Make up your mind: octopus cognition and hybrid explanations
by Sidney Carls-Diamante
Article in Synthese · January 2019 with 28 Reads
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.