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Neoconstructivism: A Unifying Constraint for the Cognitive Sciences

Neoconstructivism: A Unifying Constraint for the Cognitive Sciences
Neoconstructivism: A Unifying Constraint for the Cognitive Sciences
ABSTRACT: 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.
behaviorism, cognition, computation, explanation, modeling
Erlbaum
Harnad, Stevan
442ee520-71a1-4283-8e01-106693487d8b
Simon, T
8f4c1fae-37df-46de-9c52-603a76837a34
Scholes, R
f497ccf5-d6ad-407a-8bef-70c6a54b1ca9
Harnad, Stevan
442ee520-71a1-4283-8e01-106693487d8b
Simon, T
8f4c1fae-37df-46de-9c52-603a76837a34
Scholes, R
f497ccf5-d6ad-407a-8bef-70c6a54b1ca9

Harnad, Stevan, Simon, T and Scholes, R (eds.) (1982) Neoconstructivism: A Unifying Constraint for the Cognitive Sciences, Erlbaum

Record type: Book

Abstract

ABSTRACT: 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.

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Published date: 1982
Additional Information: Address: Hillsdale NJ US
Keywords: behaviorism, cognition, computation, explanation, modeling
Organisations: Web & Internet Science

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Local EPrints ID: 250383
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/250383
PURE UUID: 8e67d34e-66c9-4052-b2f7-b9e59503116b

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Date deposited: 04 May 1999
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 10:42

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Contributors

Author: Stevan Harnad
Editor: T Simon
Editor: R Scholes

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