Croatian Journal of Philosophy 13 (2):251-275 (2013)

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Philipp Haueis
Bielefeld University
Abstract
The problem of fuzzy boundaries when delineating cortical areas is widely known in human brain mapping and its adjacent subdisciplines . Yet, a conceptual framework for understanding indeterminacy in neuroscience is missing, and there has been no discussion in the philosophy of neuroscience whether indeterminacy poses an issue for good neuroscientific explanations. My paper addresses both these issues by applying philosophical theories of vagueness to three levels of neuroscientific research, namely to cytoarchitectonic studies at the neuron level intra-areal neuronalinteraction measured by the BOLD-signal of functional magnetic resonance imaging and inter-areal connectivity between different cortical areas. The rest of the paper explores how this framework can be extended to mechanistic explanations in neuroscience. I discuss a semantic and an ontic interpretation of vagueness in mechanistic explanations and argue how both become scientifically interesting from the perspective of a philosophy of scientific practice
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DOI croatjphil201313226
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