David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Minds and Machines 21 (1):33-39 (2011)
In a 2008 paper, Walmsley argued that the explanations employed in the dynamical approach to cognitive science, as exemplified by the Haken, Kelso and Bunz model of rhythmic finger movement, and the model of infant preservative reaching developed by Esther Thelen and her colleagues, conform to Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim’s deductive-nomological model of explanation (also known as the covering law model). Although we think Walmsley’s approach is methodologically sound in that it starts with an analysis of scientific practice rather than a general philosophical framework, we nevertheless feel that there are two problems with his paper. First, he focuses only on the deductivenomological model and so neglects the important fact that explanations are causal. Second, the explanations offered by the dynamical approach do not take the deductive-nomological format, because they do not deduce the explananda from exceptionless laws. Because of these two points, Walmsley makes the dynamical explanations in cognitive science appear problematic, while in fact they are not
|Keywords||Covering law Explanation Dynamical cognitive science Cognition Causal asymmetry Dynamicism|
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References found in this work BETA
Carl F. Craver (2007). Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
Daniel M. Hausman (1998). Causal Asymmetries. Cambridge University Press.
Carl Hempel (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. The Free Press.
Carl G. Hempel & Paul Oppenheim (1948). Studies in the Logic of Explanation. Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.
Esther Thelen, Gregor Schöner, Christian Scheier & Linda B. Smith (2001). The Dynamics of Embodiment: A Field Theory of Infant Perseverative Reaching. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (1):1-34.
Citations of this work BETA
Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (2013). Abstraction and the Organization of Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):241-261.
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