A nonclassical framework for cognitive science

Terence Horgan, John Tienson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


David Marr provided a useful framework for theorizing about cognition within classical, AI-style cognitive science, in terms of three levels of description: the levels of (i) cognitive function, (ii) algorithm and (iii) physical implementation. We generalize this framework: (i) cognitive state transitions, (ii) mathematical/functional design and (iii) physical implementation or realization. Specifying the middle, design level to be the theory of dynamical systems yields a nonclassical, alternative framework that suits (but is not committed to) connectionism. We consider how a brain's (or a network's) being a dynamical system might be the key both to its realizing various essential features of cognition - productivity, systematicity, structure-sensitive processing, syntax - and also to a non-classical solution of (frame-type) problems plaguing classical cognitive science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-345
Number of pages41
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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