Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (4):1306-1320 (2019)

Authors
Angela Potochnik
University of Cincinnati
Guilherme Sanches De Oliveira
University of Cincinnati
Abstract
Debate about cognitive science explanations has been formulated in terms of identifying the proper level(s) of explanation. Views range from reductionist, favoring only neuroscience explanations, to mechanist, favoring the integration of multiple levels, to pluralist, favoring the preservation of even the most general, high-level explanations, such as those provided by embodied or dynamical approaches. In this paper, we challenge this framing. We suggest that these are not different levels of explanation at all but, rather, different styles of explanation that capture different, cross-cutting patterns in cognitive phenomena. Which pattern is explanatory depends on both the cognitive phenomenon under investigation and the research interests occasioning the explanation. This reframing changes how we should answer the basic questions of which cognitive science approaches explain and how these explanations relate to one another. On this view, we should expect different approaches to offer independent explanations in terms of their different focal patterns and the value of those explanations to partly derive from the broad patterns they feature.
Keywords Embodied cognitive science  Explanatory pluralism  Levels of explanation  Mechanism  Philosophy of cognitive science  Reductionism
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Reprint years 2019, 2020
DOI 10.1111/tops.12481
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References found in this work BETA

Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
1953 and All That. A Tale of Two Sciences.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (3):335-373.
‘Style’ for Historians and Philosophers.Ian Hacking - 1991 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 23 (1):1-20.

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The mechanistic stance.Jonny Lee & Joe Dewhurst - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-21.

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