In Fritz Allhoff (ed.), Philosophies of the Sciences. Wiley‐Blackwell. pp. 239--261 (2010-01-04)
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Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary research endeavor focusing on human cognitive phenomena such as memory, language use, and reasoning. It emerged in the second half of the 20th century and is charting new directions at the beginning of the 21st century. This chapter begins by identifying the disciplines that contribute to cognitive science and reviewing the history of the interdisciplinary engagements that characterize it. The second section examines the role that mechanistic explanation plays in cognitive science, while the third focuses on the importance of mental representations in specifically cognitive explanations. The fourth section considers the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science and explores how multiple disciplines can contribute to explanations that exceed what any single discipline might accomplish. The conclusion sketches some recent developments in cognitive science and their implications for philosophers.



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Mitchell Herschbach
California State University, Northridge
William Bechtel
University of California, San Diego