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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 (2007)

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  1. Causation at Different Levels: Tracking the Commitments of Mechanistic Explanations.Peter Fazekas & Gergely Kertész - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):365-383.
    This paper tracks the commitments of mechanistic explanations focusing on the relation between activities at different levels. It is pointed out that the mechanistic approach is inherently committed to identifying causal connections at higher levels with causal connections at lower levels. For the mechanistic approach to succeed a mechanism as a whole must do the very same thing what its parts organised in a particular way do. The mechanistic approach must also utilise bridge principles connecting different causal terms of different (...)
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  • A Framework for Inter-Level Explanations: Outlines for a New Explanatory Pluralism.Raoul Gervais - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:1-9.
  • Transactive Memory Systems: A Mechanistic Analysis of Emergent Group Memory.Georg Theiner - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (1):65-89.
    Wegner, Giuliano, and Hertel (1985) defined the notion of a transactive memory system (TMS) as a group level memory system that “involves the operation of the memory systems of the individuals and the processes of communication that occur within the group (p. 191). Those processes are the collaborative procedures (“transactions”) by which groups encode, store, and retrieve information that is distributed among their members. Over the past 25+ years, the conception of a TMS has progressively garnered an increased interest among (...)
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  • Time is of the Essence: Explanatory Pluralism and Accommodating Theories About Long-Term Processes.Robert N. McCauley - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):611-635.
    Unified, all-purpose, philosophical models of reduction in science lack resources for capturing varieties of cross-scientific relations that have proven critical to understanding some scientific achievements. Not only do those models obscure the distinction between successional and cross-scientific relations, their preoccupations with the structures of both theories and things provide no means for accommodating the contributions to various sciences of theories and research about long-term diachronic processes involving large-scale, distributed systems. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is the parade case. (...)
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  • Intentional Models as Essential Scientific Tools.Eric Hochstein - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):199-217.
    In this article, I argue that the use of scientific models that attribute intentional content to complex systems bears a striking similarity to the way in which statistical descriptions are used. To demonstrate this, I compare and contrast an intentional model with a statistical model, and argue that key similarities between the two give us compelling reasons to consider both as a type of phenomenological model. I then demonstrate how intentional descriptions play an important role in scientific methodology as a (...)
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  • Neural Models That Convince: Model Hierarchies and Other Strategies to Bridge the Gap Between Behavior and the Brain.Martijn Meeter, Janneke Jehee & Jaap Murre - 2007 - Philosophical Psychology 20 (6):749 – 772.
    Computational modeling of the brain holds great promise as a bridge from brain to behavior. To fulfill this promise, however, it is not enough for models to be 'biologically plausible': models must be structurally accurate. Here, we analyze what this entails for so-called psychobiological models, models that address behavior as well as brain function in some detail. Structural accuracy may be supported by (1) a model's a priori plausibility, which comes from a reliance on evidence-based assumptions, (2) fitting existing data, (...)
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  • Giving Up on Convergence and Autonomy: Why the Theories of Psychology and Neuroscience Are Codependent as Well as Irreconcilable.Eric Hochstein - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A:1-19.
    There is a long-standing debate in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of science regarding how best to interpret the relationship between neuroscience and psychology. It has traditionally been argued that either the two domains will evolve and change over time until they converge on a single unified account of human behaviour, or else that they will continue to work in isolation given that they identify properties and states that exist autonomously from one another (due to the multiple-realizability of psychological (...)
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  • Function and Organization: Comparing the Mechanisms of Protein Synthesis and Natural Selection.Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):279-291.
    In this paper, we compare the mechanisms of protein synthesis and natural selection. We identify three core elements of mechanistic explanation: functional individuation, hierarchical nestedness or decomposition, and organization. These are now well understood elements of mechanistic explanation in fields such as protein synthesis, and widely accepted in the mechanisms literature. But Skipper and Millstein have argued that natural selection is neither decomposable nor organized. This would mean that much of the current mechanisms literature does not apply to the mechanism (...)
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  • Reductionist Challenges to Explanatory Pluralism: Comment on McCauley.Markus I. Eronen - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):637-646.
    In this comment, I first point out some problems in McCauley's defense of the traditional conception of general analytical levels. Then I present certain reductionist arguments against explanatory pluralism that are not based on the New Wave model of intertheoretic reduction, against which McCauley is arguing. Reductionists that are not committed to this model might not have problems incorporating research on long-term diachronic processes in their analyses. In the last part of the paper, I briefly compare Robert N. McCauley's conception (...)
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  • Plausibility Versus Richness in Mechanistic Models.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (1):139-152.
    In this paper we argue that in recent literature on mechanistic explanations, authors tend to conflate two distinct features that mechanistic models can have or fail to have: plausibility and richness. By plausibility, we mean the probability that a model is correct in the assertions it makes regarding the parts and operations of the mechanism, i.e., that the model is correct as a description of the actual mechanism. By richness, we mean the amount of detail the model gives about the (...)
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  • The Case for Multiple Realization in Biology.Wei Fang - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):3.
    Polger and Shapiro argue that their official recipe, a criterion for judging when the phenomenon of multiple realization exists, renders MR less widespread than its proponents have assumed. I argue that, although Polger and Shapiro’s criterion is a useful contribution, they arrive at their conclusion too hastily. Contrary to Polger and Shapiro, I claim that the phenomenon of multiple realization in the biological world, judged by their criterion, is not as scarce as they suggest. To show this, an updated official (...)
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  • Mechanisms, Determination and the Metaphysics of Neuroscience.Patrice Soom - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (3):655-664.
  • Mechanisms, Determination and the Metaphysics of Neuroscience.Patrice Soom - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (3):655-664.
    In this paper, I evaluate recently defended mechanistic accounts of the unity of neuroscience from a metaphysical point of view. Considering the mechanistic framework in general , I argue that explanations of this kind are essentially reductive . The reductive character of mechanistic explanations provides a sufficiency criterion, according to which the mechanism underlying a certain phenomenon is sufficient for the latter. Thus, the concept of supervenience can be used in order to describe the relation between mechanisms and phenomena . (...)
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  • Hylomorphism and the Metaphysics of Structure.William Jaworski - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (2):179-201.
    Hylomorphism claims that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle; it accounts for what things are and what they can do. My goal is to articulate a metaphysic of hylomorphic structure different from those currently on offer. It is based on a substance-attribute ontology that takes properties to be powers and tropes. Hylomorphic structures emerge, on this account, as powers to configure the materials that compose individuals.
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