Mechanistic and non-mechanistic varieties of dynamical models in cognitive science: explanatory power, understanding, and the ‘mere description’ worry

Synthese 192 (1):43-66 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In the literature on dynamical models in cognitive science, two issues have recently caused controversy. First, what is the relation between dynamical and mechanistic models? I will argue that dynamical models can be upgraded to be mechanistic as well, and that there are mechanistic and non-mechanistic dynamical models. Second, there is the issue of explanatory power. Since it is uncontested the mechanistic models can explain, I will focus on the non-mechanistic variety of dynamical models. It is often claimed by proponents of mechanistic explanations that such models do not really explain cognitive phenomena . I will argue against this view. Although I agree that the three arguments usually offered to vindicate the explanatory power of non-mechanistic dynamical models are not enough, I consider a fourth argument, namely that such models provide understanding. The Voss strong anticipation model is used to illustrate this

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,100

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Nature of Dynamical Explanation.Carlos Zednik - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):238-263.
When mechanistic models explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
Explanation in dynamical cognitive science.Joel Walmsley - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (3):331-348.
Plausibility versus richness in mechanistic models.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (1):139-152.
Commentary: Why I Am Not a Dynamicist.Matthew Botvinick - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):78-83.
The dynamical model is a perceptron.Bruce Bridgeman - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):631-632.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-09-05

Downloads
81 (#207,315)

6 months
5 (#644,465)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.

View all 58 references / Add more references