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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Biological determinism and its enemies

Radosław Zyzik
Philosophy in Neuroscience, eds. Jerzy Stelmach, Bartosz Brożek, Łukasz Kurek, Copernicus Center Press 2012.

Here is an excerpt:

Little research (if any) has addressed the problem of determinism from more than one perspective at the same time. On the one hand, one can read about the neuroscience of free will and the renaissance
of determinism due to the work of neuroscientists. On the other, a new face of genetic determinism is discussed as a result of the progress made in genetics. Moreover, today we can also learn about the impact of biological factors on the development of model organisms in neurogenetics. With this in mind, we have tried to investigate how determinism is understood in neuroscience, behavioural genetics and in a new discipline which combines knowledge from many disciplines – neurogenetics.

We believe that only such a broad perspective will eventually allow an understanding of determinism in biology with all of its shortcomings. Therefore, the aim of our study is to evaluate the philosophical interpretations of neuroscientific, genetic and neurogenetic experiments that can be seen to be in line with the thesis of biological determinism. The paper re-examines the tacit philosophical assumptions, applied methodology and interpretation of the results of the experiments.

The book chapter is here.