Minds and Machines 26 (3):259-285 (2016)

I propose a cautionary assessment of the recent debate concerning the impact of the dynamical approach on philosophical accounts of scientific explanation in the cognitive sciences and, particularly, the cognitive neurosciences. I criticize the dominant mechanistic philosophy of explanation, pointing out a number of its negative consequences: In particular, that it doesn’t do justice to the field’s diversity and stage of development, and that it fosters misguided interpretations of dynamical models’ contribution. In order to support these arguments, I analyze a case study in computational neuroethology and show why it should not be understood through a mechanistic lens; I specially focus on Zednik’s mechanistic interpretation of the case study. In addition, I argue for a greater appreciation of the relation between explanation and other epistemic goals in the field, as well as an increased sensitivity towards the associated contextual factors.
Keywords Explanation  Dynamical approach  Scientific models  Mechanisms  Philosophy of neuroscience
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DOI 10.1007/s11023-016-9395-0
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References found in this work BETA

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Dynamical Renaissance in Neuroscience.Luis H. Favela - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2103-2127.

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