Rational reconstruction and immature science

Philosophical Psychology 9 (1):93 – 109 (1996)
Abstract
The distinction between mature and immature science is controversial. Laudan (1977) disavows the idea of immature science while Von Eckardt (1993) claims that cognitive science is just that (an immature science) and modifies Laudan's Research Tradition methodology to argue its rational pursuability . She uses the (Kuhnian) idea of a framework of shared characteristics (FSC) to identify the community of cognitive scientists. Diverse community assumptions pertaining specifically to human cognitive capacities (should) consolidate cognitive research efforts into a coherent and rationally pursuable scientific endeavor. Von Eckardt maintains that the substantive assumptions about the computational and representational character of human cognitive capacities are central to the rational reconstruction of immature cognitive science in two ways. Descriptively, these assumptions are evident in the cognitive science community. Normatively, the assumptions satisfy justificatory conditions on the rational pursuit of this computational, cognitive science research tradition. Normativity is a problem for any naturalistic approach and thus for Von Eckardt's FSC. I critique the FSC strategy and present a modestly naturalistic alternative based on ideas of Goodman, Quine, and more recently, Philip Kitcher. I apply them to the “childhood afflictions” endemic to immaturity, scientific and otherwise. I test my critique of immature computational cognitive science by discussing two phenomena that, in my view, belong properly to any theory of human cognition but are noticeably absent from Von Eckardt's FSC reconstruction. I conclude that understanding the reasons why the FSC view fails can and should contribute to the development of a successful and complete theory of human cognition.
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DOI 10.1080/09515089608573175
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References found in this work BETA

Unified Theories of Cognition.Allen Newell - 1990 - Harvard University Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.

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