Cognitive science – which draws on ideas from psychology, philosophy, linguistics and artificial intelligence (AI) – attempts to explain our mental life within a scientific framework. Its goal is, thus, to remove the last major obstacle to a unified scientific account of the natural world. In this title, originally published in 1991, Alan Garnham provides an invaluable introduction to this exciting new development in the study of mind.
The Mind in Action focuses on the development of a systematic explanation of cognition, rather than on facts about the way we perceive things, remember them, talk about them, think about them, and interact with them. The author looks in detail at the nature of scientific explanations, the reasons for developing them, and the way they are assessed. He describes the work carried out by cognitive scientists and considers the questions that motivate it. He introduces the computational metaphor for the mind, and explains how flushing out the metaphor might lead to an integrated scientific account of mental phenomena.
Designed primarily for people about to embark on courses in cognitive science and related disciplines, The Mind in Action captures the liveliness and excitement of debates about the mind. It is readily accessible to anyone with an interest in how the mind works, avoiding technical terms where possible and explaining them fully where they are necessary.