Reduction and autonomy in psychology and neuroscience: A call for pragmatism

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 39 (1):18-31 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Psychologists and neuroscientists often struggle to integrate findings in their respective domains, a problem due partly to implicitly and explicitly held philosophical positions on issues of reduction and autonomy across these domains. The present article reviews how reduction and autonomy have been used in philosophical arguments regarding how macro-scale findings relate to micro-scale findings across various scientific disciplines. The present article demonstrates how macro findings are indispensable to explanations of phenomena of interest by (a) providing information regarding higher levels of organization in mechanisms, (b) including information not contained within certain micro explanations that (c) provides more general and stable causal explanations relative to micro explanations in certain situations. The purpose of presenting these analyses and recommendations is to disabuse psychologists and neuroscientists of pervasive assumptions that psychology is reducible to biology and that lower level phenomena (molecular) should be prioritized as somehow more explanatory than higher level phenomena (behavioral). The article concludes with 3 hypothetical scenarios from clinical psychology and psychiatry illustrating this critique and providing a pragmatic approach to clarify the relative roles, and importance, of biological and psychological data in service of general and stable explanations that are tailored to the kind of intervention desired.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,907

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Autonomous Psychology: What It Should and Should Not Entail.William Bechtel - 1984 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:43-55.
Mind in Perspective: Psychology or Neuroscience?Marie-Helene Remy - 1990 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Autonomous psychology: What it should and should not entail.William P. Bechtel - 1984 - Philosophy of Science Association 1984:43 - 55.
Autonomy and multiple realization.Robert C. Richardson - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):526-536.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-03-28

Downloads
67 (#248,070)

6 months
17 (#161,246)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references