This site contains materials related to debates in Cognitive Science. It is intended to support the preparation of a book directed at the general public, and also as a resource for other scholars. Contributions are welcome and encouraged, especially from those who took part in or witnessed these debates. These contributions might be archival materials, or observations – I’d be particularly happy to have them in a public-facing form that I can use on this website or in the book.  I can be reached at pater@umass.edu, and my own research website is here.

For nativists, the Pinker and Prince critique of Rumelhart and McClelland was a replay of Chomsky’s (1959) critique of Skinner. From this perspective, both episodes involved turning back attempts to reduce language to “associations.”

On the PDP side, the past tense debate was a replay of a different event, Minsky and Papert’s (1969) critique of perceptrons. From this perspective, both episodes involved authoritative but ultimately mistaken overstatements about the limitations of neural networks based on analyses of specific cases.

Seidenberg and Plaut (2014: 1217)