Cognitive Science

Authored by: David Eck , Stephen Turner

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Social Science

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138825758
eBook ISBN: 9781315410098
Adobe ISBN: 9781315410081


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The relationship between the social sciences and the cognitive sciences is underdeveloped and complicated, for reasons we will explain in this chapter, and the philosophical discussion of this relationship has the same properties. Many reasons for the lack of development relate to a traditional philosophical issue: explanation. The explanatory structure of cognitive science reasoning and argumentation is unusual and difficult to fit into the traditional model of scientific explanation, though they do relate, in an odd way, to the traditional “reasons” explanations discussed in the philosophy of social science, through the notion of “folk psychology.” The cognitive science explanations themselves, as they relate to traditional “social science” topics, involve additional problems. They depend on a strategy of reducing complexity by beginning with those aspects of mind that can be most readily simplified, such as perception and body movements. Therefore, traditional social science topics, such as social interaction, which cannot be readily simplified, are something of an afterthought.

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