Javascript Menu by Deluxe-Menu.com
MindPapers is now part of PhilPapers: online research in philosophy, a new service with many more features.
 
 Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
 
   
click here for help on how to search

7.2d. Reduction and Interlevel Relations, Misc (Reduction and Interlevel Relations, Misc on PhilPapers)

See also:
Aizawa, Kenneth (2007). The biochemistry of memory consolidation: A model system for the philosophy of mind. Synthese 155 (1):65-98.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper argues that the biochemistry of memory consolidation provides valuable model systems for exploring the multiple realization of psychological states
Demeter, Tamás (2003). A Metaphysics for Explanatory Ecumenism. Philosophica 71:99-115.   (Google)
Atkinson, Anthony P. (1998). Systems, subsystems and persons: The explanatory scope of cognitive psychology. Acta Analytica 20 (20):43-60.   (Google)
Bayne, Timothy J. & Fernandez, Jordi (2005). Resisting ruthless reductionism: A commentary on Bickle. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (3):239-48.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Philosophy and Neuroscience is an unabashed apologetic for reductionism in philosophy of mind. Bickle chides his fellow philosophers for their ignorance of mainstream neuroscience, and promises them that a subscription to Cell, Neuron, or any other journal in mainstream neuroscience will be amply rewarded. Rather than being bogged down in the intricacies of two-dimensional semantics or the ontology of properties, philosophers of mind need to get neuroscientifically informed and ruthlessly reductive
Bechtel, William P. (1983). A bridge between cognitive science and neuroscience: The functional architecture of mind. Philosophical Studies 44 (November):319-30.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Bechtel, William P. (2001). Cognitive neuroscienec: Relating neural mechanisms and cognition. In Peter K. Machamer, Peter McLaughlin & Rick Grush (eds.), Theory and Method in the Neurosciences. University of Pittsburgh Press.   (Google)
Bechtel, William P. & Mundale, Jennifer (1996). Integrating neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology through a teleological conception of function. Minds And Machines 6 (4):481-505.   (Google)
Abstract: The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psyychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which make critical use of distinctly teleological functional considerations in brain cartography. Only by invoking teleological criteria can researchers distinguish the fruitful ways of identifying brain components from the myriad of possible ways. One likely reason for reluctance to turn to neuroscience is fear of reduction, but we argue that, in the context of a teleological perspective on function, this concern is misplaced. Adducing such theoretical considerations as top-down and bottom-up constraints on neuroscientific and psychological models, as well as existing cases of productive, multidisciplinary cooperation, we argue that integration of neuroscience into psychology and evolutionary biology is likely to be mutually beneficial. We also show how it can be accommodated methodologically within the framework of an interfield theory
Bechtel, William (2007). Reducing psychology while maintaining its autonomy via mechanistic explanations. In M. Schouten & H. L. De Joong (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. Blackwell Publishing.   (Google)
Abstract: Arguments for the autonomy of psychology or other higher-level sciences have often taken the form of denying the possibility of reduction. The form of reduction most proponents and critics of the autonomy of psychology have in mind is theory reduction. Mechanistic explanations provide a different perspective. Mechanistic explanations are reductionist insofar as they appeal to lower-level entities—the component parts of a mechanism and their operations— to explain a phenomenon. However, unlike theory reductions, mechanistic explanations also recognize the fundamental role of organization in enabling mechanisms to engage their environments as units (as well as the role of yet higher-level structures in constraining such engagement). Especially when organization is non-linear, it can enable mechanisms to generate phenomena that are quite surprising given the operations of the components taken in isolation. Such organization must be discovered—it cannot simply be derived from knowledge of lower-level parts and their operations. Moreover, the organized environments in which mechanisms operate must also be discovered. It is typically the higher-level disciplines that have the tools for discovering the organization within and between mechanisms. Although these inquiries are constrained by the knowledge of the parts and operations constituting the mechanism, they make their own autonomous contribution to understanding how a mechanism actually behaves. Thus, mechanistic explanations provide a strong sense of autonomy for higher levels of organization and the inquiries addressing them even while recognizing the distinctive contributions of reductionistic research investigating the operations of the lower level components
Bentwich, Jonathan (2006). The duality principle: Irreducibility of sub-threshold psychophysical computation to neuronal brain activation. Synthese 153 (3):451-455.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A key working hypothesis in neuroscience is ‘materialistic reductionism’, i.e., the assumption whereby all physiological, behavioral or cognitive phenomena is produced by localized neurochemical brain activation (but not vice versa). However, analysis of sub-threshold Weber’s psychophysical stimulation indicates its computational irreducibility to the direct interaction between psychophysical stimulation and any neuron/s. This is because the materialistic-reductionistic working hypothesis assumes that the determination of the existence or non-existence of any psychophysical stimulation [s] may only be determined through its direct interaction [di1] with a given neuron/s [N] that together forms the ‘neural registry’ computational level [NR/di1]. But, this implies that in cases of (initial) sub-threshold (sensory-specific) psychophysical stimulation which is increased above the sensory-specific threshold but below Weber’s psychophysical ‘dv’—the psychophysical computational processing [PCP] produces an apparently ‘computationally indeterminate’ output. This is because materialistic reductionism asserts the contingency of PCP upon the existence of a direct interaction between ‘s’ and ‘N’ within the NR/di1 level, but in the special case of Weber’s sub-threshold psychophysical stimulation the same PCP/di1 also asserts the non-existence of ‘s’ (as demanded by Weber’s psychophysical law). However, given robust empirical evidence indicating the capability of PCP to determine whether (or not) ‘s’ exists, we must conclude that PCP may not be carried out from within NR’s direct interaction between a particular psychophysical stimulation and any set of neuron/s in the brain. Hence, the Duality Principle asserts the conceptual irreducibility of sub-threshold psychophysical stimulation to any direct NR/di1: s-N interaction, thereby challenging the current materialistic-reductionistic assumption
Bickle, John (2005). Molecular neuroscience to my rescue (again): Reply to looren de Jong and Schouten. Philosophical Psychology 18 (4):487-494.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In their review essay (published in this issue), Looren de Jong and Schouten take my 2003 book to task for (among other things) neglecting to keep up with the latest developments in my favorite scientific case study (memory consolidation). They claim that these developments have been guided by psychological theorizing and have replaced neurobiology's traditional 'static' view of consolidation with a 'dynamic' alternative. This shows that my 'essential but entirely heuristic' treatment of higher-level cognitive theorizing is a mistaken view of actual scientific practice. In response I contend that, on the contrary, a closer look at the memory reconsolidation following reactivation experiments and data suggests (1) a less revolutionary judgment about the proposed alternative, and (2) a now-complete reliance on ruthlessly reductive experimental methods from cellular and molecular neuroscience. These conclusions save the heuristic status I propose for higher-level investigations of behavior and brain. I close with a brief comment on their further charge that I 'sell out' philosophy of science to factual developments in science itself
Bickle, John (2001). Precis of psychoneural reduction: The new wave. Grazer Philosophische Studien 61:249-255.   (Google)
Bickle, John (2006). Reducing mind to molecular pathways: Explicating the reductionism implicit in current cellular and molecular neuroscience. Synthese 151 (3):411-434.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: 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
Bickle, John (2001). Understanding neural complexity: A role for reduction. Minds and Machines 11 (4):467-481.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Psychoneural reduction is under attack again, only this time from a former ally: cognitive neuroscience. It has become popular to think of the brain as a complex system whose theoretically important properties emerge from dynamic, non-linear interactions between its component parts. ``Emergence'' is supposed to replace reduction: the latter is thought to be incapable of explaining the brain qua complex system. Rather than engage this issue at the level of theories of reduction versus theories of emergence, I here emphasize a role that reductionism plays – and will continue to play – even if neuroscience adopts this ``complex systems'' view. In detailed investigations into the function of complex neural circuits, certain questions can only be addressed by moving down levels and scales. This role for reduction also finds a place for approaches that dominate mainstream neuroscience, like the widespread use of experimental techniques and theories from molecular biology and biochemistry. These are difficult to reconcile with the anti-reductionist sentiments of the ``complex systems'' branch of cognitive neuroscience
Bishop, John (1988). Is a unified science of the mind-brain possible? Biology and Philosophy 3 (3).   (Google | More links)
Brigandt, Ingo (forthcoming). Beyond reduction and pluralism: Toward an epistemology of explanatory integration in biology. Erkenntnis.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The paper works towards an account of explanatory integration in biology, using as a case study explanations of the evolutionary origin of novelties-a problem requiring the integration of several biological fields and approaches. In contrast to the idea that fields studying lower level phenomena are always more fundamental in explanations, I argue that the particular combination of disciplines and theoretical approaches needed to address a complex biological problem and which among them is explanatorily more fundamental varies with the problem pursued. Solving a complex problem need not require theoretical unification or the stable synthesis of different biological fields, as items of knowledge from traditional disciplines can be related solely for the purposes of a specific problem. Apart from the development of genuine interfield theories, successful integration can be effected by smaller epistemic units (concepts, methods, explanations) being linked. Unification or integration is not an aim in itself, but needed for the aim of solving a particular scientific problem, where the problem's nature determines the kind of intellectual integration required
Butler, Keith (1994). Neural constraints in cognitive science. Minds and Machines 4 (2):129-62.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   The paper is an examination of the ways and extent to which neuroscience places constraints on cognitive science. In Part I, I clarify the issue, as well as the notion of levels in cognitive inquiry. I then present and address, in Part II, two arguments designed to show that facts from neuroscience are at a level too low to constrain cognitive theory in any important sense. I argue, to the contrary, that there are several respects in which facts from neurophysiology will constrain cognitive theory. Part III then turns to an examination of Connectionism and Classical Cognitivism to determine which, if either, is in a better position to accomodate neural constraints in the ways suggested in Part II
Byrne, Alex (2000). Two radical neuron doctrines. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):833-833.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: G&S describe the radical neuron doctrine in a number of slightly different ways, and we think this hides an important distinction. On the one hand, the radical neuron doctrine is supposed to have the consequence "that a successful theory of the mind will make no reference to anything like the concepts of linguistics or the psychological sciences as we currently understand them", and so Chomskyan linguistics "is doomed from the beginning" (sect. 2.2.2, paras. 2,3).[1] (Note that `a successful theory' must be read as `any successful theory', else the inference will fail.) On the other hand, the radical neuron doctrine is said to be the claim "that emergent psychological properties can be explained by low-level neurobiological properties" (sect. 2.3, para. 3). It is clear from the context that this can be more faithfully rendered as: psychological phenomena can be explained in (solely) neurobiological terms. But this formulation of the doctrine does not have the consequence just mentioned
Campbell, Keith (1986). Can intuitive psychology survive the growth of neuroscience? Inquiry 29 (June):143-152.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Churchland, Paul M. & Churchland, Patricia S. (1994). Intertheoretic reduction: A neuroscientist's field guide. In Richard Warner & Tadeusz Szubka (eds.), The Mind-Body Problem: A Guide to the Current Debate. Cambridge: Blackwell.   (Cited by 63 | Google)
Churchland, Patricia S. (1982). Mind-brain reduction: New light from philosophy of science. Neuroscience 7:1041-7.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Churchland, Paul M. (1986). Some reductive strategies in cognitive neurobiology. Mind 95 (July):279-309.   (Cited by 49 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Clark, Austen (1980). Psychological Models and Neural Mechanisms: An Examination of Reductionism in Psychology. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 14 | Google)
Cleeremans, Axel (2006). Time, action, and consciousness. Human Movement Science.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Time plays a central role in consciousness, at different levels and in different aspects of information processing. Subliminal perception experiments demonstrate that stimuli presented too briefly to enter conscious awareness are nevertheless processed to some extent. Implicit learning, implicit memory, and conditioning studies suggest that the extent to which memory traces are available for verbal report and for cognitive control is likewise dependent on the time available for processing during acquisition. Differences in the time available for processing also determine not only the extent to which one becomes conscious of action, but also provides the basis for making attributions of authorship to experienced acts. In this paper, we offer a brief overview of these different findings and suggest that they can all be understood based on the fact that consciousness takes time. From this perspective, the availability of representations to conscious awareness depends on the quality of these representations — the extent to which they are strong, stable in time, and distinctive. High-quality representations occur when processes of global competition have had sufficient time to operate so as to make the system settle into the best possible interpretation of the input. Such processes implement global constraint satisfaction and critically depend on reentrant processing, through which representations can be further enriched by high-level constraints. We discuss these ideas in light of current theories of consciousness, emphasizing the fact that consciousness should be viewed as a process rather than as a static property associated with some states and not with others
Corry, Richard (2009). How is scientific analysis possible? In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;.   (Google)
Cornwell, John (ed.) (1995). Nature's Imagination: The Frontiers of Scientific Vision. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: "A person is not explainable in molecular, field-theoretical, or physiological terms alone." With that declaration, Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman goes straight to the heart of Nature's Imagination, a vibrant and important collection of essays by some of the world's foremost scientists. Ever since the Enlightenment, the authors write, science has pursued reductionism: the idea that the whole can be understood by examining and explaining each of its parts. But as this book shows, scientists in every discipline are reaching for a new paradigm that accounts for the whole--from the individual person to the universe itself. Nature's Imagination gathers together the work of thirteen leading mathematicians, astronomers, neuroscientists, and philosophers, as they discuss the revolution sweeping the sciences. Here Roger Penrose, Oliver Sacks, John Barrow, Gregory Chaitin, Maragret Boden, and others explore how and why classic reductionism is falling by the wayside in their own fields. As Freeman Dyson writes in the introduction, science is an art form, not a philosophical method, and it is always in search of new tools. Reductionism has done its work, and scientists are in search of another. Roger Penrose offers a fascinating account of irreducibility in mathematics, starting with the example of an impossible triangle--a drawing of a triangular object twisted so that could not exist in three dimensions. He breaks the triangle into three parts, showing that each corner is physically possible; only in combination is the triangle impossible. Both Penrose and mathematician Gregory Chaitin explore Godel's incompleteness theorem--as does John Barrow, who explains that Chaitin's proof of the theorem shows that, if we ever arrive at a Theory of Everything, there may be a still deeper and simpler unifying theory beyond that. Other contributors discuss the changing thinking in neuroscience, and the limitations of a mechanical view of the mind: as Oliver Sacks writes, "if we are to have a model or theory of mind as this actually occurs in living creatures in the world, it may have to be radically different from anything like a computational one." In addition, this volume includes staunch defenders of the classic scientific approach, such as Peter Atkins ("The omnicompetence of science, and in particular the simplicity its reductionist insight reveals, should be accepted as a working hypothesis until, if ever, it is proved inadequate"). The advance of science has been so startlingly swift in the last century that it has begun to approach limits never dreamed of before. This remarkable volume captures the latest thinking on where we must turn if we are to truly understand oursevles and the universe we live in
Craver, Carl F. (2002). Interlevel experiments and multilevel mechanisms in the neuroscience of memory. Philosophy of Science Supplemental Volume 69 (3):S83-S97.   (Cited by 17 | Google | More links)
de Jong, Huib L. (2006). Explicating pluralism: Where the mind to molecule pathway gets off the track - reply to Bickle. Synthese 151 (3):435-443.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: 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
Gold, Ian & Stoljar, Daniel (1999). A neuron doctrine in the philosophy of neuroscience. Behavioral And Brain Sciences 22 (5):809-830.   (Cited by 46 | Google | More links)
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1992). Reduction, explanatory extension, and the mind/brain sciences. Philosophy of Science 59 (3):408-28.   (Cited by 14 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Hatfield, Gary (2000). The brain's 'new' science: Psychology, neurophysiology, and constraint. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):388-404.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Kobes, Bernard W. (1991). On a model for psycho-neural coevolution. Behavior and Philosophy 19 (2):1-17.   (Google)
Lau, Joe Y. F. (1999). A more substantive neuron doctrine. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):843-844.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: (1) It is not clear from Gold and Stoljar’s definition of biological neuroscience whether it includes computational and representational concepts. If so, then their evaluation of Kandel’s theory is problematic. If not, then a more direct refutation of the radical neuron doctrine is available. (2) Objections to the psychological sciences might derive not just from the conflation of the radical and the trivial neuron doctrine. There might also be the implicit belief that for many mental phenomena, adequate theories must invoke neurophysiological concepts and cannot be purely psychological
Manier, Edward (1986). Problems in the development of cognitive neuroscience: Effective communication between scientific domains. Philosophy of Science.   (Google | More links)
McCauley, Robert N. (1986). Intertheoretic relations and the future of psychology. Philosophy of Science 53 (June):179-99.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google | More links)
McGeer, Victoria (forthcoming). Why neuroscience matters to cognitive neuropsychology. Synthese.   (Google)
Abstract: The broad issue in this paper is the relationship between cognitive psychology and neuroscience. That issue arises particularly sharply for cognitive neurospsychology, some of whose practitioners claim a methodological autonomy for their discipline. They hold that behavioural data from neuropsychological impairments are sufficient to justify assumptions about the underlying modular structure of human cognitive architecture, as well as to make inferences about its various components. But this claim to methodological autonomy can be challenged on both philosophical and empirical grounds. A priori considerations about (cognitive) multiple realisability challenge the thesis on philosophical grounds, and neuroscientific findings from developmental disorders substantiate that challenge empirically. The conclusion is that behavioural evidence alone is inadequate for scientific progress since appearances of modularity can be thoroughly deceptive, obscuring both the dynamic processes of neural development and the endstate network architecture of real cognitive systems
Mucciolo, Laurence F. (1974). The identity thesis and neuropsychology. Noûs 8 (November):327-42.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Mundale, Jennifer & Bechtel, William P. (1996). Integrating neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology through a teleological conception of function. Minds and Machines 6 (4):481-505.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which make critical use of distinctly teleological functional considerations in brain cartography. Only by invoking teleological criteria can researchers distinguish the fruitful ways of identifying brain components from the myriad of possible ways. One likely reason for reluctance to turn to neuroscience is fear of reduction, but we argue that, in the context of a teleological perspective on function, this concern is misplaced. Adducing such theoretical considerations as top-down and bottom-up constraints on neuroscientific and psychological models, as well as existing cases of productive, multidisciplinary cooperation, we argue that integration of neuroscience into psychology and evolutionary biology is likely to be mutually beneficial. We also show how it can be accommodated methodologically within the framework of an interfield theory
Ravenscroft, Ian (1998). Neuroscience and the mind. Mind and Language 13 (1):132-137.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Scheerer, E. (1994). Psychoneural isomorphism: Historical background and current relevance. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):183-210.   (Cited by 16 | Google)
Abstract: The relevance of Wolfgang K hler's psychoneural isomorphism principle to contemporary cognitive neuroscience is explored. K hler's approach to the mind—body problem is interpreted as a response to the foundational crisis of psychology at the beginning of the twentieth century. Some aspects of his isomorphism doctrine are discussed, with a view to reaching an interpretation that is both historically accurate and pertinent to issues currently debated in the philosophy of psychology. The principle was meant to be empirically verifiable. Accordingly, some similarities between K hler's approach and current neural network modeling are pointed out, and it is shown that some recent trends in the neurosciences are broadly compatible with K hler's views on cortical functioning. Isomorphism is interpreted as a form of neuroreductionism constrained by bridging laws relating mental phenomena to macrosocopic parameters of neural function. While isomorphism is probably valid for perceptual phenomena, its applicability to higher mental processes remains doubtful
Stoljar, Daniel & Gold, Ian (1998). On biological and cognitive neuroscience. Mind and Language 13 (1):110-31.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Von Eckardt, Barbara (1984). Cognitive psychology and principled skepticism. Journal of Philosophy 81 (February):67-88.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Weiss, A. P. (1919). The relation between physiological psychology and behavior psychology. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 16 (23):626-634.   (Google | More links)
Weslake, Brad (2010). Explanatory Depth. Philosophy of Science 77 (2):273-294.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I defend an account of explanatory depth according to which explanations in the non-fundamental sciences can be deeper than explanations in fundamental physics.
Yerkes, Robert M. (1910). Psychology in its relations to biology. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 7 (5):113-124.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)