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Patterns in Cognitive Phenomena and Pluralism of Explanatory Styles

Potochnik, Angela and Sanches de Oliveira, Guilherme (2019) Patterns in Cognitive Phenomena and Pluralism of Explanatory Styles. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Debate about cognitive science explanations has been formulated in terms of identifying the proper level(s) of explanation. Views range from reductionist, favoring only neuroscience explanations, to mechanist, favoring the integration of multiple levels, to pluralist, favoring the preservation of even the most general, high-level explanations, such as those provided by embodied or dynamical approaches. In this paper, we challenge this framing. We suggest that these are not different levels of explanation at all but, rather, different styles of explanation that capture different, cross-cutting patterns in cognitive phenomena. Which pattern is explanatory depends on both the cognitive phenomenon under investigation and the research interests occasioning the explanation. This reframing changes how we should answer the basic questions of which cognitive science approaches explain and how these explanations relate to one another. On this view, we should expect different approaches to offer independent explanations in terms of their different focal patterns and the value of those explanations to partly derive from the broad patterns they feature.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Potochnik, Angelaangela.potochnik@uc.edu
Sanches de Oliveira, Guilherme
Keywords: cognitive science, explanation, level of explanation, causal patterns
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Angela Potochnik
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 03:13
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 03:13
Item ID: 19026
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1111/tops.12481
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19026

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