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Book details of 'What Is Cognitive Science?'

Cover of What Is Cognitive Science?
TitleWhat Is Cognitive Science?
Author(s)Barbara VonEckardt
ISBN026272023X
LanguageEnglish
PublishedMarch 1995
PublisherMIT Press
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Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
It has been said that the field of artificial intelligence is not a field. AI, so the proposal goes, is a blanket term for a series of areas; such as expert systems, pattern recognition, and so forth; which will be discovered as time progresses. Artificial intelligence will therefore always be the undiscovered "leftover" which remains behind. A similar, though somewhat reversed, statement is applied to cognitive science. Cognitive science, this view holds, is a collection of unanswered questions from a variety of fields related to the topic of thought. Von Eckardt is attempting to refute this position. She brings leading writing in the fields (though primarily from philosophy) together to attempt to form a foundational basis: to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, a sort of "mere cognitive science." The result is a solid basis for introduction to the field and study, but cannot be said to be an unqualified success. As early as the Introduction, Von Eckardt assumes that human thinking activity is central to cognitive science. Yet many in the field of artificial intelligence, for example, are intrigued by the idea of a completely different form of thought. (It is possible that either Von Eckardt or these very researchers would eliminate them from the cognitive science area.) The attempt to make the book intelligible to anyone interested in the foundations of cognitive science is, again, only partially complete. The dedicated and intelligent amateur should be able to work through it, but a background in linguistics and philosophy would be a significant asset. The jargon is not impenetrable, but is quite heavy. The author does not help by defining new terminology along the way. ("Adult, normal, typical cognition" is instatiated to "ANTCOG" on page six.) While some computer science concepts are defined in detail, the "logical positivism" which is vital to the appendix on the origins of cognitive science doesn't even have an entry in the glossary. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1995
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