Authors
Carl F. Craver
Washington University in St. Louis
Abstract
Philosophers of neuroscience have traditionally described interfield integration using reduction models. Such models describe formal inferential relations between theories at different levels. I argue against reduction and for a mechanistic model of interfield integration. According to the mechanistic model, different fields integrate their research by adding constraints on a multilevel description of a mechanism. Mechanistic integration may occur at a given level or in the effort to build a theory that oscillates among several levels. I develop this alternative model using a putative exemplar of reduction in contemporary neuroscience: the relationship between the psychological phenomena of learning and memory and the electrophysiological phenomenon known as Long-Term Potentiation. A new look at this historical episode reveals the relative virtues of the mechanistic model over reduction as an account of interfield integration
Keywords Neuroscience   Reduction   Mechanism   Philosophy of Science
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2005.03.008
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis.Paul Oppenheim & Hilary Putnam - 1958 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2:3-36.
A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity.Warren S. McCulloch & Walter Pitts - 1943 - The Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 5 (4):115-133.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):152-163.
Systems Biology and the Integration of Mechanistic Explanation and Mathematical Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.
Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception.Cory Wright - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.

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