The multiplicity of experimental protocols: A challenge to reductionist and non-reductionist models of the unity of neuroscience

Synthese 167 (3):511-539 (2009)
Abstract
Descriptive accounts of the nature of explanation in neuroscience and the global goals of such explanation have recently proliferated in the philosophy of neuroscience and with them new understandings of the experimental practices of neuroscientists have emerged. In this paper, I consider two models of such practices; one that takes them to be reductive; another that takes them to be integrative. I investigate those areas of the neuroscience of learning and memory from which the examples used to substantiate these models are culled, and argue that the multiplicity of experimental protocols used in these research areas presents specific challenges for both models. In my view, these challenges have been overlooked largely because philosophers have hitherto failed to pay sufficient attention to fundamental features of experimental practice. I demonstrate that when we do pay attention to such features, evidence for reduction and integrative unity in neuroscience is simply not borne out. I end by suggesting some new directions for the philosophy of neuroscience that pertain to taking a closer look at the nature of neuroscientific experiments.
Keywords Explanation  Experimentation  Mechanism  Reliability  Validity  Multiplicity  Experimental Paradigm  Experimental Protocol
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-008-9389-4
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,530
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Epistemology and Cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Harvard University Press.

View all 33 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Reductionism in Biology.Ingo Brigandt & Alan Love - 2008 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Localization and Intrinsic Function.Charles Rathkopf - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (1):1-21.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
127 ( #40,561 of 2,210,880 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #71,785 of 2,210,880 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature