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Mechanistic and ecological explanations in agent-based models of cognition

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5 Author(s)

We argue that two styles of explanation—mechanistic and ecological—are needed in accounting for the behaviour of synthetic agents. An emphasis on mechanistic explanation in some current ALife models is identified, and parallels are drawn with issues in the philosophy of mind literature. We conclude that ecological or agent-level explanation does not come with representational baggage, and that mechanistic explanations cannot stand alone.