Computation and Cognition: Toward a Foundation for Cognitive Science

The question, What is Cognitive Science? is often asked but seldom answered to anyone's satisfaction. Until now, most of the answers have come from the new breed of philosophers of mind. This book, however, is written by a distinguished psychologist and computer scientist who is well-known for his work on the conceptual foundations of cognitive science, and especially for his research on mental imagery, representation, and perception. In Computation and Cognition, Pylyshyn argues that computation must not be viewed as just a convenient metaphor for mental activity, but as a literal empirical hypothesis. Such a view must face a number of serious challenges. For example, it must address the question of strong equivalents of processes, and must empirically distinguish between phenomena which reveal what knowledge the organism has, phenomena which reveal properties of the biologically determined functional architecture of the mind. The principles and ideas Pylyshyn develops are applied to a number of contentious areas of cognitive science, including theories of vision and mental imagery. In illuminating such timely theoretical problems, he draws on insights from psychology, theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence, and psychology of mind. A Bradford Book