Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
van Gelder: The dynamical hypothesis

Digital computers versus dynamical systems: A conflation of distinctions

Gerard O'Brien a1
a1 Department of Philosophy, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia


The distinction at the heart of van Gelder's target article is one between digital computers and dynamical systems, but this distinction conflates two more fundamental distinctions in cognitive science that should be kept apart. When this conflation is undone, it becomes apparent that the computational hypothesis is not as dominant in contemporary cognitive science as van Gelder contends; nor has the dynamical hypothesis been neglected.