An undisputable characteristic of cognitive science is its enormous diversity of theories. Not surprisingly, these often belong to different paradigms that focus on different processes and levels of analysis. A related problem is that researchers of cognition frequently seem to ascribe to incompatible approaches to research, creating a Tower of Babel of cognitive knowledge. This text presents a pragmatic model of meta-theoretical analysis, a theory conceived of to examine other theories, which allows cognitive theories to be described, integrated and compared. After a brief introduction to meta-theoretical analysis in cognitive science, the dynamic and structural components of a theory are described. The analysis of conceptual mappings between components and explanation strategies is also described, as well as the processes of intra-theory generalization and inter-theory comparison. The various components of the meta-theoretical model are presented with examples of different cognitive theories, mainly focusing on two current approaches to research: The dynamical approach to cognition and the computer metaphor of mind. Finally, two potential counter arguments to the model are presented and discussed.
- Computer metaphor, meta-theoretical analysis
- Conceptual mapping
- Contextualism, cognitive science
- Dynamical approaches to cognition
- Explanation strategies