Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

May 2001


Published in Cognitive Science 25 (2001) 453–470. © 2001 Cognitive Science Society, Inc. Used by permission.


The aim of Schunn, Crowley and Okada’s (1998) study is to address the question of whether the current state of cognitive science, as represented by Cognitive Science and the Cognitive Science Society, “reflects the multidisciplinary ideals of its foundation.” To properly interpret and respond to their results, we need to ask a prior question: What is cognitive science’s multidisciplinary ideal? There are at least two conceptions—a “localist” conception, which seems to be implicit in Schunn, Crowley and Okada’s discussion, and a “holist” conception. I argue that while both have been endorsed by some cognitive scientists, there are reasons for preferring the holist conception. I then consider what Schunn, Crowley and Okada’s findings tell us about the state of cognitive science in light of a holist approach and report on an analysis of the journal’s contents which looks at the domain, subdomain, and cognitive capacity investigated.