Explanation in computational neuroscience: Causal and non-causal

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Abstract

This article examines three candidate cases of non-causal explanation in computational neuroscience. I argue that there are instances of efficient coding explanation that are strongly analogous to examples of non-causal explanation in physics and biology, as presented by Batterman ([2002]), Woodward ([2003]), and Lange ([2013]). By integrating Lange’s and Woodward’s accounts, I offer a new way to elucidate the distinction between causal and non-causal explanation, and to address concerns about the explanatory sufficiency of non-mechanistic models in neuroscience. I also use this framework to shed light on the dispute over the interpretation of dynamical models of the brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-880
JournalThe British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Volume69
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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