Mechanisms and Model-based fMRI

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Povich, Mark
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conference paper description
Mechanistic explanations satisfy widely held norms of explanation: the ability to control and answer counterfactual questions about the explanandum. A currently debated issue is whether any non-mechanistic explanations can satisfy these explanatory norms. Weiskopf (2011) argues that the models of object recognition and categorization, JIM, SUSTAIN, and ALCOVE, are not mechanistic, yet satisfy these norms of explanation. In this paper I will argue that these models are sketches of mechanisms. My argument will make use of model-based fMRI, a novel neuroimaging approach whose significance for current debates on psychological models and mechanistic explanation has yet to be explored.