Inflating the social aspects of cognitive structural realism


Beni M.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, vol.11, no.3, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s13194-021-00401-5
  • Title of Journal : EUROPEAN JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
  • Keywords: Cognitive Structural Realism, Ronald Giere, Scientific representation, Social aspects of science, Free energy principle, Predictive coding, REPRESENTATIONS, COMMUNICATION, MODELS

Abstract

Inspired by Ronald Giere's (1989, 1992) cognitive approach to scientific models, Cognitive Structural Realism (CSR) has presented a naturalist account of scientific representation (Beni, 2019a). CSR characterises the structure of theories in terms of cognitive structures. These are informational structures embodied in the brains of (allegedly individual) scientists. CSR accounts for scientific representation in terms of the dynamical relationship between the organism and its environment. The proposal has been criticised on account of its negligence of social aspects of scientific practice. The present paper aims to chart out a reply to the objection. It shows that cognitive structures do not need to be put inside the brains of single individuals. Cognitive structures are redefined as extended structures in distributed cognitive systems (such as a scientific group) under Free Energy Principle.