What has philosophy got to do with cognitive science?
Philosophy is an activity that relies mainly on the analysis of concepts and reasoning (logic).
- Scientist - New discovery X! New theory Y explains discovery X!
- Philosopher - Does theory Y really explain X? Is Y really the best explanation of X?
- Philosopher - Theories A, B, C all assume P. Is P really true?
- Philosopher - Theories A, B, C all make use of concept X. What does concept X really mean?
- Example - computation, representation, grammar, innateness, ...
- Philosophical discussion might talk about observations and experiments. But philosophical research usually do not directly involve observations and experiments.
- Very often philosophers rely on intuitions in their arguments which are often empirical assumptions in disguise.
- Some would argue that the distinction between pure reasoning and observations is not a sharp one.
Functions / roles
Van Gelder suggests that philosophy can perform such functions within a scientific discipline:
- The Pioneer - philosophy as baby science nursery
- The Building Inspector - examining the foundations of a subject
- The Cartographer - mapping out the big picture
- The Archivist - a collection of past wisdom and consensus
- The Gadfly - stirring up trouble