Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Psychology (Spring 2014) psychological explanation representation
Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Psychology (Spring 2014) The topic of the seminar is psychological explanation. We will focus on two issues: (1) The role of representation in psychological explanation, considering recent challenges – by (among others) proponents of extended, embodied, and enactive cognition – to the traditional view that psychological processes are to be understood as operations on symbol structures. We will consider the requirements for a theoretical construct to count as a representation, and whether there are any distinctively mental representations. (2) The relation of psychology to neuroscience, considering the recent challenge – by proponents of the so-called ‘new mechanism’ view in philosophy of science – to the view that psychological explanation of human cognitive capacities (in particular, computational explanations of cognitive capacities) can be constructed and confirmed independently of an account of how these capacities are realized in the brain. The new mechanists argue that genuine explanations of cognition are mechanistic explanations – they must bear a transparent relationship to accounts of realizing neural mechanisms. The seminar meets Tuesdays 4:30-7:30.