The challenge of characterizing operations in the mechanisms underlying behavior

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 84:313-325 (2005)
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Abstract

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 successful, researchers had to identify a new level of operations involving operations over molecular groups. Existing attempts at mechanistic explanation of behavior are in a situation comparable to earlier approaches to physiological chemistry, drawing their inspiration either from overall psychology activities or from low-level neural processes. Successful mechanistic explanations of behavior require the discovery of the appropriate component operations. Such discovery is a daunting challenge but one on which success will be beneficial to both behavioral scientists and cognitive and neuroscientists

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Citations of this work

The Need for New Ontologies in Psychiatry.Robyn Bluhm - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):146-159.
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.

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Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

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