Over the past twenty odd years, North America has witnessed the complete medicalization of unhappiness by transforming it into depression, which has been conceived in psychologically reductionistic terms. Many are unhappy with this state of affairs, including the contemporary American novelists, Walker Percy, Richard Ford, and Jonathan Franzen. This paper explores why they are unhappy with this trend and why they reject psychologicalreductionism in favor of a vision of life that is more thoroughly moral in its outlook.
Dynamic systems theory (DS) provides tools for exploring how simpler elements can interact to produce complex psychological configurations. It may, as Lewis demonstrates, provide means for explicating relationships between two reductionist approaches to overlapping sets of phenomena. The result is a description of psychological phenomena at a level that begins to achieve the richness we would hope to achieve in examining psychological life as it is experienced and explored in psychoanalysis.
John Paley has rightly observed that, while spirituality is widely discussed in the nursing literature, the discussions are uncritical and unproblematic. In an effort 'to reconfigure the spirituality-in-nursing debate, and to position it where it belongs: in the literature on health psychology and social psychology, and not in a disciplinary cul-de-sac labelled "unfathomable mystery" ', Paley has proposed an alternative, reductionist approach to spirituality. In this paper, I identify two critiques developed by Paley: one political, the other 'logical'. Paley's political (...) critique claims the concept of 'spirituality' has been appropriated by nursing theorists as part of an attempt to accrue professional power and jurisdiction over occupational territory. I suggest that Paley's analysis masks his own exclusivist, secularizing jurisdictional claim made at the expense of spirituality. Paley's so-called 'logical' critique is motivated by an intention to 'determine what the "spirituality" terrain looks like from the naturalistic point of view'. However, noting a number of inconsistencies, I challenge his 'logical move' as a naïve attack on a straw man. In place of Paley's reductionism, I propose my own alternative alternative and argue (after Foucault) that 'spirituality' is a discourse, a non-reductionist attempt, in a post-religious society, to speak about the human condition open to the unknown. I conclude with a definition and a description of empirically congruent spirituality. (shrink)
Abstract The goal of this chapter is to provide an opinionated overview of the psychologically based account of personal identity and the role of agency within such an account. I describe the essential points of the psychological criterion of personal identity. Then, I discuss how the psychological criterion is related to the Reductionist View of personal identity and whether it is committed to what Derek Parfit names the Extreme Claim. I further discuss how the agency-based views of personal (...) identity can be accommodated within Derek Parfit’s psychologically based view of personal identity. I end the chapter by discussing how an agency-based view, as most notably developed by Christine Korsgaard, could be used to vindicate practical concerns that are traditionally related to personal identity. (shrink)
Psychoneural reductionists sometimes claim that sufficient amounts of lower-level explanatory achievement preclude further contributions from higher-level psychological research. Ostensibly, with nothing left to do, the effect of such preclusion on psychological explanation is extinction. Reductionist arguments for preclusion have recently involved a reorientation within the philosophical foundations of neuroscience---namely, away from the philosophical foundations and toward the neuroscience. In this chapter, I review a successful reductive explanation of an aspect of reward function in terms of dopaminergic operations of (...) the mesocorticolimbic system in order to demonstrate why preclusion/extinction claims are dubious. (shrink)
Tyler Burge has recently argued that quasi-memory-based psychological reductionist accounts of diachronic personal identity are deeply problematic. According to Burge, these accounts either fail to include appropriately de se elements or presuppose facts about diachronic personal identity—facts of the very kind that the accounts are supposed to explain. Neither of these objections is compelling. The first is based in confusion about the version of reductionism to which it putatively applies. The second loses its force when we recognize that (...)reductionism is a metaphysical thesis, not an epistemological one. (shrink)
The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a (...) substantially extended temporal existence stems from introspection—they introspectively experience their selves as being temporally extended. In this paper, I examine whether a Reductionist about personal identity can co-opt this explanation. Using Galen Strawson’s recent work on self-experience as a resource, I reach both a negative and a positive conclusion about the prospects of such a position. First, the relevant kind of self-experience—i.e., the introspective experience of one’s self as being a substantially temporally extended entity—will not automatically arise within a person stage simply in virtue of that stage being psychologically connected to/continuous with other person stages. Second, the relevant kind of self-experience will arise, however, in virtue of person stages weaving together their respective experiences, actions, etc. via a narrative. This positive conclusion points towards a new Reductionist position that focuses upon a narrative, and not mere psychological continuity, in attempting to justify the special attitudes we take towards events in our futures/pasts. (shrink)
A popular “Reductionist” account of personal identity unifies person stages into persons in virtue of their psychological continuity with one another. One objection to psychological continuity accounts is that there is more to our personal identity than just mere psychological continuity: there is also an active process of self-interpretation and self-creation. This criticism can be used to motivate a rival account of personal identity that appeals to the notion of a narrative. To the extent that they comment (...) upon the issue, proponents of narrative accounts typically reject Reductionist metaphysics that (ontologically) reduce persons to aggregates of person stages. In contrast to this trend, we seek to develop a narrative account of personal identity from within Reductionist metaphysics: we think person stages are unified into persons in virtue of their narrative continuity with one another. We argue that this Reductionist version of the narrative account avoids some serious problems facing non-Reductionist versions of the narrative account. (shrink)
Functional reductionism concerning mental properties has recently been advocated by Jaegwon Kim in order to solve the problem of the 'causal exclusion' of the mental. Adopting a reductionist strategy first proposed by David Lewis, he regards psychological properties as being 'higher-order' properties functionally defined over 'lower-order' properties, which are causally efficacious. Though functional reductionism is compatible with the multiple realizability of psychological properties, it is blocked if psychological properties are subdivided or crosscut by neurophysiological properties. (...) I argue that there is recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience that shows that this is the case for the psychological property of fear. Though this may suggest that some psychological properties should be revised in order to conform to those of neurophysiology, the history of science demonstrates that this is not always the outcome, particularly with properties that play an important role in our folk theories and are central to human concerns. (shrink)
This paper characterizes a form of materialism which is strongly anti?reductionist with regard to mental predicates. It argues against the functionalist views of writers such as Brian Loar on the basis that the counterfactual interdependencies of intentional states are governed by constraints of rationality embodied in semantic links which cannot be captured in non?intentional, functionalist terms. However, contrary to what is commonly supposed, such anti?reductionism requires neither instrumentalism about the mental nor opposition to a causal explanatory view of intentional (...) explanation. The paper therefore aims to show that a realist causal explanatory view of psychological states is compatible with a non?reductive materialism (a position excluded by Brian Loar in his recent book Mind and Meaning). (shrink)
I critically discuss both the particular doctrinal and general meta-philosophical or methodological tenets of Mark Johnston's paper "Human Beings", attending to several weaknesses in his argument. One of the most important amongst them is an apparent reliance on a substitution of identicals within an intensional context as he argues that continuity of functioning brain is essential to the persistence of "Human Beings" as allegedly singled out by his methodology; another equally important is a simple lacuna in place of an argument (...) that candidate entities for re-identification by means we take for granted in the case of persons cannot be what I call "mentalistically" individuated. (shrink)
As opposed to the dismissive attitude toward reductionism that is popular in current philosophy of mind, a “ruthless reductionism” is alive and thriving in “molecular and cellular cognition”—a field of research within cellular and molecular neuroscience, the current mainstream of the discipline. Basic experimental practices and emerging results from this field imply that two common assertions by philosophers and cognitive scientists are false: (1) that we do not know much about how the brain works, and (2) that lower-level (...) neuroscience cannot explain cognition and complex behavior directly. These experimental practices involve intervening directly with molecular components of sub-cellular and gene expression pathways in neurons and then measuring specific behaviors. These behaviors are tracked using tests that are widely accepted by experimental psychologists to study the psychological phenomenon at issue (e.g., memory, attention, and perception). Here I illustrate these practices and their importance for explanation and reduction in current mainstream neuroscience by describing recent work on social recognition memory in mammals. (shrink)
Psychological construction constitutes a different paradigm for the scientific study of emotion when compared to the current paradigm that is inspired by faculty psychology. This new paradigm is more consistent with the post-Darwinian conceptual framework in biology that includes a focus on (a) population thinking (vs. typologies), (b) domain-general core systems (vs. physical essences), and (c) constructive analysis (vs. reductionism). Three psychological construction approaches (the OCC model, the iterative reprocessing model, and the conceptual act theory) are discussed (...) with respect to these ideas. (shrink)
This article examines Derek Parfit's claim in Reasons and Persons that personal identity consists in non-branching psychological continuity with the right kind of cause. It argues that such psychological accounts of our identity fail, but that their main rivals, biological or animalist accounts do not fare better. Instead it proposes an error-theory to the effect that common sense takes us to be identical to our bodies on the erroneous assumption that our minds belong non-derivatively to them, whereas they (...) in fact belong to them derivatively in virtue of belonging to some proper parts of them, namely certain features of their brains. However, these features do not meet another necessary condition of being the subject or owner of our minds: the condition of being “accessible” so that we can attribute our mental states to them in everyday life. There is also the problem of specifying these features more precisely. Nothing meets these two conditions, so we are not identical to anything. This conclusion fits well with Parfit's claim that personal identity is not what matters. But although this negative claim is true, it is suggested that Parfit's positive account of what matters is mistaken: it is rather psychological similarity than psychological continuity/connectedness that matters. (shrink)
Unlike Aristotelian physics with its teleological notions, modern physics was developed exclusively in relation to the nonliving domain. This raised the question as to whether mechanics applies to organisms, and if so, to what extent. From the seventeenth century on, mechanistic ideas became prominent in biological and medical theory. Contemporary biology explains essential features of life on the basis of physical laws and processes. This does not prove, however, that the early mechanists were essentially right. In the eighteenth century, following (...) Cartesian notions of mind-body separation and preformation theories of organismic development, they tended to exclude major biological questions rather than answering them. It was those who insisted on the organizational features of organisms, like Stahl and Wolff, who paved the way for solutions to such crucial problems as the psychological basis of human nature and behavior and the generation of form in the course of reproduction. Though they underrated the potentials of a future, extended physics for understanding biology, their case against reductionist exclusion should not be considered outdated even today. (shrink)
According to Gold & Stoljar, one cannot consistently be both reductionist about psychoneural relations and invoke concepts developed in the psychological sciences. I deny the utility of their distinction between biological and cognitive neuroscience, suggesting that they construe biological neuroscience too rigidly and cognitive neuroscience too liberally. Then, I reject their characterization of reductionism. Reductions need not go down past neurobiology straight to physics, and cases of partial, local reduction are not neatly distinguishable from cases of mere implementation. (...) Modifying the argument from unification as reduction, I defend a position weaker than the radical but stronger than the trivial neuron doctrine. (shrink)
There are two quite distinct ways in which events that we normally think of as “physical” relate in an intimate way to events that we normally think of as “psychological”. One intimate relation occurs in exteroception at the point where events in the world become events as-perceived. The other intimate relationship occurs at the interface of conscious experience with its neural correlates in the brain. The chapter examines each of these relationships and positions them within a dual-aspect, reflexive model (...) of how consciousness relates to the brain and external world. The chapter goes on to provide grounds for viewing mind and nature as fundamentally psychophysical, and examines similar views as well as differences in previously unpublished writings of Wolfgang Pauli, one of the founders of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
This study provides data for a behavioral paradigm to resolve the free will issue in psychological terms. As predicted, college students selecting among many alternative responses consistently selected according to experimental set, environmental conditions, past experiences and other unknown factors. These explained and unexplained causal factors supplement one another and make varying relative contributions to different behaviors - the Principle of Behavioral Supplementarity. The more psychologically remote the causal factors, the greater proportion of unexplained ones relative to explained ones (...) - the Principle of Remote Antecedence. Both the causal categories can be conceptualized in the incompatible terms of reductionism or intentionality, depending upon the dissociated belief state of the observer - the Principle of Behavioral Complementarity. Ordinarily, on utilitarian grounds, behaviors with psychologically contiguous antecedents are best conceptualized in a reductionistic belief state, and behaviors with remote antecedents are best conceptualized in an intentional belief state. (shrink)
A central controversy in philosophy of psychology pits reductionists against, for lack of a better term, autonomists. The reductionist’s burden is to show that psychology is, at best, merely a heuristic device for describing phenomena that are, when speaking more precisely, just physical. I say “at best,” because reductionists are prone to less conciliatory remarks, such as: “psychological property P just is physical property N, so scientific explanation might as well focus exclusively on N,” and “psychological property P (...) is nothing other than N, so generalizations about N suffice to say all that there is to say about P,” and “knowledge of all the N facts suffices for knowledge of all the P facts.”. (shrink)
Social psychologists have been in the forefront of the development of modern theories of cigarette smoking and obesity. These theories are reductionist: they account for behavior in purely physiological terms and regard cognitive, value, personality, and social class factors as secondary or irrelevant. Yet, from their beginnings, these theories have failed to account for major aspects of the behaviors under investigation, aspects apparently related to personal intention and social background. While it may seem suprising that work by social psychologists denies (...) social and psychological reality, the theories discussed here actually reflect broader trends in social psychology, trends with rather large implications for our ideas about individual and social efforts at change. (shrink)
Reductionist research programmes in psychology, and elsewhere, are typified by a number of research strategies and methodological assumptions. The current essay isolates and examines some typical reductionist assumptions as they have been embodied in psychological research. Through a brief examination of the use of lesion studies coupled with functional deficit analyses, it is argued that localizationist approaches to the study of brain function incorporate at least four interlocking hypotheses. Two of the hypotheses are examined in detail. It is urged (...) that neither is warranted, and there is reason to think each is suspect. (shrink)
This paper assumes that the literary work of art is a "stratified system of norms", and that the description of each stratum may require a different kind of logic. One of the main problems is the meaningful integration of these descriptions. A speech sound may be described on an acoustic, a phonetic and a phonemic level; normally, its acoustic description is irrelevant to its linguistic or poetic significance. However, in certain circumstances, the acoustic description may account for the emotional quality (...) of the speech sound, may yield insight into the rhythmic structure of a poem , etc. Furthermore, pieces of poetry may be used to illustrate psychological theories about the aesthetic event; or psychological theories may be used to yield insight into the aesthetic nature of pieces of poetry. The paper focuses on the methodological issues involved in foregrounding the possible aesthetic significance of the transitions from one level of description to another. In doing this, it attempts to carefully navigate between two theoretical extremes: a reductionist view of literary theory according to which all the "special sciences " can be reduced to "more basic sciences" and, eventually, to physics; and the one formulated by Wellek and Warren as follows: "The psychology of the reader, however interesting in itself and useful for pedagogical purposes, will always remain outside the object of literary study [...] it must be unrelated either to the structure or the quality of a poem ". The middle course here proposed relies on "the principle of marginal control", that is, "the control exercised by the organizational principle of a higher level on the particulars forming its lower level" . Paraphrasing Polânyi, the principles of literature may be said to govern the boundary conditions of a cognitive system—a set of conditions that is explicitly left undetermined by the laws of lower processes — physical, cognitive, and linguistic. If one knows more about these "lower" processes, one may get a better understanding of the principles of literature that govern those boundary conditions. It is claimed that in this way Cognitive Poetics is capable of discerning and explaining significant literary phenomena which present insurmountable difficulties to other approaches. (shrink)
Reviews the book Time and psychological explanation by Brent D. Slife . In this book Prof. Slife has taken on the task of showing how the Western conception of time is a construct whose use in psychology is in need of just such a review. The object of Slife's critique is the modern Western tradition which takes time to be an objective and linear entity. This perspective, of course, derives from the work and thinking of Sir Isaac Newton, and (...) it is an orientation which has been fundamental to the development of Western science and culture since the period of the Enlightenment. Prof. Slife argues that the Newtonian time paradigm rests on five somewhat overlapping conceptual elements which are basic to traditional scientific explanation. These are the notions of "objectivity," "continuity," "linearity," "universality," and "reductionism." Some of these characteristics can be seen to be features of the way Newton envisioned time itself and some are aspects of events to be accounted for, because they exist in absolute time. In sum Prof. Slife has made a philosophically literate case for the need to analyze the limiting effects of Newtonian notions of time on psychology's theory and practice. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
_A Historical and Contemporary Look at Psychological Systems_ offers a novel approach to examining the history and current state of scientific psychology. This boldly original volume analyzes the systems of psychology in an innovative new way. The author provides interconnectedness to, as well as the distinctiveness of, the diverse theoretical approaches to psychology. The book revisits the roots of psychology and traces them to the current state of the field, both theoretically and methodologically. Readers will gain a clearer understanding (...) of the foundational differences and similarities that currently exist in psychological theories. The volume reviews four broad systems of psychology: behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, and psychodynamic. Evolutionary and neuro- psychology are considered as additional approaches that influence _all four_ psychological systems. The book opens with the historical background that led to the emergence of the four systems. It traces the concept of the soul through the periods of the ancient Greeks and Romans to the beginnings of psychology as an empirical science. Differences and similarities of the four systems are then explored with respect to eight fundamental psychological issues: consciousness, reductionism, teleology, determinism, values, spirituality, therapy, and psychological research procedures. Intended for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level courses in the history and systems of psychology, this book_ _will also appeal to researchers in this area. To facilitate the book’s use as a textbook, it features discussion questions at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
This paper inquires into the nature of intertheoretic relations between psychology and neuroscience. This relationship has been characterized by some as one in which psychological explanations eventually will fall away as otiose, overthrown completely by neurobiological ones. Against this view it will be argued that it squares poorly with scientific practices and empirical developments in the cognitive neurosciences. We analyse a case from research on visual perception, which suggests a much more subtle and complex interplay between psychology and neuroscience (...) than a complete take-over of the former by the latter. In the case of vision, cross-theory influences between psychology and neuroscience go back and forth, resulting in refinement in both disciplines. We interpret this case study as showing that: (1) Mutual co-evolution of psychological and neurobiological theories, exemplifying persisting top-down influences from psychology, is a more empirically adequate way to describe psychoneural theory relations than a view on co-evolution, favoured by reductionists, which regards the cross-theory contributions from psychology as merely heuristically useful with no enduring influence on neurobiological theorizing; (2) In research on vision, discovering (or hypothesizing) the neural basis of functions vindicates psychological approaches, it does not eliminate them; (3) Current work on vision shows that many perceptual phenomena must be understood in terms of dynamical interactions between an observer and his/her environment. Therefore, we argue that internalist characterizations of the visual system must be supplemented with externalist accounts that address these reciprocal observer-environment interactions involved in vision. Such processes seem quite different from (internal) cellular and molecular ones, and as such seem to lie outside the scope of neuroscientific inquiry. We conclude that psychoneural reduction or elimination is implausible as a meta-theoretical prediction of theory choice in empirical work. Instead, this case study of vision shows that both psychology and neuroscience contribute to, and complement one another in the study of visual perception. (shrink)
The Matter of the Mind addresses and illuminates the relationship between psychology and neuroscience by focusing on the topic of reduction. Written by leading philosophers in the field Discusses recent theorizing in the mind-brain sciences and reviews and weighs the evidence in favour of reductionism against the backdrop of recent important advances within psychology and the neurosciences Collects the latest work on central topics where neuroscience is now making inroads in traditional psychological terrain, such as adaptive behaviour, reward (...) systems, consciousness, and social cognition. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to discuss the conditions under which functional neuroimaging can contribute to the study of higher cognition. We begin by presenting two case studies—on moral and economic decision making—which will help us identify and examine one of the main ways in which neuroimaging can help advance the study of higher cognition. We agree with critics that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies seldom “refine” or “confirm” particular psychological hypotheses, or even provide details of the (...) neural implementation of cognitive functions. However, we suggest that neuroimaging can support psychology in a different way—namely, by selecting among competing hypotheses of the cognitive mechanisms underlying some mental function. One of the main ways in which neuroimaging can be used for hypothesis selection is via reverse inferences, which we here examine in detail. Despite frequent claims to the contrary, we argue that successful reverse inferences do not assume any strong or objectionable form of reductionism or functional locationism. Moreover, our discussion illustrates that reverse inferences can be successful at early stages of psychological theorizing, when models of the cognitive mechanisms are only partially developed. (shrink)
The possibility of a human head transplant poses unprecedented philosophical and neuroethical questions. Principal among them are the personal identity of the resultant individual, her metaphysical and social status: Who will she be and how should the “new” person be treated - morally, legally and socially - given that she incorporates characteristics of two distinct, previously unrelated individuals, and possess both old and new physical, psychological, and social experiences that would not have been available without the transplant? We contend (...) that this situation challenges linguistic conventions and conceptual binaries, and calls into question the major philosophical approaches to personal identity: animalism and reductionism. We examine these views critically vis-a-vis head transplantation and conclude that they fail to provide an adequate account of the identity of the resultant individual because both neglect the key role of embodiment for personal identity. We maintain that embodiment is central to personal identity and a radical alteration of the body will also radically alter that person, making her a different person. Consequently, a human head transplant will result in an individual partly continuous with the head/brain, and partly continuous with the body donor. We conclude that the resultant person would be different from both the individual whose head was transplanted and the one to whose body the “new” head is attached. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to use neuroscientific evidence to address the philosophical issue of intertheoretic reduction. In particular, we present a literature review and a new experiment to show that the reduction of cognitive psychology to neuroscience is implausible. To make this case, we look at research using object exploration, an important experimental paradigm in neuroscience, behavioral genetics and psychopharmacology. We show that a good deal of object exploration research is potentially confounded precisely because it assumes that (...) class='Hi'>psychological generalizations can be reduced to neuroscientific ones. (shrink)
In their recent book Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, Max Bennett and Peter Hacker attack neural materialism (NM), the view, roughly, that mental states (events, processes, etc.) are identical with neural states or material properties of neural states (events, processes, etc.). Specifically, in the penultimate chapter entitled “Reductionism,” they argue that NM is unintelligible, that “there is no sense to literally identifying neural states and configurations with psychological attributes.” This is a provocative claim indeed. If Bennett and Hacker are (...) right, then a sizeable number of philosophers, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, etc., subscribe to a view that is not merely false, but strictly meaningless. In this article I show that Bennett and Hacker's arguments against NM, whether construed as arguments for the meaninglessness of or the falsity of the thesis, cannot withstand scrutiny: when laid bare they are found to rest upon highly dubious assumptions that either seriously mischaracterize or underestimate the resources of the thesis. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the anti-reductionist thesis supports a case for the uselessness of intentional idioms in the interpretation of highly flexible, self-modifying agents that I refer to as “hyperplastic” agents. An agent is hyperplastic if it can make arbitrarily fine changes to any part of its functional or physical structure without compromising its agency or its capacity for hyperplasticity. Using Davidson’s anomalous monism (AM) as an exemplar of anti-reductionism, I argue that AM implies that no hyperplastic (...) could use intentional psychology to predict its future intentional states or the psychological consequences of self-alterations. This is because AM implies there would be no laws allowing the hyperplastic to infer the psychological consequences of its self-alterations. This implies that no generalisations linking current to future psychological states would hold either - these could always be defeated by a self-intervention carried out by the hyperplastic. By the same token, neither hyperplastics nor human interpreters could use intentional psychology to understand the behaviour of other hyperplastics. Radical interpretation of hyperplastic agents - if such there were - would be impossible. It follows that were humans to become hyperplastic posthumans, intentional psychology would have to be instrumentally eliminated because neither the capacity nor the linguistic idiom for attributing propositional attitudes would retain predictive or hermeneutic utility. (shrink)
It is argued that John Bickle’s Ruthless Reductionism is flawed as an account of the practice of neuroscience. Examples from genetics and linguistics suggest, first, that not every mind-brain link or gene-phenotype link qualifies as a reduction or as a complete explanation, and, second, that the higher (psychological) level of analysis is not likely to disappear as neuroscience progresses. The most plausible picture of the evolving sciences of the mind-brain seems a patchwork of multiple connections and partial explanations, (...) linking anatomy, mechanisms and functions across different domains, levels, and grain sizes. Bickle’s claim that only the molecular level provides genuine explanations, and higher level concepts are just heuristics that will soon be redundant, is thus rejected. In addition, it is argued that Bickle’s recasting of philosophy of science as metascience explicating empirical practices, ignores an essential role for philosophy in reflecting upon criteria for reduction and explanation. Many interesting and complex issues remain to be investigated for the philosophy of science, and in particular the nature of interlevel links found in empirical research requires sophisticated philosophical analysis. (shrink)
Bickle argues for both a narrow causal reductionism, and a broader ontological-explanatory reductionism. The former is more successful than the latter. I argue that the central and unsolved problem in Bickle's approach to reductionism involves the nature of psychological terms. Investigating why the broader reductionism fails indicates ways in which phenomenology remains more than a handmaiden of neuroscience.
The aim of the paper is to show that claims of supervenience of the mental upon the physical do not define substantial forms of materialism. While weak supervenience holds trivially, even strong supervenience does not justify a claim of identity, dependence or determination; it is only a relation between classifications of persons by psychological and physical properties.
The “problem” of dreaming in NREM sleep continues to challenge models that propose a causal relationship between REM mechanisms and the psychological features of dreaming. I suggest that, ultimately, efforts to identify correspondences among multiple levels of analysis will be more productive for dream theory than attempts to reduce dreaming to any one level of analysis. [Hobson et al. ; Nielsen].
Remarks on the Relations between Neurophysiology and Psychology. In the last decades of Analytical Philosophy, contributions to the so-called mind-body-problem have been suffering by several serious methodological misunderstandings: they have failed, for instance, to distinguish between explanations of particular and strictly general ("necessary") properties and between two important senses of existential statements; and they have overlooked the role conceptual explanations play in the development of science. Changing our methodological premisses, we should be able to put questions like that of the (...) relation between (neuro)physiological and psychological phenomena in a new way - and we should be able to see that such newly understood questions allow answers which evade the pitfalls of both reductionist and holistic positions. The paper tries to illustrate and to defend these contentions by reference to a very elementary example: the rational re-building of our concepts to identify behaviour by which a subject controls the position of his body in space. (shrink)
Psychological explanations of how behavior is acquired are compared between the US and pre- and post-Soviet. The comparison is drawn in terms of communist theories of 1-way and 2-way dialectical materialism. Evidence is brought to bear that physiological, necessary and sufficient interpretations , not only still exist in the former Soviet, but--for reasons other than communist theory--are on the upswing in the US. An advantage of America's more open society is that investigators are encouraged to challenge existing theories. An (...) experimental example is described in which conditioning influences underlying neurology, thereby demonstrating that the relation is not just unidirectional. While such findings are important, they do not diminish the need for psychology to maintain its own enterprise. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Defenses of realist reductionism may involve petitio principii by a tacit and inadvertent reintroduction of naïve realism through continued supposition of stimulus and sensory fields' conflation. The legitimate meaningfulness of identity statements involving scientific discoveries is examined, as are their illicit or gratuitous expressions. While experimental psychological data has a role to play in refutation of direct realism, we should not underestimate the ingenuity of its proponents' extenuations , hence the need for emphasizing the logic of perceptual processes (...) for conclusive refutation of philosophic realism. A further instance of Paul Churchland's misinterpretation of psychophysical correspondence as intertheoretic identification is given, concerning Edwin Land's retinex theory of color vision. (shrink)
One of the central problems in the philosophy of psychology is an updated version of the old mind-body problem: how levels of theories in the behavioral and brain sciences relate to one another. Many contemporary philosophers of mind believe that cognitive-psychological theories are not reducible to neurological theories. However, this antireductionism has not spawned a revival of dualism. Instead, most nonreductive physicalists prefer the idea of a one-way dependence of the mental on the physical.In Psychoneural Reduction, John Bickle presents (...) a new type of reductionism, one that is stronger than one-way dependency yet sidesteps the arguments that sank classical reductionism. Although he makes some concessions to classical antireductionism, he argues for a relationship between psychology and neurobiology that shares some of the key aims, features, and consequences of classical reductionism. Parts of Bickle's "new wave" reductionism have emerged piecemeal over the past two decades; this is his first comprehensive statement and defense of it to appear. (shrink)