Philosophy of Science:

An Overview for Cognitive Science

William Bechtel

Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988

Chapters with links are now available on the web. A more recent treatment of the topics in chapters 5 and 6 can be found in Bechtel, W. and Hamilton, A. 2007). Reductionism, integration, and the unity of the sciences. T. Kuipers (ed.), Philosophy of Science: Focal Issues (Volume 1 of the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science). New York: Elsevier.


1. The Locus of Philosophy of Science

Introduction: What is Philosophy of Science?
Areas of Philosophy that Bear on Philosophy of Science

2. Logical Positivism: The Received View in Philosopy of Science

Introduction: The Origins of Logical Positivism
The Verifiability Theory of Meaning
The Deductive-Nomological Model of Explanation and the Hypothetico-Deductive Model of Theory Development
The Axiomatic Account of Theories
Summary of Logical Positivism

3. Challenges to Logical Positivism

Introduction: Challenges to Specific Theses of Logical Positivism
The Attack on Confirmation
Repudiation of the Deductive-Nomological Model of Explanation
Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction
A Challenge to the Observation-Theory Distinction
Overview of the Criticisms of Positivism

4. Post-Positivist Philosophy of Science

The Emergence of Historically Grounded Philosophy of Science
Kuhn's Challenge: Nomral and Revolutionary Science
Feyerabend's Attack on Method
Lakatosian Research Programs
Laudan's Research Traditions
Studies of Scientific Discovery
Summary of Post-Positivist Philosophy of Science

5. Theory Reduction as a Model for Relating Disciplines

Introduction: Relationg Disciplines by Relating Theories
The Theory-Reduction Model and the Unity of Science Program
Arguments Against Trying to Reduce Psychology to Neuroscience
Reduction as Facilitating the Co-Evolution of Psychology and Neuroscience
Implications of the Theory-Reduction Model for Relatiing Psychology and Neuroscience

6. An Alternative Model for Integrating Disciplines

Introduction: The Desire for an Alternative Model
Shortcomings of the Theory Reduction Model
Darden and Maull's Conception of Interfield Theories
Interfield Theories between Cognitive Science and Neuroscience
Interfield Theories with Cognitive Science
Conclusions Concerning Cross-Disciplinary Research



Author Index

Subject Index