Grounding Social Sciences in Cognitive Sciences

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Ron Sun
MIT Press, 2012 - Science - 455 pages
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Research in the cognitive sciences has advanced significantly in recent decades. Computational cognitive modeling has profoundly changed the ways in which we understand cognition. Empirical research has progressed as well, offering new insights into many psychological phenomena. This book investigates the possibility of exploiting the successes of the cognitive sciences to establish a better foundation for the social sciences, including the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science. The result may be a new, powerful, integrative intellectual enterprise: the cognitive social sciences. The book treats a range of topics selected to capture issues that arise across the social sciences, covering computational, empirical, and theoretical approaches. The chapters, by leading scholars in both the cognitive and the social sciences, explore the relationship between cognition and society, including such issues as methodologies of studying cultural differences; the psychological basis of politics (for instance, the role of emotion and the psychology of moral choices); cognitive dimensions of religion; cognitive approaches to economics; meta-theoretical questions on the possibility of the unification of social and cognitive sciences. Combining depth and breadth, the book encourages fruitful interdisciplinary interaction across many fields.

 

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Contents

II CULTURE
33
III POLITICS
125
IV RELIGION
207
V ECONOMICS
285
VI UNIFYING PERSPECTIVES
385
Contributors
445
Index
447
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About the author (2012)

Dr. Ron Sun is Professor of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A well-known researcher in the field of cognitive science, Sun explores the fundamental structure of the human mind and aims for the synthesis of many interesting intellectual ideas into one coherent model of cognition. The goal is to form a generic cognitive architecture that captures a variety of cognitive processes in a unified way and thus to provide unified explanations for a wide range of cognitive data. To do so, for the past two decades, he has been advocating the use of hybrid connectionist-symbolic systems in developing cognitive models and he has been developing theories of human skill learning and human everyday reasoning as the centerpieces of the cognitive architecture.

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