Explaining the Brain / Edition 1

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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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"There have been pockets of activity, I would say, but few systematic accounts that explore the field of neuroscience as a whole. Carl Craver's book Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience represents this new direction, and an excellent addition to a burgeoning field it is.... Explaining the Brain is timely, well-written, and meticulously argued.... I highly recommend this text to anyone with any interest in how theories in neuroscience are constructed.... As one of the first in-depth treatments of theory-construction in neuroscience, Craver's book sets the bar high. It will be difficult indeed to surpass this work in the near future."-Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Overall, Explaining the Brain is a complete read of thoughtful revelations on the inner workings of neuroscience intermixed with a few temperate insinuations on how its complex and ostensibly unsystematic workings may be unified. In summary, Craver's text is a read which is intense and...undeniably enlightening."--Metpsychology Online Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199568222
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/17/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 817,708
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl F. Craver is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction: Starting With Neuroscience
2. Explanation and Causal Relevance
3. Causal Relevance and Manipulation
4. The Norms of Mechanistic Explanation
5. A Field-Guide to Levels
6. Nonfundamental Explanation
7. The Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    Most substantive treatment of biological mechanisms to date

    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.

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