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Unified theories of cognition is a book written by Allen Newell in 1987. Newell argues for the need of a set of general assumptions for cognitive models that account for all of cognition: a unified theory of cognition (UTC).
A UTC must explain how intelligent organisms flexibly react to stimuli from the environment, how they exhibit goal-directed behaviour and acquire goals rationally, how they represent knowledge (or which symbols they use), and learning.
Newell's UTC argues that the mind functions as a single system. He also claims the established cognitive models are vastly underdetermined by experimental data. Therefore, a UTC accounting for the experimental data would provide constraints on the modeling process, resulting in more rigorous and predictive models. A UTC could also be applied as theoretical constructs to a much wider range of cognitive phenomena. When a phenomenon cannot plausibly be explained by the UTC's mechanisms, it could indicate the UTC is wrong.
- Newell, A. (1994).Unified Theories of Cognition, Harvard University Press; Reprint edition, ISBN 0-674-92101-1.
- Newell, A. (1973). "You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win: Projective comments on the papers of this symposium". In W. G. Chase (ed.), Visual Information Processing. New York: Academic Press. (Read article online.)
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