Reductionism and the neuron doctrine: A metaphysical fix of gold & Stoljar's trivial–radical distinction

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):835-836 (1999)
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Abstract

The trivial neuron doctrine (TND) holds that psychology merely depends on neurobiology. The radical neuron doctrine (RND) goes further and claims that psychology is superfluous in that neuroscience can “replace it.” Popular among RND notions of “replacement” is “reduction,” and in our commentary we challenge Gold & Stoljar (G&S) to make clear their distinction between merely depends on (TND) and is reducible to (RND). G&S give us a TND–RND distinction that is a distinction without a difference; a defensible TND–RND distinction must have a metaphysical basis. We suggest a denial of compositionalism as such a basis.

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