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  1.  61
    Mechanistic Constitution in Neurobiological Explanations.Jens Harbecke - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):267-285.
    This paper discusses the constitution relation within the framework of the mechanistic approach to neurobiological explanation. It develops a regularity theory of constitution as an alternative to the manipulationist theory of constitution advocated by some of the proponents of the mechanistic approach. After the main problems of the manipulationist account of constitution have been reviewed, the regularity account is developed based on the notion of a minimal type relevance theory. A minimal type relevance theory expresses a minimally necessary condition of (...)
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  2.  35
    Regularity Constitution and the Location of Mechanistic Levels.Jens Harbecke - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (3):323-338.
    This paper discusses the role of levels and level-bound theoretical terms in neurobiological explanations under the presupposition of a regularity theory of constitution. After presenting the definitions for the constitution relation and the notion of a mechanistic level in the sense of the regularity theory, the paper develops a set of inference rules that allow to determine whether two mechanisms referred to by one or more accepted explanations belong to the same level, or to different levels. The rules are characterized (...)
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  3.  79
    The Role of Supervenience and Constitution in Neuroscientific Research.Jens Harbecke - 2014 - Synthese 191 (5):1-19.
    This paper is concerned with the notions of supervenience and mechanistic constitution as they have been discussed in the philosophy of neuroscience. Since both notions essentially involve specific dependence and determination relations among properties and sets of properties, the question arises whether the notions are systematically connected and how they connect to science. In a first step, some definitions of supervenience and mechanistic constitution are presented and tested for logical independence. Afterwards, certain assumptions fundamental to neuroscientific inquiry are made explicit (...)
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  4.  20
    The Regularity Theory of Mechanistic Constitution and a Methodology for Constitutive Inference.Jens Harbecke - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:10-19.
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  5. Counterfactual Causation and Mental Causation.Jens Harbecke - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):363-385.
    Counterfactual conditionals have been appealed to in various ways to show how the mind can be causally efficacious. However, it has often been overestimated what the truth of certain counterfactuals actually indicates about causation. The paper first identifies four approaches that seem to commit precisely this mistake. The arguments discussed involve erroneous assumptions about the connection of counterfactual dependence and genuine causation, as well as a disregard of the requisite evaluation conditions of counterfactuals. In a second step, the paper uses (...)
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  6.  17
    The role of the environment in computational explanations.Jens Harbecke & Oron Shagrir - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):1-19.
    The mechanistic view of computation contends that computational explanations are mechanistic explanations. Mechanists, however, disagree about the precise role that the environment – or the so-called “contextual level” – plays for computational explanations. We advance here two claims: Contextual factors essentially determine the computational identity of a computing system ; this means that specifying the “intrinsic” mechanism is not sufficient to fix the computational identity of the system. It is not necessary to specify the causal-mechanistic interaction between the system and (...)
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  7.  52
    Horizontal and Vertical Determination of Mental and Neural States.Jens Harbecke & Harald Atmanspacher - 2012 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 32 (3):161-179.
    Mental and neural states are related to one another by vertical interlevel relations and by horizontal intralevel relations. For particular choices of such relations, problems arise if causal efficacy is ascribed to mental states. In a series of influential papers and books, Kim has presented his much discussed “supervenience argument,” which ultimately amounts to the dilemma that mental states either are causally inefficacious or they hold the threat of overdetermining neural states. Forced by this disjunction, Kim votes in favor of (...)
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  8.  4
    The role of the environment in computational explanations.Jens Harbecke & Oron Shagrir - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):1-19.
    The mechanistic view of computation contends that computational explanations are mechanistic explanations. Mechanists, however, disagree about the precise role that the environment – or the so-called “contextual level” – plays for computational explanations. We advance here two claims: Contextual factors essentially determine the computational identity of a computing system ; this means that specifying the “intrinsic” mechanism is not sufficient to fix the computational identity of the system. It is not necessary to specify the causal-mechanistic interaction between the system and (...)
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  9.  18
    On the Distinction Between Cause-Cause Exclusion and Cause-Supervenience Exclusion.Jens Harbecke - 2013 - Philosophical Papers 42 (2):209-238.
    This paper is concerned with the connection between the causal exclusion argument and the supervenience argument and, in particular, with two exclusion principles that figure prominently in these arguments. Our aim is, first, to reconstruct the dialectics of the two arguments by formalizing them and by relating them to an anti-physicalist argument by Scott Sturgeon. In a second step, we assess the conclusiveness of the two arguments. We demonstrate that the conclusion of both the causal exclusion argument and the supervenience (...)
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  10.  2
    The role of the environment in computational explanations.Jens Harbecke & Oron Shagrir - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):1-19.
    The mechanistic view of computation contends that computational explanations are mechanistic explanations. Mechanists, however, disagree about the precise role that the environment – or the so-called “contextual level” – plays for computational explanations. We advance here two claims: Contextual factors essentially determine the computational identity of a computing system ; this means that specifying the “intrinsic” mechanism is not sufficient to fix the computational identity of the system. It is not necessary to specify the causal-mechanistic interaction between the system and (...)
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  11.  78
    Mind in a Humean World.Jens Harbecke - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):213-229.
  12.  32
    The Problem of Mental Causation Formalized.Jens Harbecke - 2010 - Mind and Matter 8 (1):63-91.
    By formalizing the problem of mental causation, we first prove rigorously that the premises of the problem are jointly incompatible. Before the background of the formalizations, we clarify and assess the anti-physicalist argument by Scott Sturgeon and the supervenience argument by Jaegwon Kim. We demonstrate that, contrary to what has sometimes been contended, the negation of the non-identity premise of Kim's version of the supervenience argument is not tantamount to the claim that all mental events are identical to physical events, (...)
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  13. On the Distinction Between Law Schemata and Causal Laws.Jens Harbecke - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (4):423-434.
    The paper argues against the widely accepted assumption that the causal laws of (completed) physics, in contrast to those of the special sciences, are essentially strict. This claim played an important role already in debates about the anomalousness of the mental, and it currently experiences a renaissance in various discussions about mental causation, projectability of special science laws, and the nature of physical laws. By illustrating the distinction with some paradigmatic physical laws, the paper demonstrates that only law schemata are (...)
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  14.  36
    Mental Causation and the New Compatibilism.Jens Harbecke - 2013 - Abstracta 7 (1).
    Twenty years ago Stephen Yablo developed his original theory of mental causation, which has drawn much attention ever since. By providing a detailed reconstruction of Yablo’s approach, this paper first demonstrates that a certain line of critique that has repeatedly been brought forward against Yablo over the last two decades misconstrues the core idea of the model. At the same time, the reconstruction reveals that Yablo’s approach is probably the first explicit version of the “new compatibilism” within the philosophy of (...)
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  15.  16
    A Realist Approach to Biological Events.Jens Harbecke - 2005 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27 (3/4):491 - 507.
    In this paper, I aim to show that the multiple realisability and the causal efficacy of biological events can best be explained by construing biological events as determinables of more determinate physical events. The determination relation itself is spelled out in terms of inclusive essence. In order to secure actual causation for biological events (in contrast to causal influence), two conditions are introduced such that for some events, biological events qualify as their cause. Finally, certain consequences of the presented theory (...)
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  16.  9
    Philosophy of Science: Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities.Antonio Piccolomini D’Aragona, Martin Carrier, Roger Deulofeu, Axel Gelfert, Jens Harbecke, Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Lara Huber, Peter Hucklenbroich, Ludger Jansen, Elizaveta Kostrova, Keizo Matsubara, Anne Sophie Meincke, Andrea Reichenberger, Kian Salimkhani & Javier Suárez (eds.) - 2018 - Springer Verlag.
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  17.  2
    Constitutive Inference and the Problem of a Complete Variation of Factors.Jens Harbecke - 2018 - In Antonio Piccolomini D’Aragona, Martin Carrier, Roger Deulofeu, Axel Gelfert, Jens Harbecke, Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Lara Huber, Peter Hucklenbroich, Ludger Jansen, Elizaveta Kostrova, Keizo Matsubara, Anne Sophie Meincke, Andrea Reichenberger, Kian Salimkhani & Javier Suárez (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities. Springer Verlag. pp. 205-221.
    This paper aims to solve a potential problem for the methodology of constitutive inference offered by Harbecke. The methodology is ultimately based on Mill’s “method of difference”, which requires a complete variation of factors in a given frame. In constitutive contexts, such a complete variation is often impossible. The offered solution utilizes the notion of a “mechanism slice”. In a first step, an example of a currently accepted explanation in neuroscience is reconstructed, which serves as a reference point of the (...)
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  18.  8
    Counterfactual Theories of Causation and the Problem of Large Causes.Jens Harbecke - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
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  19.  16
    Two Challenges for a Boolean Approach to Constitutive Inference.Jens Harbecke - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):17.
    This paper discusses two challenges for a Boolean method for establishing constitutive regularity statements which, according to the regularity theory of mechanistic constitution, form the core of any mechanistic explanation in neuroscience. After presenting the regularity definition for the constitution relation and a methodology for constitutive inference, the paper discusses the problem of full variation of tested mechanistic factors and the problem of informational redundancy. A solution is offered for each problem. The first requires some adjustments to the original theory (...)
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  20. Two Challenges for a Boolean Approach to Constitutive Inference.Jens Harbecke - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-20.
    This paper discusses two challenges for a Boolean method for establishing constitutive regularity statements which, according to the regularity theory of mechanistic constitution, form the core of any mechanistic explanation in neuroscience. After presenting the regularity definition for the constitution relation and a methodology for constitutive inference, the paper discusses the problem of full variation of tested mechanistic factors and the problem of informational redundancy. A solution is offered for each problem. The first requires some adjustments to the original theory (...)
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  21.  5
    The methodological role of mechanistic-computational models in cognitive science.Jens Harbecke - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    This paper discusses the relevance of models for cognitive science that integrate mechanistic and computational aspects. Its main hypothesis is that a model of a cognitive system is satisfactory and explanatory to the extent that it bridges phenomena at multiple mechanistic levels, such that at least several of these mechanistic levels are shown to implement computational processes. The relevant parts of the computation must be mapped onto distinguishable entities and activities of the mechanism. The ideal is contrasted with two other (...)
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