The Role of Psychology in an Agent-Centered Theory of Science

Ronald N. Giere

in Psychology of Science

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199753628
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950027 | DOI:
The Role of Psychology in an Agent-Centered Theory of Science

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The question that frames this chapter is how humans have managed to learn such amazing things as the age of the universe. After briefly reviewing logical, methodological, historical, and social approaches to this question, the chapter focuses on contributions of the cognitive study of science. This leads to a comparison of the cognitive study of science and the psychology of science, which study how fundamental cognitive mechanisms operate in the context of generating scientific knowledge. There is, however, a second way humans use their psychological powers in the pursuit of knowledge, namely, by designing material and symbolic artifacts that greatly increase their cognitive powers. The resulting physical-computational-human systems have been incorporated into the cognitive sciences as “distributed cognitive systems.” The chapter proposes adoption of an agent-centered approach, in which ever more ubiquitous distributed cognitive systems can be fully cognitive without being fully computational.

Keywords: cognitive study of science; psychology of science; cognitive mechanisms; scientific knowledge; material artifacts; symbolic artifacts; distributed cognitive systems

Chapter.  6211 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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