operations of mechanisms overcome these problems. By briefly considering examples involving the generation (...)
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  22.  177 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (1996). What Knowledge Must Be in the Head in Order to Acquire Language. In B. Velichkovsky & Duane M. Rumbaugh (eds.), Communicating Meaning: The Evolution and Development of Language. Hillsdale, Nj: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 45.
    Many studies of language, whether in philosophy, linguistics, or psychology, have focused on highly developed human languages. In their highly developed forms, such as are employed in scientific discourse, languages have a unique set of properties that have been the focus of much attention. For example, descriptive sentences in a language have the property of being "true" or "false," and words of a language have senses and referents. Sentences in a language are structured in accord with complex syntactic rules. Theorists (...)
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  23.  171 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (1995). Consciousness: Perspectives From Symbolic and Connectionist AI. Neuropsychologia.
    For many people, consciousness is one of the defining characteristics of mental states. Thus, it is quite surprising that consciousness has, until quite recently, had very little role to play in the cognitive sciences. Three very popular multi-authored overviews of cognitive science, Stillings et al. [33], Posner [26], and Osherson et al. [25], do not have a single reference to consciousness in their indexes. One reason this seems surprising is that the cognitive revolution was, in large part, a repudiation of (...)
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  24.  169 DLs
    William P. Bechtel & Jennifer Mundale (1996). Integrating Neuroscience, Psychology, and Evolutionary Biology Through a Teleological Conception of Function. Minds and Machines 6 (4):481-505.
    The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psyychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which make critical use of (...)
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  25.  169 DLs
    William P. Bechtel, Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on the Sciences of Cognition and the Brain.
    1. The Naturalistic Turn in Philosophy of Science 2. The Framework of Mechanistic Explanation: Parts, Operations, and Organization 3. Representing and Reasoning About Mechanisms 4. Mental Mechanisms: Mechanisms that Process Information 5. Discovering Mental Mechanisms 6 . Summary.
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  26.  162 DLs
    William Bechtel (2009). Generalization and Discovery by Assuming Conserved Mechanisms: Cross‐Species Research on Circadian Oscillators. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):762-773.
    In many domains of biology, explanation takes the form of characterizing the mechanism responsible for a particular phenomenon in a specific biological system. How are such explanations generalized? One important strategy assumes conservation of mechanisms through evolutionary descent. But conservation is seldom complete. In the case discussed, the central mechanism for circadian rhythms in animals was first identified in Drosophila and then extended to mammals. Scientists' working assumption that the clock mechanisms would be conserved both yielded important generalizations and served (...)
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  27.  161 DLs
    William Bechtel (2009). Looking Down, Around, and Up: Mechanistic Explanation in Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):543-564.
    Accounts of mechanistic explanation have emphasized the importance of looking down—decomposing a mechanism into its parts and operations. Using research on visual processing as an exemplar, I illustrate how productive such research has been. But once multiple components of a mechanism have been identified, researchers also need to figure out how it is organized—they must look around and determine how to recompose the mechanism. Although researchers often begin by trying to recompose the mechanism in terms of sequential operations, they frequently (...)
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  28.  156 DLs
    William Bechtel (2008). Mechanisms in Cognitive Psychology: What Are the Operations? Philosophy of Science 75 (5):983-994.
    Cognitive psychologists, like biologists, frequently describe mechanisms when explaining phenomena. Unlike biologists, who can often trace material transformations to identify operations, psychologists face a more daunting task in identifying operations that transform information. Behavior provides little guidance as to the nature of the operations involved. While not itself revealing the operations, identification of brain areas involved in psychological mechanisms can help constrain attempts to characterize the operations. In current memory research, evidence that the same brain areas are involved in what (...)
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  29.  154 DLs
    William Bechtel & Benjamin Sheredos, HIT on the Psychometric Approach.
    Traditionally, identity and supervenience have been proposed in philosophy of mind as metaphysical accounts of how mental activities (fully understood, as they might be at the end of science) relate to brain processes. Kievet et al. suggest that to be relevant to cognitive neuroscience, these philosophical positions must make empirically testable claims and be evaluated accordingly – they cannot sit on the sidelines, awaiting the hypothetical completion of cognitive neuroscience. We agree with the authors on the importance of rendering these (...)
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  30.  153 DLs
    Daniel A. Weiskopf & William P. Bechtel (2004). Remarks on Fodor on Having Concepts. Mind and Language 19 (1):48-56.
    Fodor offers a novel argument against Bare-bones Concept Pragmatism (BCP). He alleges that there are two circularities in BCP’s account of concept possession: a circularity in explaining concept possession in terms of the capacity to sort; and a circularity in explaining concept possession in terms of the capacity to draw inferences. We argue that neither of these circles is real.
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  31.  151 DLs
    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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  32.  151 DLs
    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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  33.  149 DLs
    William Bechtel (2007). Top-Down Causation Without Top-Down Causes. Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):547-563.
  34.  147 DLs
    William Bechtel (2007). Reducing Psychology While Maintaining its Autonomy Via Mechanistic Explanations. In M. Schouten & H. L. De Joong (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. Blackwell Publishing
    Arguments for the autonomy of psychology or other higher-level sciences have often taken the form of denying the possibility of reduction. The form of reduction most proponents and critics of the autonomy of psychology have in mind is theory reduction. Mechanistic explanations provide a different perspective. Mechanistic explanations are reductionist insofar as they appeal to lower-level entities—the component parts of a mechanism and their operations— to explain a phenomenon. However, unlike theory reductions, mechanistic explanations also recognize the fundamental role of (...)
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  35.  146 DLs
    Carl F. Craver & William Bechtel (2007). Top-Down Causation Without Top-Down Causes. Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):547-563.
    We argue that intelligible appeals to interlevel causes (top-down and bottom-up) can be understood, without remainder, as appeals to mechanistically mediated effects. Mechanistically mediated effects are hybrids of causal and constitutive relations, where the causal relations are exclusively intralevel. The idea of causation would have to stretch to the breaking point to accommodate interlevel causes. The notion of a mechanistically mediated effect is preferable because it can do all of the required work without appealing to mysterious interlevel causes. When interlevel (...)
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  36.  144 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (2001). The Compatibility of Complex Systems and Reduction: A Case Analysis of Memory Research. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 11 (4):483-502.
    Some theorists who emphasize the complexity of biological and cognitive systems and who advocate the employment of the tools of dynamical systems theory in explaining them construe complexity and reduction as exclusive alternatives. This paper argues that reduction, an approach to explanation that decomposes complex activities and localizes the components within the complex system, is not only compatible with an emphasis on complexity, but provides the foundation for dynamical analysis. Explanation via decomposition and localization is nonetheless extremely challenging, and an (...)
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  37.  141 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (1998). Representations and Cognitive Explanations: Assessing the Dynamicist Challenge in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science 22 (3):295-317.
    Advocates of dynamical systems theory (DST) sometimes employ revolutionary rhetoric. In an attempt to clarify how DST models differ from others in cognitive science, I focus on two issues raised by DST: the role for representations in mental models and the conception of explanation invoked. Two features of representations are their role in standing-in for features external to the system and their format. DST advocates sometimes claim to have repudiated the need for stand-ins in DST models, but I argue that (...)
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  38.  139 DLs
    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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  39.  139 DLs
    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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  40.  138 DLs
    Jennifer Mundale & William P. Bechtel (1996). Integrating Neuroscience, Psychology, and Evolutionary Biology Through a Teleological Conception of Function. Minds and Machines 6 (4):481-505.
    The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which make critical use of (...)
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  41.  136 DLs
    William Bechtel (2010). The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 73 (3):313 - 328.
    In the context of mechanistic explanation, reductionistic research pursues a decomposition of complex systems into their component parts and operations. Using research on the mechanisms responsible for circadian rhythms, I consider both the gains that have been made by discovering genes and proteins that figure in these intracellular oscillators and also highlight the increasingly recognized need to understand higher-level integration, both between cells in the central oscillator and between the central and peripheral oscillators. This history illustrates a common need to (...)
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  42.  135 DLs
    William Bechtel (2011). Mechanism and Biological Explanation. Philosophy of Science 78 (4):533-557.
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  43.  134 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (2002). Aligning Multiple Research Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience: Why Is It Important? Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S48-S58.
    The need to align multiple experimental procedures and produce converging results so as to demonstrate that the phenomenon under investigation is real and not an artifact is a commonplace both in scientific practice and discussions of scientific methodology (Campbell and Stanley 1963; Wimsatt 1981). Although sometimes this is the purpose of aligning techniques, often there is a different purpose—multiple techniques are sought to supply different perspectives on the phenomena under investigation that need to be integrated to answer the questions scientists (...)
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  44.  133 DLs
    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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  45.  130 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (1994). Natural Deduction in Connectionist Systems. Synthese 101 (3):433-463.
    The relation between logic and thought has long been controversial, but has recently influenced theorizing about the nature of mental processes in cognitive science. One prominent tradition argues that to explain the systematicity of thought we must posit syntactically structured representations inside the cognitive system which can be operated upon by structure sensitive rules similar to those employed in systems of natural deduction. I have argued elsewhere that the systematicity of human thought might better be explained as resulting from the (...)
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  46.  129 DLs
    William P. Bechtel (1985). Realism, Instrumentalism, and the Intentional Stance. Cognitive Science 9 (4):265-92.
  47.  127 DLs
    William Bechtel (2010). The Cell: Locus or Object of Inquiry? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):172-182.
    Research in many fields of biology has been extremely successful in decomposing biological mechanisms to discover their parts and operations. It often remains a significant challenge for scientists to recompose these mechanisms to understand how they function as wholes and interact with the environments around them. This is true of the eukaryotic cell. Although initially identified in nineteenth-century cell theory as the fundamental unit of organisms, researchers soon learned how to decompose it into its organelles and chemical constituents and have (...)
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  48.  125 DLs
    William P. Bechtel & Robert N. McCauley (1999). Heuristic Identity Theory (or Back to the Future): The Mind-Body Problem Against the Background of Research Strategies in Cognitive Neuroscience. In Martin Hahn & S. C. Stoness (eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawrence Erlbaum 67-72.
    Functionalists in philosophy of mind traditionally raise two major arguments against the type identity theory: (1) psychological states are _multiply realizable_ so that there are no one-to-one mappings of psychological states onto neural states and (2) the most that evidence could ever establish is the _correlation_ of psychological and neural states, not their identity. We defend a variant on the traditional type identity theory which we call _heuristic identity theory_ (HIT) against both of these objections. Drawing its inspiration from scientific (...)
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  49.  119 DLs
    William Bechtel, Molecules, Systems, and Behavior: Another View of Memory Consolidation.
    From its genesis in the 1960s, the focus of inquiry in neuroscience has been on the cellular and molecular processes underlying neural activity. In this pursuit neuroscience has been enormously successful. Like any successful scientific inquiry, initial successes have raised new questions that inspire ongoing research. While there is still much that is not known about the molecular processes in brains, a great deal of very important knowledge has been secured, especially in the last 50 years. It has also attracted (...)
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  50.  113 DLs
    William Bechtel (2012). Identity, Reduction, and Conserved Mechanisms: Perspectives From Circadian Rhythm Research. In Hill Christopher & Gozzano Simone (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press 43.
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