What future for cognitive science(s)?

Sara Dellantonio, Luigi Pastore


Abstract: In this introduction to the thematic issue on the future of the cognitive science(s), we examine how challenges and uncertainties surrounding the past and present of this discipline make it difficult to chart its future. We focus on two main questions. The first is whether cognitive science is a single unified field or inherently pluralistic. This question can be asked at various levels: First, with respect to the disciplines that should be included in the cognitive hexagon and their reciprocal relationships: should we speak of cognitive science or of the cognitive sciences? Second, with regard to the conceptual and methodological changes (turns or revolutions) that have taken place within the cognitive project from its inception to the present day. Third, it pertains to cognitive psychology as a discipline. Before the emergence of cognitive science psychology was a fragmented discipline characterized by different traditions and approaches: has cognitive science been able to stem this fragmentation? Finally, we can question the unity of the cognitive architecture itself: is cognition produced by homogeneous or heterogenous mechanisms for information processing? We show that the issue of unity is addressed by several of the papers included in this thematic issue. In the second part of this introduction, we query the role that each component discipline should play in the cognitive project and in particular which should lead the project going forward, and why. Again, we show how this issue has been tackled by several articles featured in this collection.

Keywords: Future of Cognitive Science; Cognitive Psychology; Pluralism and Cognitive Science; Philosophy and Cognitive Science; Fragmentation of Psychology


Quale futuro per la scienza cognitiva?

Riassunto: In questa introduzione al fascicolo tematico dedicato al futuro della scienza cognitiva prendiamo in considerazione sfide e incertezze che caratterizzano il passato e il presente di questa disciplina, rendendo difficile prevedere il suo futuro. Due le questioni principali su cui concentriamo l’attenzione. La prima: la scienza cognitiva è un ambito unitario o intrinsecamente pluralistico? Questo problema si manifesta a diversi livelli. In primo luogo, riguarda le discipline che dovrebbero comporre l’esagono cognitivo e le loro relazioni reciproche: dovremmo parlare di scienza cognitiva o di scienze cognitive? In secondo luogo, riguarda le trasformazioni (svolte o rivoluzioni) concettuali e metodologiche avvenute all’interno di questo progetto dalla sua nascita fino ai giorni nostri. In terzo luogo, riguarda la psicologia cognitiva. Prima della nascita della scienza cognitiva la psicologia era una disciplina frammentaria caratterizzata da diverse tradizioni e approcci: possiamo dire che la scienza cognitiva abbia posto rimedio a tale frammentazione? Infine, il problema dell’unità sorge anche in relazione all’architettura cognitiva stessa, considerando che la cognizione potrebbe o potrebbe non essere prodotta da meccanismi omogenei di elaborazione delle informazioni. Nella presentazione che segue si cerca di mostrare come l’unità, in tutte queste varianti, sia una questione affrontata da diversi articoli presenti in questo fascicolo tematico. Nella seconda parte di questa introduzione prendiamo in considerazione il problema del ruolo che ciascuna disciplina componente dovrebbe svolgere nel progetto cognitivo e, in particolare, quale dovrebbe guidare il progetto e perché, ponendo in evidenza come anche questa sia una questione centrale, tematizzata da diversi lavori presentati in questo fascicolo.

Parole chiave: Futuro della scienza cognitiva; Psicologia cognitiva; Pluralismo e scienza cognitiva; Filosofia e scienza cognitiva; Frammentazione della psicologia

Parole chiave

Future of Cognitive Science; Cognitive Psychology; Pluralism and Cognitive Science; Philosophy and Cognitive Science; Fragmentation of Psychology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4453/rifp.2023.0001

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