Why Cognitive Science Needs Philosophy and Vice Versa

Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (2):237-254 (2009)
Abstract
Contrary to common views that philosophy is extraneous to cognitive science, this paper argues that philosophy has a crucial role to play in cognitive science with respect to generality and normativity. General questions include the nature of theories and explanations, the role of computer simulation in cognitive theorizing, and the relations among the different fields of cognitive science. Normative questions include whether human thinking should be Bayesian, whether decision making should maximize expected utility, and how norms should be established. These kinds of general and normative questions make philosophical reflection an important part of progress in cognitive science. Philosophy operates best, however, not with a priori reasoning or conceptual analysis, but rather with empirically informed reflection on a wide range of findings in cognitive science
Keywords Computer simulation  Bayesian inference  Explanations  Theories  Generality  Cognitive science  Decision making  Normativity  Philosophy
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