Integrative neuroscience sculptures a theoretical neuroscience with a mathematical neuroscience that is different from computational neuroscience(Poznanski). In computational neuroscience, reductionist approaches span multiple levels of neural organization. However in integrative neuroscience, each level is seamlessly sculptured as part of a continuum of levels.
The roots of integrative neuroscience originated from the Rashevsky-Rosen school of relational biology that characterizes functional organization mathematically by abstracting away the structure (i.e., physics and chemistry). It was further expanded by Chauvet who introduced hierarchical and functional integration.
Hierarchical integration is structural involving spatiotemporal dynamic continuity in Euclidean space to bring about functional organization, viz.
- Hierarchical organization + Hierarchical integration = Functional organization
However, functional integration is relational and as such this requires a topology not restricted to Euclidean space, but rather occupying vector spaces This means that for any given functional organization the methods of functional analysis enable a relational organization to be mapped by the functional integration, viz.
- Functional organization + Functional integration = Relational Organization
Thus hierarchical and functional integration entails a "neurobiology of cognitive semantics" where hierarchical organization is associated with the neurobiology and relational organization is associated with the cognitive semantics. Relational organization throws away the matter; "function dictates structure", hence material aspects are entailed, while in reductionism the causal nexus between structure and dynamics entails function that obviates functional integration because the causal entailment in the brain of hierarchical integration is absent from the structure.
If integrative neuroscience is studied from the viewpoint of functional organization of hierarchical levels then it is defined as causal entailment in the brain of hierarchical integration. If it is studied from the viewpoint of relational organization then it is defined as semantic entailment in the brain of functional integration.
It aims to present studies of functional organization of particular brain systems across scale through hierarchical integration leading to species-typical behaviors under normal and pathological states. As such, integrative neuroscience aims for a unified understanding of brain function across scale.
Spivey’s continuity of mind thesis extends integrative neuroscience to the domain of continuity psychology.
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