Loops and Recursions in Cognitive Science: Cross-Roads between Methodology and Epistemology

Florian Klauser, Urban Kordes
2018 Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems  
This article addresses the need for cognitive science to loop back and examine its roots and presuppositions, pointing out the three recursive issues: 1.) The observer effect or how observing a phenomenon affects the phenomenon that is being observed, an issue that has been acknowledged by natural science, which cognitive science attempts to emulate, and empirical phenomenology, but not cognitive science itself; 2.) Human kinds or how our research affects us, the researchers, and society
more » ... and society (people's self-understandings), an issue which forms a loop with the observer effectobservation thus changing the observed, the observer, as well as itself, and 3.) The dangers of over-eager extrapolation or how complexity is lost during shifts in explanatory level, issues pertaining to using findings from studies of one explanatory level (e.g. experiments with rats) to inform a different explanatory level (issues within human society). Finally, the article presents a fourth recursive loop which presents a potential solution to the above: a self-correcting mechanism that allows science to recursively correct its mistakes and improve on its own work. KEY WORDS observer effect, human kinds, recursion, looping effects, philosophy of science CLASSIFICATION JEL: D83, D84, Z19
doi:10.7906/indecs.16.4.1 fatcat:ygb7h2cojngcbm7m44n2yonneq