Structure and Application of Dynamical Models in Cognitive Science

Maurice LambUniversity of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Anthony ChemeroUniversity of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio United States

Abstract

In philosophy of science, Neo-mechanists argue that explanations are only successful when formulated in terms of the behaviors of discrete decomposable components that constitute the system of interest. This approach to explanation implicitly denies the significance of non-linear interactions in structuring the behavior of complex cognitive systems. Recently, Neo-mechanists have claimed that JAS Kelso and colleagues have begun to favor neo-mechanistic explanations of neuroscientific phenomena; particularly in the application of the neural field model to rhythmic coordination behaviors. We will argue that this view is the result of a failure to understand dynamic systems explanations and the general structure of dynamic systems research. Further, we argue that the explanations cited are in fact not neo-mechanistic explanations. In this paper, we will show that these neo-mechanists have misunderstood the work by Kelso and colleagues, which blunts the force of one of their arguments.

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