Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Cognitive Ontologies, Task Ontologies, and Explanation in Cognitive Neuroscience

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Daniel Burnston summarizes his chapter (25 page PDF) in Neuroscience Experiment. In it, he argues that the 'standard model' explaining behavior based on cognitive phenomena (such as 'spatial memory' or 'working memory') is flawed. "Individual parts of the brain are multifunctional, and activity corresponding to particular purported faculties is distributed.  What this means is that there are no discrete patterns of instantiation corresponding to cognitive functions." So appeals to such cognitive phenomena do not explain things like learning and cognition. "Posits of psychological faculties do
not explain behavior.
" They are, at best, heuristic devices, and do not correspond to any actual entity or process. I agree, which is why I would resist any inference from, say, the putative properties or 'working memory' to any actual explanation or recommendation concerning learning and cognition.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 25, 2024 09:27 a.m.

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