Sunday, June 03, 2012

What is Paul Thagard reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Paul Thagard, author of The Cognitive Science of Science: Explanation, Discovery, and Conceptual Change.

His entry begins:
Much of my academic reading these days is connected to a long-term project to build a cognitive social science that explains social phenomena using mechanisms that operate at many levels. I recently read Randall Collin’s impressive Interaction Ritual Chains, which provides a rich account of how group interactions in many domains, e.g. religion, politics, and everyday life, can produce changes in group solidarity and standards by increasing emotional energy. These social mechanisms complement well the psychological, neural, and molecular mechanisms for emotion that I have been...[read on]
About The Cognitive Science of Science, from the publisher:
Many disciplines, including philosophy, history, and sociology, have attempted to make sense of how science works. In this book, Paul Thagard examines scientific development from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. Cognitive science combines insights from researchers in many fields: philosophers analyze historical cases, psychologists carry out behavioral experiments, neuroscientists perform brain scans, and computer modelers write programs that simulate thought processes.

Thagard develops cognitive perspectives on the nature of explanation, mental models, theory choice, and resistance to scientific change, considering disbelief in climate change as a case study. He presents a series of studies that describe the psychological and neural processes that have led to breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology. He shows how discoveries of new theories and explanations lead to conceptual change, with examples from biology, psychology, and medicine. Finally, he shows how the cognitive science of science can integrate descriptive and normative concerns; and he considers the neural underpinnings of certain scientific concepts.
Learn more about The Cognitive Science of Science at The MIT Press website.

Visit Paul Thagard's University of Waterloo faculty webpage and blog for Psychology Today.

The Page 99 Test: The Brain and the Meaning of Life.

The Page 99 Test: The Cognitive Science of Science.

Writers Read: Paul Thagard.

--Marshal Zeringue