Synthese 199 (5-6):12731-12751 (2021)

Mazviita Chirimuuta
University of Pittsburgh
This paper takes an integrated history and philosophy of science approach to the topic of "simplicity out of complexity". The reflex theory was a framework within early twentieth century psychology and neuroscience which aimed to decompose complex behaviours and neural responses into simple reflexes. It was controversial in its time, and did not live up to its own theoretical and empirical ambitions. Examination of this episode poses important questions about the limitations of simplifying strategies, and the relationship between simplification and the engineering approach to biology.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03351-w
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Behavior.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1963 - London, U.K.: Beacon Press.
Discovering Complexity.William Bechtel, Robert C. Richardson & Scott A. Kleiner - 1996 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 18 (3):363-382.
Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.J. B. Watson - 1913 - Philosophical Review 22:674.
The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology.J. Dewey - 1896 - Philosophical Review 5:649.
Idealization and Abstraction: Refining the Distinction.Arnon Levy - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 24):5855-5872.

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