Explaining the Brain / Edition 1

Explaining the Brain / Edition 1

4.0 1
by Carl F. Craver
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199299315

ISBN-13: 9780199299317

Pub. Date: 08/02/2007

Publisher: Oxford University Press


What distinguishes good explanations in neuroscience from bad? Carl F. Craver constructs and defends standards for evaluating neuroscientific explanations that are grounded in a systematic view of what neuroscientific explanations are: descriptions of multilevel mechanisms. In developing this approach, he draws on a wide range of examples in the history of…  See more details below

Overview


What distinguishes good explanations in neuroscience from bad? Carl F. Craver constructs and defends standards for evaluating neuroscientific explanations that are grounded in a systematic view of what neuroscientific explanations are: descriptions of multilevel mechanisms. In developing this approach, he draws on a wide range of examples in the history of neuroscience (e.g. Hodgkin and Huxleys model of the action potential and LTP as a putative explanation for different kinds of memory), as well as recent philosophical work on the nature of scientific explanation. Readers in neuroscience, psychology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science will find much to provoke and stimulate them in this book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199299317
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
08/02/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1. Introduction: Starting With Neuroscience
1. Introduction
2. Explanations in Neuroscience Describe Mechanisms.
3. Explanations in Neuroscience are Multilevel
4. Explanations in Neuroscience Integrate Multiple Fields
5. Criteria of Adequacy for an Account of Explanation
Chapter 2. Explanation and Causal Relevance
1. Introduction
2. How Calcium Explains Neurotransmitter Release
3. Explanation and Representation
4. The Covering-Law Model
5. The Unification Model
6. But What About the Hodgkin and Huxley Model?
7. Conclusion
Chapter 3. Causal Relevance and Manipulation
1. Introduction
2. The Mechanism of Long-Term Potentiation
3. Causation as Transmission
3.1. Transmission and Causal Relevance
3.2. Omission and Prevention
4. Causation and Mechanical Connection
5. Manipulation and Causation
5.1. Ideal Interventions
5.2. Invariance, Fragility, and Contingency
5.3. Manipulation and Criteria for Explanation
5.4. Manipulation, Omission, and Prevention
6. Conclusion
Chapter 4. The Norms of Mechanistic Explanation
1. Introduction
2. Two Normative Distinctions
3. Explaining the Action Potential
4. The Explanandum Phenomenon
5. Components
6. Activities
7. Organization
8. Constitutive Relevance
8.1. Relevance and the Boundaries of Mechanisms
8.2. Interlevel Experiments and Constitutive Relevance
8.21. Interference Experiments
8.22. Stimulation Experiments
8.23. Activation Experiments
8.3. Constitutive Relevance as Mutual Manipulability
9. Conclusion
Chapter 5. A Field-Guide to Levels
1. Introduction
2. Levels of Spatial Memory
3. A Field-Guide to Levels
3.1. Levels of Science (Units and Products)
3.2. Levels of Nature
3.21. Causal Levels (Processing and Control)
3.22. Levels of Size
3.23. Levels of Composition
3.231. Levels of Mereology
3.232. Levels of Aggregativity
3.233. Levels of Mere Material/Spatial Containment
3.3. Levels of Mechanisms
4. Conclusion
Chapter 6 Nonfundamental Explanation
1. Introduction
2. Causal Relevance and Making a Difference
3. Contrasts and Switch-Points
4. Causal Powers at Higher Levels of Mechanisms
5. Causal Relevance among Realized Properties
6. Conclusion
Chapter 7. The Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience
1. Introduction
2. Reduction and the History of Neuroscience
2.1. LTP's Origins: Not a Top-Down Search but Intralevel Integration
2.2. The Mechanistic Shift
2.3. Mechanism as a Working Hypothesis
3. Intralevel Integration and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience
3.1. The Space of Possible Mechanisms
3.2. Specific Constraints on the Space of Possible
Mechanisms
3.21. Componency Constraints
3.22. Spatial Constraints
3.23. Temporal Constraints
3.24. Active Constraints
3.3. Reduction and the Intralevel Integration of Fields
4. Interlevel Integration and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience
4.1. What is Interlevel Integration?
4.2. Constraints on Interlevel Integration
4.21. Accommodative Constraints
4.22. Spatial and Temporal Interlevel Constraints
4.23. Interlevel Manipulability Constraints
4.3. Mosaic Interlevel Integration
5. Conclusion: The Epistemic Function of the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience

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Explaining the Brain 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've been disappointed by the depth of analysis regarding 1) what mechanisms are, 2) how they are used to provide scientific explanations, provided by the 'New Mechanists' (such as Bechtel, Darden, Glennan etc.) then you will enjoy this book. It is more substantive than other accounts of biological mechanisms to date. Its greatest virtue is that it comes to terms with the fact that a philosophical account of biological mechanisms will be most interesting if it provides some normative standard by which to evaluate putative explanations. In general, Craver's account leans *heavily* on the Woodward/Pearl model of causal explanation. The most interesting discussion in my view comes in chapter 4, where Craver tried to provide an account of when a part should be considered a 'component' of a mechanism. The book engages with Cummins, Salmon, Kitcher, Kim, Woodward, and others. I would suspect that it will be of primary interest to philosophers of science, and less so to neuroscientists.