"Pre-Cognitivism": Anticipations of Cognitive Science in the Early 20th Century

28 Mar 2004 15:54

This is not an altogether well-defined category in my mind. Roughly, I mean people active in the period 1900--1950 and who I can easily imagine embracing cognitivism, had it only been available, and in its absence tried to find more or less mechanistic or logical-computatinal approaches to studying thought; those who lit candles during the dual darkness of behaviorism and Freudianism. Of course, this is a whiggish and perhaps even anachronistic way of approaching these thinkers, sometimes a little whiggery is not amiss. And anyway one could ask, counterfactually, why these individuals and their efforts did not succeed in launching a science of human thought, or regard them as pointing out directions in which cognitive science could have, but did not, proceed (perhaps for good reasons!).