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Potential Controversies: Causation and the Hodgkin and Huxley Equations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

The import of Hodgkin and Huxley’s classic model of the action potential has been hotly debated in recent years, with particular controversy surrounding claims by prominent proponents of mechanistic explanation. For these authors, the Hodgkin-Huxley model is an excellent predictive tool but ultimately lacks causal/explanatory import. What is more, they claim that this is how Hodgkin and Huxley themselves saw the model. I argue that these claims rest on a problematic reading of the work. Hodgkin and Huxley’s model is both causal and, in an important sense, explanatory.

Type
Cognitive Sciences
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

The author would like to acknowledge Mazviita Chirimuuta, Joseph McCaffrey, Edouard Machery, and those to whom this paper was presented in spoken form for their encouragement and feedback.

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