Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Gold & Stoljar: A neuron doctrine

Neuroscience and the explanation of psychological phenomena

Antti Revonsuo a1
a1 Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Philosophy, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland


Explanatory problems in the philosophy of neuroscience are not well captured by the division between the radical and the trivial neuron doctrines. The actual problem is, instead, whether mechanistic biological explanations across different levels of description can be extended to account for psychological phenomena. According to cognitive neuroscience, some neural levels of description at least are essential for the explanation of psychological phenomena, whereas, in traditional cognitive science, psychological explanations are completely independent of the neural levels of description. The challenge for cognitive neuroscience is to discover the levels of description appropriate for the neural explanation of psychological phenomena.