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Concepts Structured through Reduction: A Structuralist Resource Illuminates the Consolidation-Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) Link

John Bickle
Synthese
Vol. 130, No. 1, Structuralism (Jan., 2002), pp. 123-133
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117203
Page Count: 11
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Abstract

The structuralist program has developed a useful metascientific resource: "ontological reductive links" (ORLs) between the constituents of the potential models of reduced and reducing theories. This resource was developed initially to overcome an objection to structuralist "global" accounts of the intertheoretic reduction relation. But it also illuminates the way that concepts at a higher level of scientific investigation (e.g., cognitive psychology) become "structured through reduction" to lower-level investigations (e.g., cellular/molecular neuroscience). After (briefly) explaining this structuralist background, I demonstrate how this resource illuminates an actual, emerging scientific example: the link between the psychological concept of a "consolidation switch" from short-term to long-term memory and the cellular/molecular mechanisms of the transition from early-to late-phases of long-term potentiation (LTP) (an important type of synaptic plasticity in mammalian hippocampus and cortex).

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