Understanding the Brain as an Endogenously Active Mechanism


Although a reactive framework has long been dominant in cognitive science and neuroscience, an alternative framework emphasizing dynamics and endogenous activity has recently gained prominence. We review some of the evidence for endogenous activity and consider the implications not only for understanding cognition but also for accounts of explanation offered by philosophers of science. Our recent characterization of dynamic mechanistic explanation emphasizes the co-ordination of accounts of mechanisms that identify parts and operations with computational models of their activity. These can, and should, be extended to incorporate attention to mechanisms that are not only active, but endogenously active.

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