Behavior Considered as an Enabling Constraint
Studies in Brain and Mind
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Two fundamental challenges of contemporary neuroscience are to make sense of the scalar relations in the nervous system and to understand the way behavior emerges from these relations while at the same time affects them. In this paper, we analyze the notion of enabling constraint and the way it can frame the two kinds of relations involved in the challenges: of different neural scales (e.g., molecular scale, genetic scale, single-neurons, neural networks, etc.) and between neural systems and behavior. We think the notion of enabling constraint provides a promising alternative to other classic, mechanistic understandings of these relations and the different issues they raise for contemporary neuroscience.