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  1. added 2018-11-01
    The Life of the Cortical Column: Opening the Domain of Functional Architecture of the Cortex.Haueis Philipp - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (3).
    The concept of the cortical column refers to vertical cell bands with similar response properties, which were initially observed by Vernon Mountcastle’s mapping of single cell recordings in the cat somatic cortex. It has subsequently guided over 50 years of neuroscientific research, in which fundamental questions about the modularity of the cortex and basic principles of sensory information processing were empirically investigated. Nevertheless, the status of the column remains controversial today, as skeptical commentators proclaim that the vertical cell bands are (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-01
    Hughlings Jackson and the “doctrine of concomitance”: mind-brain theorising between metaphysics and the clinic.M. Chirimuuta - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):26.
    John Hughlings Jackson is a major figure at the origins of neurology and neuroscience in Britain. Alongside his contributions to clinical medicine, he left a large corpus of writing on localisation of function in the nervous system and other theoretical topics. In this paper I focus on Jackson’s “doctrine of concomitance”—his parallelist theory of the mind-brain relationship. I argue that the doctrine can be given both an ontological and a causal interpretation, and that the causal aspect of the doctrine is (...)
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  3. added 2018-08-28
    Emil du Bois-Reymond on "The Seat of the Soul".Gabriel Finkelstein - 2014 - Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 23 (1):45-55.
    The German pioneer of electrophysiology, Emil du Bois-Reymond (1818–1896), is generally assumed to have remained silent on the subject of the brain. However, the archive of his papers in Berlin contains manuscript notes to a lecture on “The Seat of the Soul” that he delivered to popular audiences in 1884 and 1885. These notes demonstrate that cerebral localization and brain function in general had been concerns of his for quite some time, and that he did not shy away from these (...)
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  4. added 2018-08-28
    Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany.Gabriel Finkelstein - 2013 - The MIT Press.
    This biography of Emil du Bois-Reymond, the most important forgotten intellectual of the nineteenth century, received an Honorable Mention for History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at the 2013 PROSE Awards, was shortlisted for the 2014 John Pickstone Prize (Britain's most prestigious award for the best scholarly book in the history of science), and was named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science as one of the Best Books of 2014. -/- In his own time (1818–1896) du Bois-Reymond (...)
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  5. added 2018-08-28
    Emil du Bois-Reymond: The Making of a Liberal German Scientist (1818-1851).Gabriel Finkelstein - 1996 - Dissertation,
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  6. added 2018-08-27
    Michel Meulders, Helmholtz, des Lumières aux Neurosciences, Paris: Editions Odile Jacob, 2001. [REVIEW]Gabriel Finkelstein - 2002 - Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 11 (3):317-319.
  7. added 2018-04-28
    Much Ado About Mice: Standard-Setting in Model Organism Research.Rebecca A. Hardesty - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 68:15-24.
    Recently there has been a practice turn in the philosophy of science that has called for analyses to be grounded in the actual doings of everyday science. This paper is in furtherance of this call and it does so by employing participant-observation ethnographic methods as a tool for discovering epistemological features of scientific practice in a neuroscience lab. The case I present focuses on a group of neurobiologists researching the genetic underpinnings of cognition in Down syndrome (DS) and how they (...)
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  8. added 2018-04-26
    Cajal’s Law of Dynamic Polarization: Mechanism and Design.Sergio Daniel Barberis - 2018 - Philosophies 3 (2):11-0.
    Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the primary architect of the neuron doctrine and the law of dynamic polarization, is considered to be the founder of modern neuroscience. At the same time, many philosophers, historians, and neuroscientists agree that modern neuroscience embodies a mechanistic perspective on the explanation of the nervous system. In this paper, I review the extant mechanistic interpretation of Cajal’s contribution to modern neuroscience. Then, I argue that the extant mechanistic interpretation fails to capture the explanatory import of Cajal’s (...)
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  9. added 2018-01-18
    Mechanisms and the Mental.Marcin Miłkowski - 2017 - In Stuart S. Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group). pp. 74--88.
    In this chapter, I sketch the history of mechanistic models of the mental, as related to the technological project of trying to build mechanical minds, and discuss the contemporary debates on psychological and cognitive explanations. In the first section, I introduce the Cartesian notion of mechanism, which has shaped the debate in the centuries to follow. Early mechanistic proposals are also connected with early attempts to formulate the computational account of thinking and reasoning, upheld notably by Hobbes and Leibniz. In (...)
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  10. added 2017-12-05
    L’Homme in Psychology and Neuroscience.Gary Hatfield - 2016 - In Stephen Gaukroger & Delphine Antoine-Mahut (eds.), Descartes' Treatise on Man and Its Reception. New York: Springer. pp. 269–285.
    L’Homme presents what has been termed Descartes’ “physiological psychology”. It envisions and seeks to explain how the brain and nerves might yield situationally appropriate behavior through mechanical means. On occasion in the past 150 years, this aim has been recognized, described, and praised. Still, acknowledgement of this aspect of Descartes’ writing has been spotty in histories of neuroscience and histories of psychology. In recent years, there has been something of a resurgence. This chapter argues that, in seeking to explain psychological (...)
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  11. added 2017-09-25
    Is Empiricism Empirically False? Lessons From Early Nervous Systems.Marcin Miłkowski - 2017 - Biosemiotics 10 (2):229-245.
    Recent work on skin-brain thesis suggests the possibility of empirical evidence that empiricism is false. It implies that early animals need no traditional sensory receptors to be engaged in cognitive activity. The neural structure required to coordinate extensive sheets of contractile tissue for motility provides the starting point for a new multicellular organized form of sensing. Moving a body by muscle contraction provides the basis for a multicellular organization that is sensitive to external surface structure at the scale of the (...)
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  12. added 2017-07-30
    HIT and Brain Reward Function: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Theory).Cory Wright, Matteo Colombo & Alexander Beard - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64:28–40.
    This paper employs a case study from the history of neuroscience—brain reward function—to scrutinize the inductive argument for the so-called ‘Heuristic Identity Theory’ (HIT). The case fails to support HIT, illustrating why other case studies previously thought to provide empirical support for HIT also fold under scrutiny. After distinguishing two different ways of understanding the types of identity claims presupposed by HIT and considering other conceptual problems, we conclude that HIT is not an alternative to the traditional identity theory so (...)
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  13. added 2017-05-08
    Long-Term Potentiation: One Kind or Many?Jacqueline Sullivan - 2016 - In Eppur Si Muove: Doing History and Philosophy of Science with Peter Machamer, A Collection of Essays in Honor of Peter Machamer. Springer Verlag. pp. 127-140.
    Do neurobiologists aim to discover natural kinds? I address this question in this chapter via a critical analysis of classification practices operative across the 43-year history of research on long-term potentiation (LTP). I argue that this 43-year history supports the idea that the structure of scientific practice surrounding LTP research has remained an obstacle to the discovery of natural kinds.
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  14. added 2017-03-19
    Alexander Forbes, Walter Cannon, and Science-Based Literature.Justin Garson - 2013 - In A. Stiles, S. Finger & F. Boller (eds.), Progress in Brain Research Vol. 205: Literature, Neurology, and Neuroscience: Historical and Literary Connections. Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 241-256.
    The Harvard physiologists Alexander Forbes (1882-1965) and Walter Bradford Cannon (1871-1945) had an enormous impact on the physiology and neuroscience of the twentieth century. In addition to their voluminous scientific output, they also used literature to reflect on the nature of science itself and its social significance. Forbes wrote a novel, The Radio Gunner, a literary memoir, Quest for a Northern Air Route, and several short stories. Cannon, in addition to several books of popular science, wrote a literary memoir in (...)
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  15. added 2017-02-08
    The Birth of Information in the Brain: Edgar Adrian and the Vacuum Tube.Justin Garson - 2015 - Science in Context 28 (1):31-52.
    As historian Henning Schmidgen notes, the scientific study of the nervous system would have been “unthinkable” without the industrialization of communication in the 1830s. Historians have investigated extensively the way nerve physiologists have borrowed concepts and tools from the field of communications, particularly regarding the nineteenth-century work of figures like Helmholtz and in the American Cold War Era. The following focuses specifically on the interwar research of the Cambridge physiologist Edgar Douglas Adrian, and on the technology that led to his (...)
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  16. added 2016-12-08
    Materialism and ‘the Soft Substance of the Brain’: Diderot and Plasticity.Charles T. Wolfe - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (5):963-982.
    ABSTRACTMaterialism is the view that everything that is real is material or is the product of material processes. It tends to take either a ‘cosmological’ form, as a claim about the ultimate nature of the world, or a more specific ‘psychological’ form, detailing how mental processes are brain processes. I focus on the second, psychological or cerebral form of materialism. In the mid-to-late eighteenth century, the French materialist philosopher Denis Diderot was one of the first to notice that any self-respecting (...)
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  17. added 2016-12-08
    Action Propre and Action Commune: The Localization of Cerebral Function.Judith P. Swazey - 1970 - Journal of the History of Biology 3 (2):213-234.
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  18. added 2016-09-12
    Robert L. Martensen. The Brain Takes Shape: An Early History. Xxvii + 247 Pp., Index. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. [REVIEW]Charles T. Wolfe - 2009 - Isis 100 (3):659-659.
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  19. added 2016-03-25
    Review of Michel Jouvet, the Paradox of Sleep: The Story of Dreaming; and Patricia Cox Miller, Dreams in Late Antiquity. [REVIEW]John Sutton - 2001 - Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 10:355-358.
    This review describes central difficulties in the interdisciplinary study of dreaming, summarizes Jouvet's account of his role in the history of modern dream science, queries his positive speculations on the semantics of dreaming, and suggests work for historians of neuroscience.
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  20. added 2016-03-17
    M. Du Bois-Reymond Goes To Paris.Gabriel Finkelstein - 2003 - British Journal for the History of Science 36 (3):261-300.
    This article examines the science of electrophysiology developed by Emil du Bois-Reymond in Berlin in the 1840s. In it I recount his major findings, the most significant being his proof of the electrical nature of nerve signals. Du Bois-Reymond also went on to detect this same ‘negative variation’, or action current, in live human subjects. In 1850 he travelled to Paris to defend this startling claim. The essay concludes with a discussion of why his demonstration failed to convince his hosts (...)
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  21. added 2016-03-11
    Models, Mechanisms, and Coherence.Matteo Colombo, Stephan Hartmann & Robert van Iersel - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):181-212.
    Life-science phenomena are often explained by specifying the mechanisms that bring them about. The new mechanistic philosophers have done much to substantiate this claim and to provide us with a better understanding of what mechanisms are and how they explain. Although there is disagreement among current mechanists on various issues, they share a common core position and a seeming commitment to some form of scientific realism. But is such a commitment necessary? Is it the best way to go about mechanistic (...)
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  22. added 2016-03-11
    Deep and Beautiful. The Reward Prediction Error Hypothesis of Dopamine.Matteo Colombo - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):57-67.
    According to the reward-prediction error hypothesis of dopamine, the phasic activity of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain signals a discrepancy between the predicted and currently experienced reward of a particular event. It can be claimed that this hypothesis is deep, elegant and beautiful, representing one of the largest successes of computational neuroscience. This paper examines this claim, making two contributions to existing literature. First, it draws a comprehensive historical account of the main steps that led to the formulation and subsequent (...)
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  23. added 2016-01-27
    EST - Enciclopedia della Scienza e della Tecnica.Ludovico Geymonat (ed.) - 1970 - Mondadori.
  24. added 2016-01-01
    The Birth of the Neuromolecular Gaze.Joelle M. Abi-Rached & Nikolas Rose - 2010 - History of the Human Sciences 23 (1):11-36.
    The aim of this article is (1) to investigate the ‘neurosciences’ as an object of study for historical and genealogical approaches and (2) to characterize what we identify as a particular ‘style of thought’ that consolidated with the birth of this new thought community and that we term the ‘neuromolecular gaze’. This article argues that while there is a long history of research on the brain, the neurosciences formed in the 1960s, in a socio-historical context characterized by political change, faith (...)
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  25. added 2015-11-10
    Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 2012 - In Allen W. Wood & Songsuk Susan Hahn (eds.), Cambridge History of Philosophy in the 19th Century (1790-1870). Cambridge University Press. pp. 241-262.
    The quantitative experimental scientific psychology that became prominent by the turn of the twentieth century grew from three main areas of intellectual inquiry. First and most directly, it arose out of the traditional psychology of the philosophy curriculum, as expressed in theories of mind and cognition. Second, it adopted the attitudes of the new natural philosophy of the scientific revolution, attitudes of empirically driven causal analysis and exact observation and experimentation. Third, it drew upon investigations of the senses. Natural philosophical (...)
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  26. added 2015-11-03
    Activity and Passivity in Theories of Perception: Descartes to Kant.Gary Hatfield - 2014 - In José Filipe Silva & Mikko Yrjönsuuri (eds.), Active Perception in the History of Philosophy: From Plato to Modern Philosophy. Springer. pp. 275–89.
    In the early modern period, many authors held that sensation or sensory reception is in some way passive and that perception is in some way active. The notion of a more passive and a more active aspect of perception is already present in Aristotle: the senses receive forms without matter more or less passively, but the “primary sense” also recognizes the salience of present objects. Ibn al-Haytham distinguished “pure sensation” from other aspects of sense perception, achieved by “discernment, inference and (...)
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  27. added 2015-11-02
    Das hören des Cochlea Implantats.Robert Stock & Beate Ochsner - 2014 - Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 22 (3):408-424.
    The contribution analyses (self-)descriptions of hearing experiences articulated by cochlear implant (CI) users through internet blogs. These auto-medial testimonies (Dünne/Moser) are understood as elements of an individuation process that reciprocally produces the CI-user as well as the CI itself. The analysis therefore focuses on those acoustic effects that are established by the CI, its first activation and the further mapping or adaptation processes as well as early CI-hearing experiences and subsequent listening exercises. It can thus be shown how the cultural (...)
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  28. added 2015-11-02
    Cartesian Psychology of Antoine Le Grand.Gary Hatfield - 2014 - In Mihnea Dobre & Tammy Nyden (eds.), Cartesian Empiricisms. Springer. pp. 251-274.
    In the Aristotelian curriculum, De anima or the study of the soul fell under the rubric of physics. This area of study covered the vital (“vegetative”), sensitive, and rational powers of the soul. Descartes’ substance dualism restricted reason or intellect, and conscious sensation, to human minds. Having denied mind to nonhuman animals, Descartes was required to explain all animal behavior using material mechanisms possessing only the properties of size, shape, position, and motion. Within the framework of certainty provided by the (...)
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  29. added 2015-11-02
    Foundations of Modern Neurology: A Century of Progress.Robert B. Aird & Ernst Florey - 1995 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 17 (3):503.
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  30. added 2015-11-01
    The Passions of the Soul and Descartes’s Machine Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):1-35.
    Descartes developed an elaborate theory of animal physiology that he used to explain functionally organized, situationally adapted behavior in both human and nonhuman animals. Although he restricted true mentality to the human soul, I argue that he developed a purely mechanistic (or material) ‘psychology’ of sensory, motor, and low-level cognitive functions. In effect, he sought to mechanize the offices of the Aristotelian sensitive soul. He described the basic mechanisms in the Treatise on man, which he summarized in the Discourse. However, (...)
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  31. added 2015-10-27
    Descartes' Physiology and its Relation to His Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 1992 - In John Cottingham (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 335--370.
    Descartes understood the subject matter of physics (or natural philosophy) to encompass the whole of nature, including living things. It therefore comprised not only nonvital phenomena, including those we would now denominate as physical, chemical, minerological, magnetic, and atmospheric; it also extended to the world of plants and animals, including the human animal (with the exception of those aspects of the human mind that Descartes assigned to solely to thinking substance: pure intellect and will). Descartes wrote extensively on physiology and (...)
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  32. added 2015-10-25
    Natural Geometry in Descartes and Kepler.Gary Hatfield - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (1):117-148.
    According to Kepler and Descartes, the geometry of the triangle formed by the two eyes when focused on a single point affords perception of the distance to that point. Kepler characterized the processes involved as associative learning. Descartes described the processes as a “ natural geometry.” Many interpreters have Descartes holding that perceivers calculate the distance to the focal point using angle-side-angle, calculations that are reduced to unnoticed mental habits in adult vision. This article offers a purely psychophysiological interpretation of (...)
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  33. added 2015-08-27
    Eine fulminante Lehnstuhlkritik der Neurowissenschaften.Geert Keil - 2005 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 53 (6):951-955.
    Review of Max Bennett's and Peter Hacker's book PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NEUROSCIENCE, Oxford University Press 2003.
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  34. added 2015-08-26
    Eine fulminante Lehnstuhlkritik der Neurowissenschaften. Uber: Max R. Bennett/Peter M. S. Hacker: Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. [REVIEW]G. Keil - 2005 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie:951.