The Brain’s Heterogeneous Functional Landscape

Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1010-1022 (2015)
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Multifunctionality poses significant challenges for human brain mapping. Cathy Price and Karl Friston argue that brain regions perform many functions in one sense and a single function in another. Thus, neuroscientists must revise their “cognitive ontologies” to obtain systematic mappings. Colin Klein draws a different lesson from these findings: neuroscientists should abandon systematic mappings for context-sensitive ones. I claim that neither account succeeds as a general treatment of multifunctionality. I argue that brain areas, like genes or organs, are multifunctional in different ways. I call this the “functional heterogeneity hypothesis.” I contend that different multifunctional parts require different mapping strategies



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Joseph McCaffrey
University of Pittsburgh

References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Can cognitive processes be inferred from neuroimaging data?Russell A. Poldrack - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (2):59-63.
Role functions, mechanisms, and hierarchy.Carl F. Craver - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
Discovering Complexity.William Bechtel, Robert C. Richardson & Scott A. Kleiner - 1996 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 18 (3):363-382.

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