Evidence and Theory in Neuroscience
Videos from the event
- SPEAKER: Peter Bearman, Jonathan R. Cole Professor of the Social Sciences, Columbia University
- SPEAKER: Jesse Prinz, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
- SPEAKER: Suzanne Goh, Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Cortica
- PANEL DISCUSSION: Panel Discussion
March 5, 2018, Faculty House, Columbia University
We need theories to make sense of evidence—to transform patterns of physical occurrences into something meaningful, i.e., data. This relationship between theory and evidence is often at least partially opaque, particularly in a field like neuroscience that often aims to use physical evidence to characterize mental, and in some cases social, events. Neuroscience navigates this relationship by offering mechanistic descriptions of “how” psychological processes operate. Yet, this line of inquiry relies on theoretical assumptions that are not fully tethered to the data itself. What kind of knowledge does neuroscience offer that psychology and behavioral sciences do not? How contingent on psychological theories is neuroscientific understanding?