Comments on Bechtel, levels of description and explanation in cognitive science

Minds and Machines 4 (1):27-37 (1994)
Abstract
  I begin by tracing some of the confusions regarding levels and reduction to a failure to distinguish two different principles according to which theories can be viewed as hierarchically arranged — epistemic authority and ontological constitution. I then argue that the notion of levels relevant to the debate between symbolic and connectionist paradigms of mental activity answers to neither of these models, but is rather correlative to the hierarchy of functional decompositions of cognitive tasks characteristic of homuncular functionalism. Finally, I suggest that the incommensurability of the intentional and extensional vocabularies constitutes a strongprima facie reason to conclude that there is little likelihood of filling in the story of Bechtel''s missing level in such a way as to bridge the gap between such homuncular functionalism and his own model of mechanistic explanation
Keywords Cognitive Science  Connectionism  Mechanism  Psychology  Science  Bechtel, W
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