PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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An Interventionist Analysis of Bayesian Cognitive Science

Recently, many cognitive scientists have modeled the mind using Bayesian decision theory. Yet there
is vigorous debate in the scientific and philosophical literature about the explanatory value (if
any) of Bayesian cognitive science. To what extent do Bayesian models help explain mental and
behavioral phenomena? I will tackle this question by drawing upon interventionist theories of causal explanation, as espoused by Woodward and Hitchcock. I will argue that Bayesian cognitive science offers numerous explanations that conform well to the interventionist template. I will contrast my interventionist approach with rival nomological and mechanistic conceptions of scientific explanation.

Author Information:

Michael Rescorla    

 

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