Model-based theorising in cognitive neuroscience


Weisberg (2006) and Godfrey-Smith (2006, 2009) distinguish between two forms of theorising: data-driven ‘abstract direct representation’ and modeling. The key difference is that when using a data-driven approach, theories are intended to represent specific phenomena, so directly represent them, while models may not be intended to represent anything, so represent targets indirectly, if at all. The aim here is to compare and analyse these practices, in order to outline an account of model-based theorising that involves direct representational relationships. This is based on the way that computational templates Humphreys (2002, 2004) are now used in cognitive neuroscience, and draws on the dynamic and tentative process of any kind of theory construction, and the idea of partial, purpose-relative representation.



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