The Nature of Psychological Explanation

Cummins Robert

In exploring the nature of psychological explanation, this book looks at how psychologists theorize about the human ability to calculate, to speak a language and the like. It shows how good theorizing explains or tries to explain such abilities as perception and cognition. It recasts the familiar explanations of 'intelligence' and 'cognitive capacity' as put forward by philosophers such as Fodor, Dennett, and others in terms of a theory of explanation that makes established doctrine more intelligible to professionals and their students. In particular, the book shows that vestigial adherence to the positivists' D-N model has distorted the view of philosophers of science about what psychologists (and biologists) do and has masked the real nature of explanation. Major sections in the book cover Analysis and Subsumption; Functional Analysis; Understanding Cognitive Capacities; and Historical Reflections.

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