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  1. Synthetic Biology and the Search for Alternative Genetic Systems: Taking How-Possibly Models Seriously.Koskinen Rami - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (3):493-506.
    Many scientific models in biology are how-possibly models. These models depict things as they could be, but do not necessarily capture actual states of affairs in the biological world. In contemporary philosophy of science, it is customary to treat how-possibly models as second-rate theoretical tools. Although possibly important in the early stages of theorizing, they do not constitute the main aim of modelling, namely, to discover the actual mechanism responsible for the phenomenon under study. In the paper it is argued (...)
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  • Multiple Realization, Levels and Mechanisms.Sergio Daniel Barberis - 2017 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 36 (2):53-68.
    This paper focuses on the framework for the compositional relations of properties in the sciences, or "realization relations", offered by Ken Aizawa and Carl Gillett (A&G) in a series of papers, and in particular on the analysis of "multiple realizations" they build upon it. I argue that A&G's analysis of multiple realization requires an account of levels and I try to show, then, that the A&G framework is not successful under any of the extant accounts of levels. There is consequently (...)
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  • Models and Mechanisms in Psychological Explanation.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):313-338.
    Mechanistic explanation has an impressive track record of advancing our understanding of complex, hierarchically organized physical systems, particularly biological and neural systems. But not every complex system can be understood mechanistically. Psychological capacities are often understood by providing cognitive models of the systems that underlie them. I argue that these models, while superficially similar to mechanistic models, in fact have a substantially more complex relation to the real underlying system. They are typically constructed using a range of techniques for abstracting (...)
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  • The Theoretical Indispensability of Concepts.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):228 - 229.
    Machery denies the traditional view that concepts are constituents of thoughts, and he more provocatively argues that concepts should be eliminated from our best psychological taxonomy. I argue that the constituency view has much to recommend it (and is presupposed by much of his own theory), and that the evidence gives us grounds for pluralism, rather than eliminativism, about concepts.
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  • Fish and Microchips: On Fish Pain and Multiple Realization.Matthias Michel - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2411-2428.
    Opponents to consciousness in fish argue that fish do not feel pain because they do not have a neocortex, which is a necessary condition for feeling pain. A common counter-argument appeals to the multiple realizability of pain: while a neocortex might be necessary for feeling pain in humans, pain might be realized differently in fish. This paper argues, first, that it is impossible to find a criterion allowing us to demarcate between plausible and implausible cases of multiple realization of pain (...)
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  • Can The Mental Be Causally Efficacious?Panu Raatikainen - 2013 - In K. Talmont-Kaminski M. Milkowski (ed.), Regarding the Mind, Naturally: Naturalist Approaches to the Sciences of the Mental. Cambridge Scholars Press.
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  • Neural Correlates Without Reduction: The Case of the Critical Period.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - forthcoming - Synthese:1-13.
    Researchers in the cognitive sciences often seek neural correlates of psychological constructs. In this paper, I argue that even when these correlates are discovered, they do not always lead to reductive outcomes. To this end, I examine the psychological construct of a critical period and briefly describe research identifying its neural correlates. Although the critical period is correlated with certain neural mechanisms, this does not imply that there is a reductionist relationship between this psychological construct and its neural correlates. Instead, (...)
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  • Crosscutting Psycho-Neural Taxonomies: The Case of Episodic Memory.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):191-208.
    I will begin by proposing a taxonomy of taxonomic positions regarding the mind–brain: localism, globalism, revisionism, and contextualism, and will go on to focus on the last position. Although some versions of contextualism have been defended by various researchers, they largely limit themselves to a version of neural contextualism: different brain regions perform different functions in different neural contexts. I will defend what I call “environmental-etiological contextualism,” according to which the psychological functions carried out by various neural regions can only (...)
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  • Functional Analyses, Mechanistic Explanations, and Explanatory Tradeoffs.Sergio Daniel Barberis - 2013 - Journal of Cognitive Science 14:229-251.
    Recently, Piccinini and Craver have stated three theses concerning the relations between functional analysis and mechanistic explanation in cognitive sciences: No Distinctness: functional analysis and mechanistic explanation are explanations of the same kind; Integration: functional analysis is a kind of mechanistic explanation; and Subordination: functional analyses are unsatisfactory sketches of mechanisms. In this paper, I argue, first, that functional analysis and mechanistic explanations are sub-kinds of explanation by scientific (idealized) models. From that point of view, we must take into account (...)
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  • Empiricism Without Magic: Transformational Abstraction in Deep Convolutional Neural Networks.Cameron Buckner - 2018 - Synthese (12):1-34.
    In artificial intelligence, recent research has demonstrated the remarkable potential of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (DCNNs), which seem to exceed state-of-the-art performance in new domains weekly, especially on the sorts of very difficult perceptual discrimination tasks that skeptics thought would remain beyond the reach of artificial intelligence. However, it has proven difficult to explain why DCNNs perform so well. In philosophy of mind, empiricists have long suggested that complex cognition is based on information derived from sensory experience, often appealing to (...)
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  • The Special Science Dilemma and How Culture Solves It.Marion Godman - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):1-18.
    I argue that there is a tension between the claim that at least some kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the claim that the reason why kinds are prized by science is that they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension ceases in the case of ‘cultural homologues’—such as specific ideologies, religions, and folk wisdom. I argue that the instances of such special science kinds do have several projectable properties in (...)
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  • Functional Kinds: A Skeptical Look.Cameron Buckner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3915-3942.
    The functionalist approach to kinds has suffered recently due to its association with law-based approaches to induction and explanation. Philosophers of science increasingly view nomological approaches as inappropriate for the special sciences like psychology and biology, which has led to a surge of interest in approaches to natural kinds that are more obviously compatible with mechanistic and model-based methods, especially homeostatic property cluster theory. But can the functionalist approach to kinds be weaned off its dependency on laws? Dan Weiskopf has (...)
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  • Multiple Realizability, Constraints, and Identity.Mark Bauer - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):446-464.
    Shapiro has suggested that the empirical plausibility of the multiple realizability of human-like minds is dubious, because a contrary thesis, the Mental Constraint Thesis, enjoys positive empirical evidence. The Mental Constraint Thesis states that, given the actual physical laws, there is only one way to realize a human-like mind. I will suggest, however, that the Mental Constraint Thesis is not a contrary to the empirical multiple realizability thesis relevant to psychological reduction or autonomy and, as a consequence, has no bearing (...)
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  • Minimal Models and Canonical Neural Computations: The Distinctness of Computational Explanation in Neuroscience.M. Chirimuuta - 2014 - Synthese 191 (2):127-153.
    In a recent paper, Kaplan (Synthese 183:339–373, 2011) takes up the task of extending Craver’s (Explaining the brain, 2007) mechanistic account of explanation in neuroscience to the new territory of computational neuroscience. He presents the model to mechanism mapping (3M) criterion as a condition for a model’s explanatory adequacy. This mechanistic approach is intended to replace earlier accounts which posited a level of computational analysis conceived as distinct and autonomous from underlying mechanistic details. In this paper I discuss work in (...)
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  • Making Mechanism Interesting.Alex Rosenberg - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):11-33.
    I note the multitude of ways in which, beginning with the classic paper by Machamer et al., the mechanists have qualify their methodological dicta, and limit the vulnerability of their claims by strategic vagueness regarding their application. I go on to generalize a version of the mechanist requirement on explanations due to Craver and Kaplan :601–627, 2011) in cognitive and systems neuroscience so that it applies broadly across the life sciences in accordance with the view elaborated by Craver and Darden (...)
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  • Multiple Realizability as a Design Heuristic in Biological Engineering.Rami Koskinen - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):15.
    Recently, several critics of the multiple realizability thesis have argued that philosophers have tended to accept the thesis on too weak grounds. On the one hand, the analytic challenge has problematized how philosophers have treated the multiple realization relation itself, claiming that assessment of the sameness of function and the relevant difference of realizers has been uncritical. On the other hand, it is argued that the purported evidence of the thesis is often left empirically unverified. This paper provides a novel (...)
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