Crosscutting psycho-neural taxonomies: the case of episodic memory

Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):191-208 (2017)
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I will begin by proposing a taxonomy of taxonomic positions regarding the mind–brain: localism, globalism, revisionism, and contextualism, and will go on to focus on the last position. Although some versions of contextualism have been defended by various researchers, they largely limit themselves to a version of neural contextualism: different brain regions perform different functions in different neural contexts. I will defend what I call “environmental-etiological contextualism,” according to which the psychological functions carried out by various neural regions can only be identified and individuated against an environmental context or with reference to a causal history. While this idea may seem innocuous enough, it has important implications for a structure-to-function mapping in the mind and brain sciences. It entails that the same neural structures can subserve different psychological functions in different contexts, leading to crosscutting psycho-neural mappings. I will try to illustrate how this can occur with reference to recent research on episodic memory.
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2017.1312501
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Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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