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?
Introduction: Aniruddha Das, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Columbia University
Peter Bearman, Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theories and Empirics (INCITE) and Cole Professor of Social Science, Columbia University
Suzanne Goh, Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, Cortica; Neurologist, UCSD
Jesse Prinz; Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)
Moderators: Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University Lan Li, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University