Photo of Carl F Craver

Carl F. Craver

​Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology
PhD, University of Pittsburgh
research interests:
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • History of Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuropsychology

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • Campus Box 1073
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
image of book cover

​Professor Craver is a philosopher of neuroscience with side interests in the history and philosophy of biology, general philosophy of science, metaphysics, and moral psychology.

His 2007 book, Explaining the Brain, develops a framework for thinking about the norms of scientific explanation in physiological sciences such as neuroscience. His 2013 book (with Lindley Darden), In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences, develops a mechanistic view of discovery in biology.

He is working (with Shayna Rosenbaum, York University) to study deficits in agency and moral reasoning in people with amnesia. Other research interests include general work on the nature of scientific explanation, the norms of progress for experimental instruments and techniques, and the difference between modeler's and maker's knowledge of the brain.

In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences

In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences

Neuroscientists investigate the mechanisms of spatial memory. Molecular biologists study the mechanisms of protein synthesis and the myriad mechanisms of gene regulation. Ecologists study nutrient cycling mechanisms and their devastating imbalances in estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, much of biology and its history involves biologists constructing, evaluating, and revising their understanding of mechanisms.

Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience

Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience

What distinguishes good explanations in neuroscience from bad? Carl F. Craver constructs and defends standards for evaluating neuroscientific explanations that are grounded in a systematic view of what neuroscientific explanations are: descriptions of multilevel mechanisms. In developing this approach, he draws on a wide range of examples in the history of neuroscience (e.g. Hodgkin and Huxley model of the action potential and LTP as a putative explanation for different kinds of memory), as well as recent philosophical work on the nature of scientific explanation. Readers in neuroscience, psychology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science will find much to provoke and stimulate them in this book.