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7.1g. Levels of Analysis in Cognitive Science (Levels of Analysis in Cognitive Science on PhilPapers)

Bechtel, William P. (1994). Levels of description and explanation in cognitive science. Minds and Machines 4 (1):1-25.   (Cited by 15 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   The notion of levels has been widely used in discussions of cognitive science, especially in discussions of the relation of connectionism to symbolic modeling of cognition. I argue that many of the notions of levels employed are problematic for this purpose, and develop an alternative notion grounded in the framework of mechanistic explanation. By considering the source of the analogies underlying both symbolic modeling and connectionist modeling, I argue that neither is likely to provide an adequate analysis of processes at the level at which cognitive theories attempt to function: One is drawn from too low a level, the other from too high a level. If there is a distinctly cognitive level, then we still need to determine what are the basic organizational principles at that level
Bermudez, Jose Luis (2000). Personal and subpersonal: A difference without a distinction. Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):63-82.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper argues that, while there is a difference between personal and sub-personal explanation, claims of autonomy should be treated with scepticism. It distinguishes between horizontal and vertical explanatory relations that might hold between facts at the personal and farts at the sub-personal level. Noting that many philosophers are prepared to accept vertical explanatory relations between the two levels, I argue for the stronger claim that, in the case of at least three central personal level phenomena, the demands of explanatory adequacy require postulating horizontal explanatory relations
Cleeremans, Axel & French, Robert M. (1996). From chicken squawking to cognition: Levels of description and the computational approach in psychology. Psychologica Belgica 36:5-29.   (Cited by 40 | Google | More links)
Davies, Martin (2000). Interaction without reduction: The relationship between personal and subpersonal levels of description. Mind and Society 1 (2):87-105.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
de Jong, Huib L. (2002). Levels of explanation in biological psychology. Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):441-462.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Until recently, the notions of function and multiple realization were supposed to save the autonomy of psychological explanations. Furthermore, the concept of supervenience presumably allows both dependence of mind on brain and non-reducibility of mind to brain, reconciling materialism with an independent explanatory role for mental and functional concepts and explanations. Eliminativism is often seen as the main or only alternative to such autonomy. It gladly accepts abandoning or thoroughly reconstructing the psychological level, and considers reduction if successful as equivalent with elimination. In comparison with the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of biology has developed more subtle and complex ideas about functions, laws, and reductive explanation than the stark dichotomy of autonomy or elimination. It has been argued that biology is a patchwork of local laws, each with different explanatory interests and more or less limited scope. This points to a pluralistic, domain-specific and multi-level view of explanations in biology. Explanatory pluralism has been proposed as an alternative to eliminativism on the one hand and methodological dualism on the other hand. It holds that theories at different levels of description, like psychology and neuroscience, can co-evolve, and mutually influence each other, without the higher-level theory being replaced by, or reduced to, the lower-level one. Such ideas seem to tally with the pluralistic character of biological explanation. In biological psychology, explanatory pluralism would lead us to expect many local and non-reductive interactions between biological, neurophysiological, psychological and evolutionary explanations of mind and behavior. This idea is illustrated by an example from behavioral genetics, where genetics, physiology and psychology constitute distinct but interrelated levels of explanation. Accounting for such a complex patchwork of related explanations seems to require a more sophisticated and precise way of looking at levels than the existing ideas on (reductive and non-reductive) explanation in the philosophy of mind
de Pinedo-Garcia, Manuel & Noble, Jason (2008). Beyond persons: Extending the personal/subpersonal distinction to non-rational animals and artificial agents. Biology and Philosophy 23 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: The distinction between personal level explanations and subpersonal ones has been subject to much debate in philosophy. We understand it as one between explanations that focus on an agent’s interaction with its environment, and explanations that focus on the physical or computational enabling conditions of such an interaction. The distinction, understood this way, is necessary for a complete account of any agent, rational or not, biological or artificial. In particular, we review some recent research in Artificial Life that pretends to do completely without the distinction, while using agent-centred concepts all the way. It is argued that the rejection of agent level explanations in favour of mechanistic ones is due to an unmotivated need to choose among representationalism and eliminativism. The dilemma is a false one if the possibility of a radical form of externalism is considered
Gardner, Sebastian (2000). Psychoanalysis and the personal/sub-personal distinction. Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):96-119.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper attempts in the first instance to clarify the application of the personal/sub-personal distinction to psychoanalysis and to indicate how this issue is related to that of psychoanalysis" epistemology. It is argued that psychoanalysis may be regarded either as a form of personal psychology, or as a form of jointly personal and sub-personal psychology, but not as a form of sub-personal psychology. It is further argued that psychoanalysis indicates a problem with the personal/sub-personal distinction itself as understood by Dennett A revised view of the distinction, which is argued to reflect its true metaphysical significance, is proposed
Horgan, Terence E. & Tienson, John L. (1992). Levels of description in nonclassical cognitive science. Philosophy 34:159-188.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google)
Houng, Yu-Houng H. (1990). Classicism, Connectionism and the Concept of Level. Dissertation, Indiana University   (Annotation | Google)
Marr, David (1982). Vision. Freeman.   (Cited by 6130 | Annotation | Google | More links)
McClamrock, Ron (1990). Marr's three levels: A re-evaluation. Minds and Machines 1 (May):185-196.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: the _algorithmic_, and the _implementational_; Zenon Pylyshyn (1984) calls them the _semantic_, the _syntactic_, and the _physical_; and textbooks in cognitive psychology sometimes call them the levels of _content_, _form_, and _medium_ (e.g. Glass, Holyoak, and Santa 1979)
Neander, Karen & Menzies, Peter (1990). David Owens on levels of explanation. Mind 99 (395):459-466.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Newell, Allen (1982). The knowledge level. Artificial Intelligence 18:81-132.   (Cited by 1539 | Google | More links)
Newell, Allen (1986). The symbol level and the knowledge level. In Zenon W. Pylyshyn & W. Demopolous (eds.), Meaning and Cognitive Structure. Ablex.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google)
Peacocke, Christopher (1986). Explanation in computational psychology: Language, perception and level. Mind and Language 1:101-23.   (Cited by 30 | Annotation | Google)
Rosenberg, Jay F. (1994). Comments on Bechtel, levels of description and explanation in cognitive science. Minds and Machines 4 (1):27-37.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   I begin by tracing some of the confusions regarding levels and reduction to a failure to distinguish two different principles according to which theories can be viewed as hierarchically arranged — epistemic authority and ontological constitution. I then argue that the notion of levels relevant to the debate between symbolic and connectionist paradigms of mental activity answers to neither of these models, but is rather correlative to the hierarchy of functional decompositions of cognitive tasks characteristic of homuncular functionalism. Finally, I suggest that the incommensurability of the intentional and extensional vocabularies constitutes a strongprima facie reason to conclude that there is little likelihood of filling in the story of Bechtel''s missing level in such a way as to bridge the gap between such homuncular functionalism and his own model of mechanistic explanation