The role of supervenience and constitution in neuroscientific research

Synthese 191 (5):1-19 (2014)

Abstract
This paper is concerned with the notions of supervenience and mechanistic constitution as they have been discussed in the philosophy of neuroscience. Since both notions essentially involve specific dependence and determination relations among properties and sets of properties, the question arises whether the notions are systematically connected and how they connect to science. In a first step, some definitions of supervenience and mechanistic constitution are presented and tested for logical independence. Afterwards, certain assumptions fundamental to neuroscientific inquiry are made explicit in order to show that the presented definitions of supervenience are virtually uninteresting for theory construction in this field. In a third step, a new formulation of supervenience is developed that makes explicit reference to the notion of constitution and that bridges the gap between the philosophical concepts and explanatory practice in neuroscience
Keywords Supervenience  Mechanistic constitution  Constitutive explanation  Neuroscientific methodology  Determination  Dependence
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Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1007/s11229-013-0308-y
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Regularity Theory of Mechanistic Constitution and a Methodology for Constitutive Inference.Jens Harbecke - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:10-19.
Constitutive Relevance in Interlevel Experiments.Maria Serban & Sune Holm - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Two Challenges for a Boolean Approach to Constitutive Inference.Jens Harbecke - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):17.

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