The Connectome: A Unifying Boundary Object in Neuroscience
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In this thesis I have argued that the connectome is a unifying boundary object in neuroscience. In the first chapter, I showed that the dual realness and construction of scientific objects paves the way for the robustness and plasticity of boundary objects, a specific kind of scientific object. These two sets of qualities make up the first and second tier dualities of my thesis argument. The third tier duality, the unity and autonomy of neuroscience’s fields, comes about through the collaboration of researchers from all walks of the discipline to describe the connectome, I argued in the second chapter. In the conclusion, I paralleled the connectome's role in neuroscience with how the gene acted as a unifying boundary object in 20th century biology. I also discussed how my conclusions concerning the connectome and the gene may be broadened into a theory about the development of all scientific disciplines; namely, that a more mature discipline’s methodology for explanation may lay the foundation for a younger discipline’s methodology for description, which may then lay the groundwork for explanation in that younger discipline at a later stage. In other words, I argued that disciplines may unify twice: first around a methodology for structural description and again around a methodology for functional explanation.