Sciences that concern animal or human behavior cannot be replaced by cell biology or biochemistry because the neural cell type accepts top down causation from the organism as a whole. Observations from the neurosciences show that the neuron and the network of neurons accept top down causation from persistent patterns of connectivity and activity in the brain. This contention is justified by a comparison between the planned connectivity of computing machines, where the connections and activity cannot be changed by experience, and the neural cell type that also functions as connectivity, but connectivity that can change with experience. The features that neurons exhibit in this comparison are exactly the features that escape the constraints of planned engineering, features that depend upon the integration of the neuron and the network of neurons with other cell types, organs, and the organism as a whole.
The accepted neural doctrine asserts that the neural cell type plays the central role in brain activity. Reporting and training in the neurosciences portray the neuron as the exclusive functional unit of the brain. This neural dogma is a barrier to interdisciplinary understanding of animal and human behavior, because the role of other cell types, the brain as a whole, and the organism as a whole tend to be dismissed as support, nutrition, input, and output. The neural dogma is motivated by the functionalist concept of mind in philosophy, a concept that is shared with reductionist psychological theories, a dysfunctional relation between disciplines. Skepticism about the irreducibility of behavioral sciences asserts that top down causation on the human nervous system is an illusion, but that is an assertion that is not justified by the neurosciences.
|Commitee:||Lucash, Frank, Von Bartheld, Christopher, Wessinger, Christopher|
|School:||University of Nevada, Reno|
|School Location:||United States -- Nevada|
|Source:||MAI 47/03M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Neurosciences, Psychobiology, Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Computational brain, Emergence, Integrative neuroscience, Neural computation, Neuroglia, Reductionist neuroscience|
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