Neoconstructivism: A Unifying Constraint for the Cognitive Sciences

Harnad, Stevan (1982) Neoconstructivism: A Unifying Constraint for the Cognitive Sciences. [Book Chapter]

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Behavioral scientists studied behavior; cognitive scientists study what generates behavior. Cognitive science is hence theoretical behaviorism (or behaviorism is experimental cognitivism). Behavior is data for a cognitive theorist. What counts as a theory of behavior? In this paper, a methodological constraint on theory construction -- "neoconstructivism" -- will be proposed (by analogy with constructivism in mathematics): Cognitive theory must be computable; given an encoding of the input to a behaving system, a theory must be able to compute (an encoding of) its outputs. It is a mistake to conclude, however, that this constraint requires cognitive theory to be computational, or that it follows from this that cognition is computation.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:cognition, computation, computability, constructivism, theory
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Computer Science > Artificial Intelligence
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:662
Deposited By: Harnad, Stevan
Deposited On:19 May 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54


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