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dc.contributor.advisorDavis, Lloyd
dc.contributor.authorGranville, Blair
dc.identifier.citationGranville, B. (2011). Breaking the Brain: Reductionism, Holism, and the Formation of the Neurosciences (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines metaphysical themes in the historical neurosciences and implements those themes in a work of creative non-fiction for the purpose of communicating science to the public. Contemporary science communication theory stresses renewed efforts to engage the public by framing science in a way that is relevant to the public’s interests and cultural views. In the neurosciences, science and culture are often drawn together by the clash between reductionist scientific explanations and holistic or emergentist metaphysical stances. Two case studies from the birth of the neurosciences are undertaken to investigate whether individual scientists’ ontological beliefs influenced their preferred scientific explanations. These case studies are the debate over the localization of function circa 1860 to 1930 and the emergence of the theory of the neuron circa 1890 to 1910. It is concluded that scientists’ personal metaphysical beliefs did not appear to predict their preferred scientific explanation. However scientists nonetheless considered scientific explanations to be relevant to their metaphysical beliefs regarding the nervous system and its functions. This duality can be used to convey science as a system of knowledge existing within a relevant cultural context, without detracting from the relative independence of scientific explanation. These case studies serve as the basis for a creative work of non-fiction entitled Breaking the Brain. The book charts the major theoretical and technical advances in the neurosciences by following the lives of important scientists, leading from the discovery of the neuron to the molecular and cellular biology of modern neuroscience.en_NZ
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectHistory of Scienceen_NZ
dc.subjectPhilosophy of Scienceen_NZ
dc.subjectScience Communicationen_NZ
dc.subjectNeuron Theoryen_NZ
dc.titleBreaking the Brain: Reductionism, Holism, and the Formation of the Neurosciencesen_NZ
dc.typeThesis of Science Communicationen_NZ of Otago Theses
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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