Przeglad Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria 86 (2):151-166 (2013)

Marcin Miłkowski
Polish Academy of Sciences
The paper defends the claim that the mechanistic explanation of information processing is the fundamental kind of explanation in cognitive science. These mechanisms are complex organized systems whose functioning depends on the orchestrated interaction of their component parts and processes. A constitutive explanation of every mechanism must include both appeal to its environment and to the role it plays in it. This role has been traditionally dubbed competence. To fully explain how this role is played it is necessary to explain the information processing inside the mechanism embedded in the environment. The most usual explanation on this level has a form of a computational model, for example a software program or a trained artificial neural network. However, this is not the end of the explanatory chain. What is left to be explained is how the program is realized (or what processes are responsible for information processing in the artificial neural network). By using two dramatically different examples from the history of cognitive science I show the multi-level structure of explanations in cognitive science. These examples are (1) the explanation of human process solving as proposed by A. Newell & H. Simon; (2) the explanation of cricket phonotaxis via robotic models by B. Webb.
Keywords computation  information-processing  mechanism  biorobotics  computational explanation  problem solving
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References found in this work BETA

Psychological Explanation. [REVIEW]T. C. Chabdack - 1972 - Philosophy of Science 39 (1):95-97.

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Biopsychologiczne podstawy poznania geometrycznego.Mateusz Hohol - 2018 - Philosophical Problems in Science 64:137-165.

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