The Cognitive Science Of Science

Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262300974
Size: 49.73 MB
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Many disciplines, including philosophy, history, and sociology, have attempted to make sense of how science works. In this book, Paul Thagard examines scientific development from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. Cognitive science combines insights from researchers in many fields: philosophers analyze historical cases, psychologists carry out behavioral experiments, neuroscientists perform brain scans, and computer modelers write programs that simulate thought processes. Thagard develops cognitive perspectives on the nature of explanation, mental models, theory choice, and resistance to scientific change, considering disbelief in climate change as a case study. He presents a series of studies that describe the psychological and neural processes that have led to breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology. He shows how discoveries of new theories and explanations lead to conceptual change, with examples from biology, psychology, and medicine. Finally, he shows how the cognitive science of science can integrate descriptive and normative concerns; and he considers the neural underpinnings of certain scientific concepts.

The Big Book Of Concepts

Author: Gregory Murphy
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262250061
Size: 63.31 MB
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Concepts embody our knowledge of the kinds of things there are in the world. Tying our past experiences to our present interactions with the environment, they enable us to recognize and understand new objects and events. Concepts are also relevant to understanding domains such as social situations, personality types, and even artistic styles. Yet like other phenomenologically simple cognitive processes such as walking or understanding speech, concept formation and use are maddeningly complex.Research since the 1970s and the decline of the "classical view" of concepts have greatly illuminated the psychology of concepts. But persistent theoretical disputes have sometimes obscured this progress. The Big Book of Concepts goes beyond those disputes to reveal the advances that have been made, focusing on the major empirical discoveries. By reviewing and evaluating research on diverse topics such as category learning, word meaning, conceptual development in infants and children, and the basic level of categorization, the book develops a much broader range of criteria than is usual for evaluating theories of concepts.

The Brain And The Meaning Of Life

Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691154406
Size: 49.40 MB
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Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living. Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it. The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

Creating Scientific Concepts

Author: Nancy J Nersessian
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262293455
Size: 10.88 MB
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How do novel scientific concepts arise? In Creating Scientific Concepts, Nancy Nersessian seeks to answer this central but virtually unasked question in the problem of conceptual change. She argues that the popular image of novel concepts and profound insight bursting forth in a blinding flash of inspiration is mistaken. Instead, novel concepts are shown to arise out of the interplay of three factors: an attempt to solve specific problems; the use of conceptual, analytical, and material resources provided by the cognitive-social-cultural context of the problem; and dynamic processes of reasoning that extend ordinary cognition. Focusing on the third factor, Nersessian draws on cognitive science research and historical accounts of scientific practices to show how scientific and ordinary cognition lie on a continuum, and how problem-solving practices in one illuminate practices in the other. Her investigations of scientific practices show conceptual change as deriving from the use of analogies, imagistic representations, and thought experiments, integrated with experimental investigations and mathematical analyses. She presents a view of constructed models as hybrid objects, serving as intermediaries between targets and analogical sources in bootstrapping processes. Extending these results, she argues that these complex cognitive operations and structures are not mere aids to discovery, but that together they constitute a powerful form of reasoning -- model-based reasoning -- that generates novelty. This new approach to mental modeling and analogy, together with Nersessian's cognitive-historical approach, make Creating Scientific Concepts equally valuable to cognitive science and philosophy of science.

Computational Philosophy Of Science

Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262700481
Size: 61.62 MB
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By applying research in artificial intelligence to problems in the philosophy of science, Paul Thagard develops an exciting new approach to the study of scientific reasoning. This approach uses computational ideas to shed light on how scientific theories are discovered, evaluated, and used in explanations. Thagard describes a detailed computational model of problem solving and discovery that provides a conceptually rich yet rigorous alternative to accounts of scientific knowledge based on formal logic, and he uses it to illuminate such topics as the nature of concepts, hypothesis formation, analogy, and theory justification.

Hot Thought

Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262701243
Size: 33.42 MB
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A description of mental mechanisms that explain how emotions influence thought, from everyday decision making to scientific discovery and religious belief, and an analysis of when emotion can contribute to good reasoning.

Mental Leaps

Author: Keith James Holyoak
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262581448
Size: 63.33 MB
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Analogy -- recalling familiar past situations to deal with novel ones -- is a mental tool that everyone uses. Analogy can provide invaluable creative insights, but it can also lead to dangerous errors. In Mental Leaps two leading cognitive scientists show how analogy works and how it can be used most effectively. Keith Holyoak and Paul Thagard provide a unified, comprehensive account of the diverse operations and applications of analogy, including problem solving, decision making, explanation, and communication. Holyoak and Thagard present their own theory of analogy, considering its implications for cognitive science in general, and survey examples from many other domains. These include animal cognition, developmental and social psychology, political science, philosophy, history of science, anthropology, and literature. Understanding how we draw analogies is important for people interested in the evolution of thinking in animals and in children; for those whose focus is on either creative thinking or errors of everyday reasoning; for those concerned with how decisions are made in law, business, and politics; and for those striving to improve education. Mental Leaps covers all of this ground, emphasizing the principles that govern the use of analogy and keeping technical matters to a minimum. A Bradford Book

The Origin Of Concepts

Author: Susan Carey
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199710090
Size: 60.51 MB
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New in paperback-- A transformative book on the way we think about the nature of concepts and the relations between language and thought.

International Handbook Of Research On Conceptual Change

Author: Stella Vosniadou
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113657820X
Size: 37.83 MB
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Conceptual change research investigates the processes through which learners substantially revise prior knowledge and acquire new concepts. Tracing its heritage to paradigms and paradigm shifts made famous by Thomas Kuhn, conceptual change research focuses on understanding and explaining learning of the most the most difficult and counter-intuitive concepts. Now in its second edition, the International Handbook of Research on Conceptual Change provides a comprehensive review of the conceptual change movement and of the impressive research it has spawned on students’ difficulties in learning. In thirty-one new and updated chapters, organized thematically and introduced by Stella Vosniadou, this volume brings together detailed discussions of key theoretical and methodological issues, the roots of conceptual change research, and mechanisms of conceptual change and learner characteristics. Combined with chapters that describe conceptual change research in the fields of physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and health, and history, this handbook presents writings on interdisciplinary topics written for researchers and students across fields.