Prof. Lena Kästner (University of Saarbrücken): Mechanism Discovery - What Does It Take

Datum / Uhrzeit:
25.06.19   /  18:30 - 20:00

Institut für Theoretische Philosophie

24.53.01 Raum 81



Some scientific explanations describe mechanisms responsible for the phenomenon to be explained. For instance, explanations of memory and learning frequently involve reference to hippocampal long-term potentiation as the implementing neural mechanism. But how do scientists discover such mechanisms? Not surprisingly, discovery comes in many different forms. In this talk, I shall systematically examine three aspects of mechanism discovery. I shall argue that (i) there are different kinds of experiments contributing to discovery in different ways, (ii) mechanisms responsible for a phenomenon may take different forms, and (iii) throughout the discovery process, ontic and epistemic constraints need to be balanced.


Dr. Lena Kästner is a junior professor for philosophy of mind and cognitive systems at Saarland University (Germany). She received her PhD in 2014 from Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany and has a background in cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience (MSc. 2010, UCL). She specializes in philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience and has worked ex-tensively on mechanisms and interventions as well as explanatory integration. Her monograph Philosophy of cognitive Neuroscience came out in 2017. Her current research focuses on scientific discovery and the philosophy of psychiatry with a particular interest in network models of mental disorders. 


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