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Synthese

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Make up your mind: octopus cognition and hybrid explanations

  • Sidney Carls-DiamanteEmail author
S.I.: Explanations in Cognitive Science: Unification vs Pluralism

Abstract

In order to argue that cognitive science should be more accepting of explanatory plurality, this paper presents the control of fetching movements in the octopus as an exemplar of a cognitive process that comprises distinct and non-redundant representation-using and non-representational elements. Fetching is a type of movement that representational analyses can normally account for completely—but not in the case of the octopus. Instead, a comprehensive account of octopus fetching requires the non-overlapping use of both representational and non-representational explanatory frameworks. What this need for a pluralistic or hybrid explanation implies is that cognitive science should be more open to using both representational and non-representational accounts of cognition, depending on their respective appropriateness to the type of cognition in question.

Keywords

Hybrid explanations Explanatory pluralism Octopus cognition 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the following people for their comments and feedback: Glenn Carruthers, Emily C. Parke, Iván Gonzalez-Cabrera, and the anonymous reviewers of this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI)KlosterneuburgAustria

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