The topics of this seminar are scientific discovery and explanation. What reasoning strategies can be used to guide discovery? What is it to be an adequate scientific explanation? Readings include classic papers and recent work in each topic. For discovery: N. R. Hanson (retroduction) and a forthcoming book on discovering biological mechanisms: For explanation: Carl Hempel (law based), Wesley Salmon & James Woodward (causal), Michael Friedman & Philip Kitcher (unificationist), and Carl Craver & William Bechtel (mechanistic). Query: what is the status of "mental mechanisms"? How are they discovered? What and how do they explain?
This seminar is appropriate for graduate students in philosophy and in the biological and cognitive sciences interested in mechanisms.
By the first day, students should have read the MDC paper (available from the library's Research Port) and perused some of its citations in Google Scholar:
Machamer, Peter, Lindley Darden, and Carl F. Craver (2000), "Thinking About Mechanisms," Philosophy of Science 67: 1-25.
Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden, In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences (University of Chicago Press, fall 2013, manuscript to be supplied).
Craver, Carl F. (2007), Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press.
Paperback ISBN 9780199568222 (ordered at campus bookstore)
Bechtel, William (2008), Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on Cognitive Neuroscience. New York: Routledge.