Rethinking the Conceptual History of the Term ‘Cognitive’

Abstract

Psychologist-historian Christopher D. Green posits that the word “cognitive" was never intended by its philosophical advocates to be synonymous with "mental" and, consequently, much of what now goes by the name of "cognition" in cognitive science is not really "cognitive" in the strict sense at all (Green in Canadian Psychology 37: 31-39). After a brief presentation of his position, I argue that Green does not provide sufficient reason or evidence for us to accept his claim and his proposal ought to be disregarded unless further evidence can be put forth in its defense. In doing so, I clear the ground for a constructive engagement with the conceptual history of the term “cognitive” and its relevance to present-day concerns.


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