Giving up on convergence and autonomy: Why the theories of psychology and neuroscience are codependent as well as irreconcilable.

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Studies in history and philosophy of science, ISSN: 0039-3681, Vol: 56, Page: 135-44

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Hochstein, Eric
Elsevier BV
Arts and Humanities
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There is a long-standing debate in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of science regarding how best to interpret the relationship between neuroscience and psychology. It has traditionally been argued that either the two domains will evolve and change over time until they converge on a single unified account of human behaviour, or else that they will continue to work in isolation given that they identify properties and states that exist autonomously from one another (due to the multiple-realizability of psychological states). In this paper, I argue that progress in psychology and neuroscience is contingent on the fact that both of these positions are false. Contra the convergence position, I argue that the theories of psychology and the theories of neuroscience are scientifically valuable as representational tools precisely because they cannot be integrated into a single account. However, contra the autonomy position, I propose that the theories of psychology and neuroscience are deeply dependent on one another for further refinement and improvement. In this respect, there is an irreconcilable codependence between psychology and neuroscience that is necessary for both domains to improve and progress. The two domains are forever linked while simultaneously being unable to integrate.