Synthese 193 (2):637-657 (2016)

Authors
Guillermo Del Pinal
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Marco J. Nathan
University of Denver
Abstract
Recent advancements in the brain sciences have enabled researchers to determine, with increasing accuracy, patterns and locations of neural activation associated with various psychological functions. These techniques have revived a longstanding debate regarding the relation between the mind and the brain: while many authors claim that neuroscientific data can be employed to advance theories of higher cognition, others defend the so-called ‘autonomy’ of psychology. Settling this significant issue requires understanding the nature of the bridge laws used at the psycho-neural interface. While these laws have been the topic of extensive discussion, such debates have mostly focused on a particular type of link: reductive laws. Reductive laws are problematic: they face notorious philosophical objections and they are too scarce to substantiate current research at the intersection of psychology and neuroscience. The aim of this article is to provide a systematic analysis of a different kind of bridge laws—associative laws—which play a central, albeit overlooked role in scientific practice
Keywords Bridge laws  Reverse inference  Reductionism  Cognitive psychology  Neuroscience  Multiple realizability
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0769-2
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