Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 36, number 106, abril 2004
Intertheory Relations in Cognitive Science: Privileged Levels and Reductive Strategies
[Relaciones interteóricas en ciencia cognitiva: Niveles privilegiados y estrategias reductivas]
Jesús Ezquerro
Departamento de Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia
Universidad del País Vasco
Fernando Martínez Manrique
Departamento de Filosofìa
Universidad de Granada

Abstract: Research in cognitive science has often assumed the existence of a privileged level that unifies theoretical explanations arising from different disciplines. Philosophical accounts differ about the locus of those intertheory relations. In this paper, four different views are analyzed: classical, connectionist, pragmatist, and reductionist, as exemplified in the works of von Eckardt, Horgan and Tienson, Hardcastle, and Bickle, respectively. Their divergences are characterized in terms of the possibility of such a privileged level. The classical view favors a privileged computational level. The connectionist revision tries to draw biological intuitions into computational models to provide a link between neuronsand computations. The pragmatist approach rejects the idea of a privileged level and offers a more eclectic view of cognitive theory building. The reductionist account pursues theoretical unification by means of the reduction of higher level theories to basic level (biological) ones.
Keywords: cognitive science, computationalism, connectionism, reduction

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