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Toward a Unified Theory of Development Connectionism and Dynamic System Theory Re-Consider$
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John Spencer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195300598

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300598.001.0001

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Dynamic and Connectionist Approaches to Development: Toward a Future of Mutually Beneficial Coevolution

Dynamic and Connectionist Approaches to Development: Toward a Future of Mutually Beneficial Coevolution

Chapter:
(p.337) CHAPTER 17 Dynamic and Connectionist Approaches to Development: Toward a Future of Mutually Beneficial Coevolution
Source:
Toward a Unified Theory of Development Connectionism and Dynamic System Theory Re-Consider
Author(s):

Michael S. C. Thomas

James L. McClelland

Fiona M. Richardson

Anna C. Schapiro

Frank D. Baughman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300598.003.0017

A tension has existed between connectionism and dynamic systems theory (DST), and this chapter considers why this should be the case. The chapter argues that much of the tension arises from a tenet that the two approaches share: they both rely on the explicit, quantitative instantiation of ideas in mathematical or computational models. The use of such models is responsible for much of the theoretical progress generated by connectionism and DST beyond the theories of good old-fashioned cognitive development (GOFCD). But the use of explicit, quantitative models brings with it a new set of problems. The chapter discusses several consequences of the use of such models and considers three points of apparent disagreement between connectionism and DST.

Keywords:   connectionism, dynamic systems theory, good old-fashioned cognitive development, computational models

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