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Indeterminism in Neurobiology: Some Good and Some Bad News

Weber, Marcel (2004) Indeterminism in Neurobiology: Some Good and Some Bad News. In: [2004] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 19th Biennial Meeting - PSA2004: Contributed Papers (Austin, TX; 2004) > PSA 2004 Contributed Papers. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    I examine some philosophical arguments as well as current empirical research in molecular neurobiology in order to throw some new light on the question of whether neurological processes are deterministic or indeterministic. I begin by showing that the idea of an autonomous biological indeterminism violates the principle of the supervenience of biological properties on physical properties. If supervenience is accepted, quantum mechanics is the only hope for the neuro-indeterminist. But this would require that indeterministic quantum-mechanical effects play a role in the functioning of the nervous system. I examine several candidates of molecular processes where this could, in theory, be the case. It turns out that there is good news from recent work on ion channels. Unfortunately (for the indeterminist), this good news is neutralised at once by bad news.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
    Conferences and Volumes: [2004] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 19th Biennial Meeting - PSA2004: Contributed Papers (Austin, TX; 2004) > PSA 2004 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Marcel Weber
    Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2004
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:13
    Item ID: 2072
    Public Domain: No
    Conference Date: 17-20 November 2004
    Conference Location: Austin
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2072

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