"Cognition" - Let's forget it?

Alan Costall


Abstract: For many psychologists, “cognition” is an obvious object for study. A natural kind. What I want to do in this article is problematise “cognition”. Psychologists lived happily without “cognition” until the 1960’s and even then, its entry into psychological discourse was hardly smooth. Furthermore, the new cognitive psychology retained much of the behaviourism it wrongly claimed to have displaced. There are now some radical developments going on in “cognitive science” but those involved still retain the term “cognition”. But isn’t it like modern physicists claiming that they are coming up with new theories of phlogiston? “Cognition” – forget it?

Keywords: Psychology; Cognition; Behaviourism; Cognitive Behaviourism; S-R Theory; Unconscious Mind


“Cognizione”: dobbiamo lasciarla perdere?

Riassunto: Per molti psicologi la “cognizione” è un oggetto di studio che rasenta l’ovvietà. Un genere naturale. Ciò che mi propongo di fare in questo articolo è problematizzare la “cognizione”. Gli psicologi hanno vissuto felicemente senza la “cognizione” fino agli Anni ’60 e anche allora la comparsa di questa nozione all’interno del lessico psicologico non è stata cosa semplice. Inoltre, la nuova psicologia cognitiva ha conservato molto di quel comportamentismo che ha affermato, sbagliando, di aver scalzato. Ci sono oggi alcuni sviluppi, anche radicali, che si affacciano nella “scienza cognitiva”, ma tutti quelli che sono coinvolti usano ancora il termine “cognizione”. Ma non è come se i fisici di oggi sostenessero di avere nuove teorie del flogisto? La “cognizione”: dobbiamo lasciarla perdere?

Parole chiave: Cognizione; Comportamentismo; Comportamentismo cognitivo; Teoria stimolo-risposta; Mente inconscia

Parole chiave

Psychology; Cognition; Behaviourism; Cognitive Behaviourism; S-R Theory; Unconscious Mind

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4453/rifp.2023.0010

Copyright (c) 2023 Alan Costall

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