The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution

The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution

The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution

The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution


The first full-scale introduction to and history of cognitive science. An interdisciplinary study of the nature of knowledge by the noted cognitive scientist and author of Frames of Mind.


In the mid-1970s, I began to hear the term cognitive science. As a psychologist interested in cognitive matters, I naturally became curious about the methods and scope of this new science. When I was unable to find anything systematic written on the subject, and inquiries to colleagues left me confused, I decided to probe further. Some immersion in the writings of self-proclaimed cognitive scientists convinced me that cognitive science was deeply rooted in philosophy and therefore, in a sense, had a long history. At the same time, the field was so new that its leading figures were all alive, and some of them were still quite young.

I decided that it would be useful and rewarding to undertake a study in which I would rely heavily on the testimony of those scholars who had founded the field as well as those who were at present its most active workers. But in lieu of an oral history or a journalistic account of current laboratory work (both of which subsequently were undertaken by other authors), I decided to make a comprehensive investigation of cognitive science in which I could include the long view--the philosophical origins, the histories of each of the respective fields, the current work that appears most central, and my own assessment of the prospects for this ambitious field.

It had not escaped my attention that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation was a major supporter of work in the cognitive sciences. I therefore approached its program officer Kenneth Klivington about the possibility of writing a history of cognitive science. To my delight, the Foundation proved receptive, and I began my formal study at the beginning of 1981. I want to express my gratitude to the entire administration of the Sloan Foundation, and to its two responsible program officers, Kenneth Klivington and Eric Wanner, who were totally supportive of my efforts to carry through this somewhat risky undertaking.

In the course of my study, I interviewed formally, or conducted informal discussions with, dozens of cognitive scientists in this country and . . .

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