Unification Strategies in Cognitive Science

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Abstract

Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary conglomerate of various research fields and disciplines, which increases the risk of fragmentation of cognitive theories. However, while most previous work has focused on theoretical integration, some kinds of integration may turn out to be monstrous, or result in superficially lumped and unrelated bodies of knowledge. In this paper, I distinguish theoretical integration from theoretical unification, and propose some analyses of theoretical unification dimensions. Moreover, two research strategies that are supposed to lead to unification are analyzed in terms of the mechanistic account of explanation. Finally, I argue that theoretical unification is not an absolute requirement from the mechanistic perspective, and that strategies aiming at unification may be premature in fields where there are multiple conflicting explanatory models.

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