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The possibility of a pluralist cognitive science

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A case for a pluralistic approach to cognitive science is sketched. It is argued that cognitive scientists should take seriously the possibility that a single, unified framework for all of cognition is an unrealistic expectation for its diverse interdisciplinary goals and subject matter. A pluralistic approach instead seeks ways of integrating the multiple perspectives that have provided explanatory success in loosely interconnected sub-domains of cognitive phenomena. Research strategies recommended by this approach are discussed, with review of research currently carrying out such strategies and others that may hold promise for the future. The article ends with a discussion of seeking closer integration of the inquirer into consideration of which explanatory framework to choose. A systematic exploration of this transactional approach to cognitive science may grant coherence to pluralism even as it embraces diverse schemes of explanation.
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Keywords: cognitive science; complexity; computation; dynamics; pluralism; pragmatism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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