Course ObjectiveStudents will acquire knowledge of and insight in central debates in
philosophy of science relevant to neuroscience.
Course ContentThe course focuses on two central topics in neurophilosophy: 1)
mechanistic explanation and 2) causal explanation.
1) There is a growing consensus in philosophy that neuroscientists
provide mechanistic explanations. Basically, the idea is that
neuroscientists explain by appealing to entities and events at a lower
level of organization—parts and operations in the brain- whose
orchestrated functioning results in the phenomenon of interest. But what
exactly is a mechanism? What do we mean when we talk about 'levels'? Are
mechanistic explanations reductionistic?
2) Neuroscientists often conclude that what we do or think is 'caused'
by the brain. But how do we establish causal relations between brain
processes on the one hand, and behavior and cognition on the other? Do
cognitive processes also have a causal impact on our brain and behavior?
Is that even possible?
Teaching MethodsLectures, in-class discussions, student presentations.
Method of AssessmentWritten exam (60%), writing assignment (20%), oral presentation (20%).
Guidelines and assessment criteria for papers will be distributed in
LiteratureReadings will be announced and/or made available via Canvas.
Target AudienceStudents enrolled in the Master Philosophy 2yr, track Philosophy of
Neuroscience. Open to other MA students as well (send me an email before
the start of the course).
Additional InformationThis course is part of the Master Philosophy 2yr, track Philosophy of
|Language of Tuition||English|
|Faculty||Faculty of Humanities|
|Course Coordinator||dr. ing. L.C. de Bruin|
|Examiner||dr. ing. L.C. de Bruin|
dr. ing. L.C. de Bruin
You need to register for this course yourself
Last-minute registration is available for this course.
|Teaching Methods||Seminar, Lecture|
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