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Constitutive relevance and interlevel experiments

Serban, Maria and Holm, Sune (2018) Constitutive relevance and interlevel experiments. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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Abstract

One reason for the popularity of Craver's mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance (MM) is that it seems to make good sense of the experimental practices and constitutive reasoning in the life sciences. Two recent papers (Baumgartner and Gebharter [2016]; Baumgartner and Casini [2017]) propose a theoretical alternative to (MM) in light of several important conceptual objections. Their alternative approach, the No De-Coupling (NDC) account conceives of constitution as a dependence relation which, once postulated, provides the best explanation of the impossibility of breaking the common cause coupling of a macro-level mechanism and its micro-level components. This entails an abductive view of constitutive inference. Proponents of the NDC or abductive account recognize that their discussion leaves open a big question concerning the practical dimension of the notion of constitutive relevance: Is it possible to faithfully reconstruct constitutional reasoning in science in terms of a failure to de-couple, via interlevel experiments, phenomena from their mechanistic constituents? Focusing on the field of memory and LTP research, this paper argues that the abductive account provides a more adequate description of interlevel experiments in neuroscience. We also suggest that the account highlights some significant practical recommendations of how to interpret the findings of interlevel experiments.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Serban, Mariamariaserban.org@gmail.com
Holm, Sunesuneh@hum.ku.dk
Keywords: experiments; mechanism; constitution; interventionism; abductive inference
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Experimentation
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Dr. Maria Serban
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2018 04:12
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2018 04:12
Item ID: 14586
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Publisher: OUP
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Experimentation
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14586

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