David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Metascience 9 (226-237):203-37 (2000)
Historical Cognitive Science I am lucky to strike three reviewers who extract so clearly my book's spirit as well as its substance. They all both accept and act on my central methodological assumption; that detailed historical research, and consideration of difficult contemporary questions about cognition and culture, can be mutually illuminating. It's gratifying to find many themes which recur in different contexts throughout _Philosophy and Memory_ _Traces_ so well articulated here. The reviews catch my desires to interweave discussion of cognitive theories of memory with moral questions of psychological control and self-mastery, to evoke the virtues and the pleasures of strange, baroque beliefs about fickle 'animal spirits' coursing through the nerves and the brain, to demonstrate that mechanistic explanation (even in its blunt old Cartesian form) can acknowledge complexity, and to develop scientific conceptions of dynamic memory traces and representations which can survive uncharitable philosophical criticism. The book's insistent interdisciplinarity is just an inchoate quest to acknowledge the daunting variety of the phenomena: remembering is both natural and cultural, and is studied by narrative theorists as well as neurobiologists, by physicists as well as psychologists. By fusing the rangy detail of a history of early modern neurophysiology with the committed, even gullible fervor of a defence of 'new connectionist' cognitive science, I wanted to pull out the carpet from all those who are happy to let 'scientific' and 'cultural' approaches to the mind run along independently. Once this general project is given space, as it is by all three reviewers, we can get down to specifics.
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