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dc.contributor.authorGreenlee, Christopher Alanen_US
dc.description.abstractSituated Cognition, Dynamicism, and Explanation in Cognitive Science

Christopher A. Greenlee


The majority of cognitive scientists today view the mind as a computer, instantiating some function mapping the inputs it gets from the environment to the gross behaviors of the organism. As a result, the emphasis in most ongoing research programmes is on finding that function, or some part of that function. Moreover, the types of functions considered are limited somewhat by the preconception that the mind must be instantiating a function that can be expressed as a computer program.

I argue that research done in the last two decades suggests that we should approach cognition with as much consideration to the environment as to the inner workings of the mind. Our cognition is often shaped by the constraints the environment places on us, not just by the "inputs" we receive from it. I argue also that there is a new approach to cognitive science, viewing the mind not as a computer but as a dynamical system, which captures the shift in perspective while eliminating the requirement that cognitive functions be expressable as computer programs.

Unfortunately, some advocates of this dynamical perspective have argued that we should replace all of traditional psychology and neuroscience with their new approach. In response to these advocates, I argue that we cannot develop an adequate dynamical picture of the mind without engaging in precisely those sorts of research and hypothesizing that traditional neuroscience and psychology engage in. In short, I argue that we require certain types of explanations in order to get our dynamical (or computational) theories off the ground, and we cannot get those from other dynamical (or computational) theories.
dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsI hereby grant to Virginia Tech or its agents the right to archive and to make available my thesis or dissertation in whole or in part in the University Libraries in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all proprietary rights, such as patent rights. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.en_US
dc.subjectCognitive Scienceen_US
dc.subjectDynamical Systemsen_US
dc.subjectSituated Cognitionen_US
dc.titleSituated Cognition, Dynamicism, and Explanation in Cognitive Scienceen_US
dc.description.degreeMaster of Artsen_US of Artsen_US Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US
dc.contributor.committeechairHardcastle, Valerie Grayen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRoach, John W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMiller, Harlan B.en_US

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