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Daniel Burnston [10]Daniel C. Burnston [9]
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Daniel Burnston
Tulane University
  1.  33
    Contents, Vehicles, and Complex Data Analysis in Neuroscience.Daniel Burnston - forthcoming - Synthese.
    The notion of representation in neuroscience has largely been predicated on localizing the components of computational processes that explain cognitive function. On this view, which I call “algorithmic homuncularism,” individual, spatially and temporally distinct parts of the brain serve as vehicles for distinct contents, and the causal relationships between them implement the transformations specified by an algorithm. This view has a widespread influence in philosophy and cognitive neuroscience, and has recently been ably articulated and defended by Shea (2018). Still, I (...)
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  2.  28
    Evolving Concepts of 'Hierarchy' in Systems Neuroscience.Philipp Haueis & Daniel Burnston - 2021 - In Fabrizio Calzavarini & Marco Viola (eds.), Neural Mechanisms: New Challenges in the Philosophy of Neuroscience.
    The notion of “hierarchy” is one of the most commonly posited organizational principles in systems neuroscience. To this date, however, it has received little philosophical analysis. This is unfortunate, because the general concept of hierarchy ranges over two approaches with distinct empirical commitments, and whose conceptual relations remain unclear. We call the first approach the “representational hierarchy” view, which posits that an anatomical hierarchy of feed-forward, feed-back, and lateral connections underlies a signal processing hierarchy of input-output relations. Because the representational (...)
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  3. Cognitive Penetration and the Cognition–Perception Interface.Daniel Burnston - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3645-3668.
    I argue that discussions of cognitive penetration have been insufficiently clear about what distinguishes perception and cognition, and what kind of relationship between the two is supposed to be at stake in the debate. A strong reading, which is compatible with many characterizations of penetration, posits a highly specific and directed influence on perception. According to this view, which I call the “internal effect view” a cognitive state penetrates a perceptual process if the presence of the cognitive state causes a (...)
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  4.  45
    A Contextualist Approach to Functional Localization in the Brain.Daniel Burnston - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):527-550.
    Functional localization has historically been one of the primary goals of neuroscience. There is still debate, however, about whether it is possible, and if so what kind of theories succeed at localization. I argue for a contextualist approach to localization. Most theorists assume that widespread contextual variability in function is fundamentally incompatible with functional decomposition in the brain, because contextualist accounts will fail to be generalizable and projectable. I argue that this assumption is misplaced. A properly articulated contextualism can ground (...)
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  5. Why We May Not Find Intentions in the Brain.Sebo Uithol, Daniel C. Burnston & Pim Haselager - 2014 - Neuropsychologia 56 (5):129-139.
    Intentions are commonly conceived of as discrete mental states that are the direct cause of actions. In the last several decades, neuroscientists have taken up the project of finding the neural implementation of intentions, and a number of areas have been posited as implementing these states. We argue, however, that the processes underlying action initiation and control are considerably more dynamic and context sensitive than the concept of intention can allow for. Therefore, adopting the notion of ‘intention’ in neuroscientific explanations (...)
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  6.  35
    Interface Problems in the Explanation of Action.Daniel C. Burnston - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):242-258.
    When doing mental ontology, we must ask how to individuate distinct categories of mental states, and then, given that individuation, ask how states from distinct categories interact. One promising proposal for how to individuate cognitive from sensorimotor states is in terms of their representational form. On these views, cognitive representations are propositional in structure, while sensorimotor representations have an internal structure that maps to the perceptual and kinematic dimensions involved in an action context. This way of thinking has resulted in (...)
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  7.  67
    Why Do Biologists Use so Many Diagrams?Benjamin Sheredos, Daniel Burnston, Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):931-944.
    Diagrams have distinctive characteristics that make them an effective medium for communicating research findings, but they are even more impressive as tools for scientific reasoning. Focusing on circadian rhythm research in biology to explore these roles, we examine diagrammatic formats that have been devised to identify and illuminate circadian phenomena and to develop and modify mechanistic explanations of these phenomena.
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  8.  19
    Data Graphs and Mechanistic Explanation.Daniel C. Burnston - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:1-12.
    It is a widespread assumption in philosophy of science that data is what is explained by theory—that data itself is not explanatory. I draw on instances of representational and explanatory practice from mammalian chronobiology to suggest that this assumption is unsustainable. In many instances, biologists employ representations of data in explanatory ways that are not reducible to constraints on or evidence for representations of mechanisms. Data graphs are used to exemplify relationships between quantities in the mechanism, and often these representations (...)
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  9. Perceptual Integration, Modularity, and Cognitive Penetration.Daniel C. Burnston & Jonathan Cohen - 2015 - In A. Raftopoulos & J. Zeimbekis (eds.), Cognitive Influences on Perception: Implications for Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Action. Oxford University Press.
  10.  37
    Scientists’ Use of Diagrams in Developing Mechanistic Explanations: A Case Study From Chronobiology.Daniel C. Burnston, Benjamin Sheredos, Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel - 2014 - Pragmatics and Cognition 22 (2):224-243.
    We explore the crucial role of diagrams in scientific reasoning, especially reasoning directed at developing mechanistic explanations of biological phenomena. We offer a case study focusing on one research project that resulted in a published paper advancing a new understanding of the mechanism by which the central circadian oscillator in Synechococcus elongatus controls gene expression. By examining how the diagrams prepared for the paper developed over the course of multiple drafts, we show how the process of generating a new explanation (...)
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  11.  36
    Computational Neuroscience and Localized Neural Function.Daniel Burnston - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3741-3762.
    In this paper I criticize a view of functional localization in neuroscience, which I call “computational absolutism”. “Absolutism” in general is the view that each part of the brain should be given a single, univocal function ascription. Traditional varieties of absolutism posit that each part of the brain processes a particular type of information and/or performs a specific task. These function attributions are currently beset by physiological evidence which seems to suggest that brain areas are multifunctional—that they process distinct information (...)
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  12.  14
    Anti-Intellectualism for the Learning and Employment of Skill.Daniel C. Burnston - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-20.
    I draw on empirical results from perceptual and motor learning to argue for an anti-intellectualist position on skill. Anti-intellectualists claim that skill or know-how is non-propositional. Recent proponents of the view have stressed the flexible but fine-grained nature of skilled control as supporting their position. However, they have left the nature of the mental representations underlying such control undertheorized. This leaves open several possible strategies for the intellectualist, particularly with regard to skill learning. Propositional knowledge may structure the inputs to (...)
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  13.  26
    Getting Over Atomism: Functional Decomposition in Complex Neural Systems.Daniel C. Burnston - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Functional decomposition is an important goal in the life sciences, and is central to mechanistic explanation and explanatory reduction. A growing literature in philosophy of science, however, has challenged decomposition-based notions of explanation. ‘Holists’ posit that complex systems exhibit context-sensitivity, dynamic interaction, and network dependence, and that these properties undermine decomposition. They then infer from the failure of decomposition to the failure of mechanistic explanation and reduction. I argue that complexity, so construed, is only incompatible with one notion of decomposition, (...)
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  14. Perception of Features and Perception of Objects.Daniel Burnston & Jonathan Cohen - 2012 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):283-314.
    There is a long and distinguished tradition in philosophy and psychology according to which the mind’s fundamental, foundational connection to the world is made by connecting perceptually to features of objects. On this picture, which we’ll call feature prioritarianism, minds like ours first make contact with the colors, shapes, and sizes of distal items, and then, only on the basis of the representations so obtained, build up representations of the objects that bear these features. The feature priority view maintains, then, (...)
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  15.  19
    Real Patterns in Biological Explanation.Daniel Burnston - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):879-891.
    In discussion of mechanisms, philosophers often debate about whether quantitative descriptions of generalizations or qualitative descriptions of operations are explanatorily fundamental. I argue that these debates have erred by conflating the explanatory roles of generalizations and patterns. Patterns are types of variations within or between quantities in a mechanism over time or across conditions. While these patterns must often be represented in addition to descriptions of operations in order to explain a phenomenon, they are not equivalent to generalizations because their (...)
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  16.  8
    Fodor on Imagistic Mental Representations.Daniel C. Burnston - 2020 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 11 (1):71-94.
    : Fodor’s view of the mind is thoroughly computational. This means that the basic kind of mental entity is a “discursive” mental representation and operations over this kind of mental representation have broad architectural scope, extending out to the edges of perception and the motor system. However, in multiple epochs of his work, Fodor attempted to define a functional role for non-discursive, imagistic representation. I describe and critique his two considered proposals. The first view says that images play a particular (...)
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  17.  24
    Review of Angela Potochnik’s Idealization and the Aims of Science. [REVIEW]Daniel C. Burnston - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):577-583.
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  18.  16
    Correction To: Cognitive Penetration and the Cognition–Perception Interface.Daniel Burnston - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3459-3459.
    On page 3653, there is a mistake in the explanation of the Cornsweet illusion. In fact, the explanation is that the panel perceived as darker is facing towards the light source—in the case of this figure the light is coming from the right.
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  19.  65
    Naturalism and Scientific Creativity: New Tools for Analyzing Science: Joke Meheus and Thomas Nickles : Models of Discovery and Creativity. Dordrecht: Springer, 2009, X+249pp, €99, 95 HB. [REVIEW]Daniel Burnston - 2012 - Metascience 21 (1):115-118.
    Naturalism and scientific creativity: new tools for analyzing science Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9513-1 Authors Daniel Burnston, Department of Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science Program, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive # 0119, La Jolla, CA 92093-0119, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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