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Psychology Cognitive Psychology

The Future of the Cognitive Revolution

edited by David Johnson & Christina Erneling

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 1997
Cognitive Psychology
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1997
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The basic idea of the particular way of understanding mental phenomena that has inspired the "cognitive revolution" is that, as a result of certain relatively recent intellectual and technological innovations, informed theorists now possess a more powerfully insightful comparison or model for mind than was available to any thinkers in the past. The model in question is that of software, or the list of rules for input, output, and internal transformations by which we determine and control the workings of a computing machine's hardware. Although this comparison and its many implications have dominated work in the philosophy, psychology, and neurobiology of mind since the end of the Second World War, it now shows increasing signs of losing its once virtually unquestioned preeminence. Thus we now face the question of whether it is possible to repair and save this model by means of relatively inessential "tinkering", or whether we must reconceive it fundamentally and replace it with something different. In this book, twenty-eight leading scholars from diverse fields of "cognitive science"-linguistics, psychology, neurophysiology, and philosophy- present their latest, carefully considered judgements about what they think will be the future course of this intellectual movement, that in many respects has been a watershed in our contemporary struggles to comprehend that which is crucially significant about human beings. Jerome Bruner, Noam Chomsky, Margaret Boden, Ulric Neisser, Rom Harre, Merlin Donald, among others, have all written chapters in a non-technical style that can be enjoyed and understood by an inter-disciplinary audience of psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists, linguists, and cognitive scientists alike.

About the authors

David Johnson, a professor of political science at Cape Breton University, has studied and taught Canadian politics, government, and the constitution for over thirty years. He is the author of Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada, 4th ed, a leading university textbook. His columns appear regularly in the Cape Breton Post. He lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

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Editorial Reviews

"Instructive and fun. A valuable supplement."--Choice


"The 25 chapters and related introductions in The Future of the Cognitive Revolution provide one of the finest compilations of current issues and perspectives within cognitive science. . . . [It] is written in clear and accessible language intended for a wide audience. The editors, Johnson and Erneling, provide masterful introductions to book sections and a general Introduction and Afterword that help the reader to have an overview and navigate through the book. The book could be used in an upper level undergraduate course or a graduate seminar on cognition, or subsets of chapters could be easily incorporated into graduate seminars in related disciplines. I highly recommend this book for new entrants into cognitive science as well as for seasoned researchers. This book should not be ignored."--Contemporary Psychology

"[T]he use of any formal language automatizes and standardizes human thinking. From that point of view, the computer is not a model or a partner for the human mind. It is only an invention that . . . supports human mental skills. If we assume that the chapters presented in parts four and five of The Future of the Cognitive Revolution are something that can influence the mainstream of cognitive science, then we can say that cognitive revolution has a future. This future is the realization that culture together with its psychophysical products . . . constitute the environment of individual minds, that we cannot separate human thought from human action in a particular environment: 'All action involves some amount of awareness, as well as vice versa' (270). Over and above all that, I may say that The Future of the Cognitive Revolution is a consistent collection of more than thirty very good papers written by outstanding authors."--Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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