3rd Call for Papers: Scientific Realism in Cognitive Neuroscience
Topical Collection in Synthese

Guest Editors:

*Inês Hipólito *- Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Philosophische Fakultät,
Institut für Philosophie & Berlin School of Mind and Brain | University of
Amsterdam, Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, Psychology Department

*Thomas van Es *- University of Antwerp, Philosophy Department.

*Guilherme Sanches Oliveira -*
Universität Berlin, Psychology and Ergonomics Department.

*Matteo Colombo *-
School of Humanities and Digital Sciences, Department of Philosophy

*Topical Collection Description*

Debates about scientific realism concern the nature and scope of scientific
knowledge. While these debates have metaphysical and semantic dimensions,
they typically centre around different theses about how we should
understand the epistemic achievements and aims of scientific practices, and
more generally the character of scientific change.

The scientific realism debate has traditionally focused on successful
theories and models in physics. Less attention has been paid to how this
debate should play out in the sciences of mind and brain. To be sure, cognitive
scientists and philosophers often make claims about, for example, the
“reality” of mental representations, or of other entities, processes,
structures or architectures ascribed to the mind or brain based on the
results of connectionist, dynamical or other kinds of computational models
. Still, these claims are rarely informed by existing arguments and
conceptual resources from the realism debate in the philosophy of science;
and, conversely, work in the science of mind and brain has rarely been
brought to bear on this debate either. This neglect and lack of pollination
across fields in philosophy are unfortunate, since different researchers in
the cognitive sciences arguing about the “reality” of some structure
in the mind
or brain, or about a “realistic view” towards some models, risk talking
past each other, or making confused or unjustified claims.[image:

The proposed topical collection aims to remedy this situation, by
explicitly focusing on, critically assessing, and discussing the
relationship between traditional arguments and ideas from the scientific
realism debate and modelling and theorising in computational cognitive

Appropriate Topics for Submission include, among others:

   - Do we have adequate grounds for believing that our best models and
   theories in cognitive neuroscience (CN) are true or approximately true
   with respect to what they say about unobservable entities and processes?

   ●  What are the main epistemic aims of CN?

   ●  Is theoretical change in CN incompatible with scientific realism?

   ●  How does idealized modelling in CN bear on the realism debate?[image:

● How do traditional arguments like the no miracle argument, the
pessimistic induction, the problem of unconceived alternatives, or
arguments based on the underdetermination of theory by data, play out
in CN?[image:

● What are the main epistemic achievements of CN? Is theoretical change in
CN incompatible with scientific realism?

● How do tools or properties of CN models, such as rules of functional and
structural interactions, (teleo)functions, causal topologies or (generative
models relate to the phenomena studied? Does scientific realism require us
to ascribe these properties to the phenomena themselves?
● What general lessons about general scientific realism can be distilled
from case studies in the sciences of mind and brain?

● Does instrumentalism have explanatory value without at least some form of
isomorphic relations between the model and observed cognitive behaviour?

● From an anti-representational standpoint (e.g. embodied, enactive,
ecological cognitive science and/or Dynamical Systems Theory), is the
problem with CN that it does not live up to realist expectations? Or would
the problem with CN models be better framed in instrumentalist terms? And,
in either case, what accounts for the popularity of CN models?

The contributions in our topical collection will clarify, explore or
resolve these and other questions. They will advance several ongoing
debates in the intersection of the philosophy and epistemology of science,
and the philosophy of the cognitive sciences.

*The deadline for submissions is 5th January 2023*

*Submissions via:* https://www.editorialmanager.com/synt/default.aspx

*For further information, please contact the guest editors:*
Inês Hipólito: ines.hipol...@hu-berlin.de,
Thomas van Es: thomas.va...@uantwerpen.be,[image: page2image553024432]
Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira: sanchessanc...@tu-berlin.de,[image:
Matteo Colombo: m.colo...@tilburguniversity.edu


*Dr Inês Hipólito*

*Lecturer / Postdoctoral researcher*Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Department of Philosophy &
Berlin School of Mind and Brain

*ABC Talent Grant Fellow*

Developmental Psychology

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

University of Amsterdam
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