A map of cognitive science from a cognitive science perspective


Nils Dahlbäck

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Keywords: Cognitive Science, Education, Science as culture, Research methods.


Abstract
: A alternative view of cognitive science as neither one unified cognitive science, nor just a multidisciplinary field of a number of sciences (psychology, AI, linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience etc.) is presented. It is argued that cognitive science is best described as a matrix of two dimensions, a content or domain dimension (e.g., language, problem solving etc, and subsets of these) and a methods dimension, comprising of three basic approaches to research; empirical, formal, and model building. The latter are seen not only as methods per se, but rather as scientific 'cultures'; carriers of differing explicit and implicit views of what constitutes 'good research'. Since cultural knowledge to a large extent can be acquired only by 'living' in the culture, the Linköping Cognitive Science program is built on the assumption that the students should early in their studies learn all three scientific traditions, both the theoretical and methodological aspects, on an equal footing, before specializing in a particular sub-field. The paper presents the 'three cultures' view of cognitive science, how this has influenced the general design of the program, and describes two courses, one theoretical and one applied, which illustrates our approach to supporting the students acquiring their own perspective of the multi-cultural but still unified field of cognitive science.


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Nils Dahlbäck, http://www.ida.liu.se/~nilda/
Department of Computer and Information Science
Linköping University.


Spinning Ideas, Electronic Essays
Dedicated to Peter Gärdenfors on His Fiftieth Birthday