The Dynamical Challenge
Recent studies such as Thelen and Smith (1994), Kelso (1995), Van Gelder (1995), Beer (1995), and others have presented a forceful case for a dynamical systems approach to understanding cognition and adaptive behavior. These studies call into question some foundational assumptions concerning the nature of cognitive scientific explanation and (in particular) the role of notions such as internal representation and computation. These are exciting and important challenges. But they must be handled with care. It is all to easy in this debate to lose sight of the explanatorily important issues and to talk at cross purposes, courtesy of the (suprisingly) various ways in which different theorists often concieve key terms.