Cognitive Architectures and Rational Analysis: Comment

Abstract : John Anderson has written a provocative chapter whose thesis may be oversimplified to read: To understand the behavior of an adaptive organism, don't study the organism; study its environment. To claim that architecture is more notation than substance is to make the same claim for the brain -- the fact that it supports adaptive behavior makes unnecessary any curiosity about how it operates. The exact way in which neurons accomplish their functions is not important -- not only their functional capabilities and the organization of these. Nothing else will show through to 'behavior'. But what does show through is precisely what we have been calling 'architecture'. And for that reason architecture is by no means all notation; it has real substance in its effects on behavior. In my view, Anderson assigns too little weight to architecture (and by implication to strategies) as determinants of adaptive behavior. Keywords: Cognitive architectures; Rationality; Optimization; Cognitive processes; Adaptation.