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  1. Integrating Computation Into the Mechanistic Hierarchy in the Cognitive and Neural Sciences.Lotem Elber-Dorozko & Oron Shagrir - 2019 - Synthese 199 (Suppl 1):43-66.
    It is generally accepted that, in the cognitive and neural sciences, there are both computational and mechanistic explanations. We ask how computational explanations can integrate into the mechanistic hierarchy. The problem stems from the fact that implementation and mechanistic relations have different forms. The implementation relation, from the states of an abstract computational system to the physical, implementing states is a homomorphism mapping relation. The mechanistic relation, however, is that of part/whole; the explaining features in a mechanistic explanation are the (...)
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  • Getting Over Atomism: Functional Decomposition in Complex Neural Systems.Daniel C. Burnston - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (3):743-772.
    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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  • The Topological Realization.Daniel Kostić - 2018 - Synthese (1).
    In this paper, I argue that the newly developed network approach in neuroscience and biology provides a basis for formulating a unique type of realization, which I call topological realization. Some of its features and its relation to one of the dominant paradigms of realization and explanation in sciences, i.e. the mechanistic one, are already being discussed in the literature. But the detailed features of topological realization, its explanatory power and its relation to another prominent view of realization, namely the (...)
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  • Discovering Brain Mechanisms Using Network Analysis and Causal Modeling.Matteo Colombo & Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):265-286.
    Mechanist philosophers have examined several strategies scientists use for discovering causal mechanisms in neuroscience. Findings about the anatomical organization of the brain play a central role in several such strategies. Little attention has been paid, however, to the use of network analysis and causal modeling techniques for mechanism discovery. In particular, mechanist philosophers have not explored whether and how these strategies incorporate information about the anatomical organization of the brain. This paper clarifies these issues in the light of the distinction (...)
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  • General Theory of Topological Explanations and Explanatory Asymmetry.Daniel Kostic - 2020 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375 (1796):1-8.
    In this paper, I present a general theory of topological explanations, and illustrate its fruitfulness by showing how it accounts for explanatory asymmetry. My argument is developed in three steps. In the first step, I show what it is for some topological property A to explain some physical or dynamical property B. Based on that, I derive three key criteria of successful topological explanations: a criterion concerning the facticity of topological explanations, i.e. what makes it true of a particular system; (...)
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  • Explaining the Behaviour of Random Ecological Networks: The Stability of the Microbiome as a Case of Integrative Pluralism.Roger Deulofeu, Javier Suárez & Alberto Pérez-Cervera - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2003-2025.
    Explaining the behaviour of ecosystems is one of the key challenges for the biological sciences. Since 2000, new-mechanicism has been the main model to account for the nature of scientific explanation in biology. The universality of the new-mechanist view in biology has been however put into question due to the existence of explanations that account for some biological phenomena in terms of their mathematical properties (mathematical explanations). Supporters of mathematical explanation have argued that the explanation of the behaviour of ecosystems (...)
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  • Minimal Structure Explanations, Scientific Understanding and Explanatory Depth.Daniel Kostić - 2018 - Perspectives on Science (1):48-67.
    In this paper, I outline a heuristic for thinking about the relation between explanation and understanding that can be used to capture various levels of “intimacy”, between them. I argue that the level of complexity in the structure of explanation is inversely proportional to the level of intimacy between explanation and understanding, i.e. the more complexity the less intimacy. I further argue that the level of complexity in the structure of explanation also affects the explanatory depth in a similar way (...)
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  • The Network Theory of Psychiatric Disorders: A Critical Assessment of the Inclusion of Environmental Factors.Nina S. de Boer, Leon C. de Bruin, Jeroen J. G. Geurts & Gerrit Glas - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    Borsboom and colleagues have recently proposed a “network theory” of psychiatric disorders that conceptualizes psychiatric disorders as relatively stable networks of causally interacting symptoms. They have also claimed that the network theory should include non-symptom variables such as environmental factors. How are environmental factors incorporated in the network theory, and what kind of explanations of psychiatric disorders can such an “extended” network theory provide? The aim of this article is to critically examine what explanatory strategies the network theory that includes (...)
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  • On the Nature of Explanations Offered by Network Science: A Perspective From and for Practicing Neuroscientists.Maxwell A. Bertolero & Danielle S. Bassett - 2020 - Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (4):1272-1293.
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  • Psychoneural Isomorphism: From Metaphysics to Robustness.Alfredo Vernazzani - 2020 - In Marco Viola & Fabrizio Calzavarini (eds.), Neural Mechanisms: New Challenges in the Philosophy of Neuroscience. Springer.
    At the beginning of the 20th century, Gestalt psychologists put forward the concept of psychoneural isomorphism, which was meant to replace Fechner’s obscure notion of psychophysical parallelism and provide a heuristics that may facilitate the search for the neural correlates of the mind. However, the concept has generated much confusion in the debate, and today its role is still unclear. In this contribution, I will attempt a little conceptual spadework in clarifying the concept of psychoneural isomorphism, focusing exclusively on conscious (...)
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  • Models and Mechanisms in Network Neuroscience.Carlos Zednik - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):23-51.
    This paper considers the way mathematical and computational models are used in network neuroscience to deliver mechanistic explanations. Two case studies are considered: Recent work on klinotaxis by Caenorhabditis elegans, and a longstanding research effort on the network basis of schizophrenia in humans. These case studies illustrate the various ways in which network, simulation and dynamical models contribute to the aim of representing and understanding network mechanisms in the brain, and thus, of delivering mechanistic explanations. After outlining this mechanistic construal (...)
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  • New Mechanistic Philosophy and the Scientific Prospects of Code Biology.Majid Davoody Beni - 2019 - Biosemiotics 12 (2):197-211.
    Marcello Barbieri has presented code biology as an alternative to the Peircean approach to biosemiotics. Some critics questioned the viability of code biology on grounds that Barbieri’s conception of science is limited. It has been argued that code biology’s mechanistic tendency is the cause of the allegedly limited conception of science. In this paper, I evaluate the scientific viability of the code model from the perspective of scientific realism in the philosophy of science. To be more precise, I draw on (...)
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