Useful Theories Make Predictions

Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):84-86 (2012)
Abstract
Stephen and Van Orden (this issue) propose that there is a complex system approach to cognitive science, and collectively the authors of the papers presented in this issue believe that this approach provides the means to drive a revolution in the science of the mind. Unfortunately, however illuminating, this explanation is absent and hyperbole is all too extensive. In contrast, I argue (1) that dynamic systems theory is not new to cognitive science and does not provide a basis for a revolution, (2) it is not necessary to reject cognitive science in order to explain the constraints imposed by the body and the environment, (3) it is not necessary, as Silberstein and Chemero (this issue) appear to do, to reject cognitive science in order to explain consciousness, and (4) our understanding of pragmatics is not advanced by Gibbs and Van Orden‘s (this issue) “self-organized criticality”.? Any debate about the future of cognitive science could usefully focus on predictive adequacy. Unfortunately, this is not the approach taken by the authors of this issue
Keywords Computational theory  Dynamic systems  Emergence  Prediction  Embodiment  Useful theory
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