HIT and brain reward function: a case of mistaken identity (theory)

Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64:28–40 (2017)
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This paper employs a case study from the history of neuroscience—brain reward function—to scrutinize the inductive argument for the so-called ‘Heuristic Identity Theory’ (HIT). The case fails to support HIT, illustrating why other case studies previously thought to provide empirical support for HIT also fold under scrutiny. After distinguishing two different ways of understanding the types of identity claims presupposed by HIT and considering other conceptual problems, we conclude that HIT is not an alternative to the traditional identity theory so much as a relabeling of previously discussed strategies for mechanistic discovery.

Author Profiles

Cory Wright
California State University, Long Beach
Alexander Beard
University of Colorado, Boulder
Matteo Colombo
Tilburg University


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