[CogSci] CFP: The Problem of Cognitive Ontology, Dec 15th

Thompson, Morgan Kelsey MOT14 at pitt.edu
Wed Nov 13 09:17:43 PST 2019

The Problem of Cognitive Ontology: Implications for Scientific Knowledge

March 27 – March 28
Center for Philosophy of Science
1117 and 1008 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA USA


Functional brain imaging studies try to map patterns of activation to cognitive functions, and usually rely upon functional task decomposition based on hypotheses derived from intuition and cognitive psychology. The tasks we postulate constitute a cognitive ontology. What is the epistemic status of these functional commitments? Do we have reason to believe they accurately track the fundamental building blocks of cognition? Does the idea that cognition has fundamental building blocks have merit? Is there a way to bootstrap ourselves out of mistaken theories, or are the methods of neuroimaging ill-suited to alert us to mistaken views? Can other areas of neuroscience help constrain our ontologies? What is the upshot of the issues for gaining knowledge from neuroimaging studies and for theories of scientific realism more generally? This interdisciplinary conference will focus upon these questions and their philosophical implications, and will explore possible methods for addressing these philosophical concerns, such as data-driven discovery methods for cognitive functions. We invite scholars from philosophy and the neurosciences to submit proposals for submitted talks and encourage all participants to think broadly and outside the box about these fundamental epistemological issues in neuroscience.

Abstract submission deadline: December 15, 2019

Please submit a short abstract of 250-300 words.
Abstracts will be anonymously refereed and results communicated to authors by mid-January 2020.

Abstract submission is electronic. Please go to:


If you do not have an EasyChair account you must create one on entering the site. After logging in, click the ‘New Submission’ link and add your abstract. You can revise your submission any number of times before the deadline.

Registration, travel, accommodations, and further information will be posted on the conference website:  https://www.pitt.edu/~pittcntr/Events/All/Conferences/others/other_conf_2019-20/other_conferences_2019-20.html

Further inquiries may be addressed to Morgan Thompson (mot14 at pitt.edu<mailto:mot14 at pitt.edu>).


Michael Anderson, Western University

Carl Craver, Washington University
Joseph McCaffrey, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Russ Poldrack, Stanford University

Jackie Sullivan, Western University

Adina Roskies, Dartmouth College

Trey Boone, University of Pittsburgh

Mazviita Chirimuuta, University of Pittsburgh

Edouard Machery, University of Pittsburgh

Zina Ward, University of Pittsburgh

The Center for Philosophy of Science

Morgan Thompson
PhD Candidate
History and Philosophy of Science

Program Assistant

Center for Philosophy of Science
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