Methodological solipsism reconsidered as a research strategy in cognitive psychology

Philosophy of Science 52 (September):451-69 (1985)
Current computational psychology, especially as described by Fodor (1975, 1980, 1981), Pylyshyn (1980), and Stich (1983), is both a bold, promising program for cognitive science and an alternative to naturalistic psychology (Putnam 1975). Whereas naturalistic psychology depends on the general scientific framework to fix the meanings of general terms and, hence, the content of thoughts utilizing or expressed in those terms, computational cognitive theory banishes semantical considerations in psychological investigations, embracing methodological, not ontological, solipsism. I intend to argue that computational psychology cannot individuate thoughts as it promises. For, semantics is fundamental in fixing an important subset of the computational relations that, according to the computational theory, are supposed both to obtain among thoughts and, thereby, to determine their identity conditions. If what I contend is correct, then contrary to what its advocates maintain, computational psychology is not preferable to naturalistic psychology as a research strategy in cognitive science
Keywords Methodology  Psychology  Science  Semantics  Solipsism
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DOI 10.1086/289260
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J. Christopher Maloney (1986). Sensuous Content. Philosophical Papers 15 (November):131-54.

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