One of our foremost current cyberneticians spells out his project.
This is not cognitive science
Cognitive science is the field likely to come to mind if you think about academic studies of everyday thinking and acting. Just as Part I of The Eggplant might be mistaken for philosophy, because philosophy is the field that has mostly studied that Part’s subject matter, Part II might at first be mistaken for cognitive science.
As we go along, it will sound less and less like cognitive science, and you might suppose that it is cognitive science done in a peculiarly bad way, presumably in order to justify false conclusions.
In fact, it is neither cognitive nor science. There is quite a lot to say about this. As a preview:
- “This is not about the inside of your head” explains how and why The Eggplant mostly ignores cognitive mechanisms
- “Accounts, theories, and understandings” answers “what good is this if it isn’t science?”
- “Descriptive and normative theories” explains why Part II does not tell you how you should think
- “This is not a dual-process theory” distinguishes the explanation from some others it may superficially resemble
- “A few things we do know about brains” points out implications of the facts that rationality was invented recently and that neurons are slow
- “Never mind the Church-Turing Thesis” explains why computability theory is irrelevant
- “This is not about folk theories” dispels the possible misunderstanding that The Eggplant aims to explain how people believe reasonableness or rationality work; rather, it is meant to show how they do work.
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