The theory of mind (ToM) deficit associated with autism spectrum disorder has been a central topic in the debate about the modularity of the mind. In a series of papers, Philip Gerrans and Valerie Stone argue that positing a ToM module does not best explain the deficits exhibited by individuals with autism (Gerrans 2002; Stone & Gerrans 2006a, 2006b; Gerrans & Stone 2008). In this paper, I first criticize Gerrans and Stone’s (2008) account. Second, I discuss various studies of individuals (...) with autism and argue that they are best explained by positing a higher-level, domain-specific ToM module. (shrink)
The problem of mental causation in contemporary philosophy of mind concerns the possibility of holding two different views that are in apparent tension. The first is physicalism, the view that there is nothing more to the world than the physical. The second is that the mental has genuine causal efficacy in a way that does not reduce to pure physical particle-bumping. This article provides a historical background to this question, with focus on Davidson’s anomalous monism and Kim’s causal exclusion problem. (...) Responses to causal exclusion are categorized in terms of six different argumentative strategies. In conclusion, caution is advised regarding the inclination to reduce the mental to the physical and sketch a positive direction for substantively characterizing mental causation by recourse to well-confirmed accounts of causation coupled with empirical research. (shrink)
This article discusses the properties of a controllable, flexible, hybrid parallel computing architecture that potentially merges pattern recognition and arithmetic. Humans perform integer arithmetic in a fundamentally different way than logic-based computers. Even though the human approach to arithmetic is both slow and inaccurate it can have substantial advantages when useful approximations ( intuition ) are more valuable than high precision. Such a computational strategy may be particularly useful when computers based on nanocomponents become feasible because it offers a way (...) to make use of the potential power of these massively parallel systems. Because the system architecture is inspired by neuroscience and is applied to cognitive problems, occasional mention is made of experimental data from both fields when appropriate. (shrink)
b>. Recent findings in cognitive science suggest that the epistemic subject is more complex and epistemically porous than is generally pictured. Human knowers are open to the world via multiple channels, each operating for particular purposes and according to its own logic. These findings need to be understood and addressed by the philosophical community. The current essay argues that one consequence of the new findings is to invalidate certain arguments for epistemic anti-realism.
When proponents of cognitive externalism (CE) turn to empirical studies in cognitive science to put the framework to use and to assess its explanatory success, they typically refer to perception, memory, or motor coordination. In contrast, not much has been said about reasoning. One promising avenue to explore in this respect is the theory of bounded rationality (BR). To clarify the relationship between CE and BR, we criticize Andy Clark's understanding of BR, as well as his claim that BR does (...) not fit his version of CE. We then propose and defend a version of CE—“scaffolded cognition”—that is not committed to constitutive claims about the mind, but still differs from mainstream internalism. Finally, we analyze BR from our own CE perspective, thereby clarifying its vague appeals to the environment, and argue that cognitive internalism cannot explain important aspects of the BR program. (shrink)
Mind and Matter is conceived as an interdisciplinary journal, aimed at an educated readership interested in all aspects of mind-matter research from the perspectives of the sciences and humanities. It is devoted to the publication of empirical, theoretical, and conceptual research and the discussion of its results. The main subject areas of the journal are -- neuroscience, cognitive science, behavioral science -- physical approaches, mathematical modeling, data analysis -- philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, applied metaphysics --cultural and social studies, (...) history of ideas. (shrink)
van der Velde & de Kamps make a case for neural blackboard architectures to address four questions raised by human language. Unfortunately, they neglect a sizable literature relating blackboard architectures to other fundamental cognitive questions, specifically consciousness and voluntary control. Called “global workspace theory,” this literature integrates a large body of brain and behavioral evidence to come to converging conclusions.
Analogical cognition refers to the ability to detect, process, and learn from relational similarities. The study of analogical and similarity cognition is widely considered one of the ‘success stories’ of cognitive science, exhibiting convergence across many disciplines on foundational questions. Given the centrality of analogy to mind and knowledge, it would benefit philosophers investigating topics in epistemology and the philosophies of mind and language to become familiar with empirical models of analogical cognition. The goal of this essay is to describe (...) recent empirical work on analogical cognition as well as model applications to philosophical topics. Topics to be discussed include the epistemological distinction between implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge, the debate between empiricists and nativists, the frame problem, expertise, creativity and autism, cognitive architecture, and relational knowledge. Particular attention is given to Dedre Gentner and colleague’s structure-mapping theory – the most developed and widely accepted model of analogical cognition. (shrink)
Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis—that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas (e.g., seeAtran , Barrett [2004; 2012], Bering , Boyer , Guthrie , McCauley , Pyysiäinen [2004; 2009]). In this paper, we explore whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the atheist position—whether, for example, it lends (...) credence to atheism by explaining away religious belief or whether it actually strengthens some already powerful arguments against atheism in the relevant philosophical literature.We argue that the recent discoveries of CSR hurt, not help, the atheist position—that CSR, if anything, should not give atheists epistemic assurance. (shrink)
The Phenomenological Mind, by Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zahavi, is part of a recent initiative to show that phenomenology, classically conceived as the tradition inaugurated by Edmund Husserl and not as mere introspection, contributes something important to cognitive science. (For other examples, see “References” below.) Phenomenology, of course, has been a part of cognitive science for a long time. It implicitly informs the works of Andy Clark (e.g. 1997) and John Haugeland (e.g. 1998), and Hubert Dreyfus explicitly uses it (e.g. (...) 1992). But where the former use phenomenology in the background as broad context and Dreyfus uses it primarily (though not exclusively) as a critique of conventional AI, Gallagher and Zahavi wish to indicate a positive and constructive place for it within cognitive science. They do not recommend that we simply accept pronouncements of thinkers like Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau‐Ponty and apply them to questions of cognition, but that we use revised forms of phenomenology to illuminate dimensions of cognitive experience that are missing in current research. The book is presented as an “introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science” written from a phenomenological perspective. It seeks to justify the use of phenomenology in cognitive science by showing what kinds of questions it asks and answers, the variety of uses to which it has recently been put and the fruitfulness of some of its findings. The catalog of topics, for the most part, matches other introductions to the philosophy of mind, such as questions of method, consciousness, perception, intentionality, embodiment, action, agency and other minds. One issue presented here that is not generally dealt with in existing philosophy of mind and cognitive science texts is temporality, a mainstay of the continental tradition. After an introductory chapter that places phenomenology in the context of other approaches, the book lays out the main tenets of phenomenological method. Here, one encounters expected components of phenomenology: the epoché (described below), phenomenological reduction, eidetic variation, and so on. This traditional fare is soon followed by some potential surprises, namely, attempts to “naturalize” phenomenology, a few attempts to formalize it, and the emergence of ‘neurophenomenology’. Each of these is a bit surprising because Husserl was a vocal critic of naturalism, seeing transcendental phenomenology as an alternative to the empirical study of consciousness. He was also skeptical about the possibilities of mathematizing phenomenology. Gallagher and Zahavi acknowledge these points, but since they are not repeating history or undertaking exegesis, strict adherence to canonical phenomenology is not required. Naturalizing phenomenology means recognizing that “the phenomena it studies are part of nature and are therefore also open to empirical investigation” (p.. (shrink)
Although philosophy has been only a minor contributor to cognitive science to date, this paper describes two projects in naturalistic philosophy of mind and one in naturalistic philosophy of science that have been pursued during the past 30 years and that can make theoretical and methodological contributions to cognitive science. First, stances on the mind–body problem (identity theory, functionalism, and heuristic identity theory) are relevant to cognitive science as it negotiates its relation to neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience. Second, analyses of (...) mental representations address both their vehicles and their contents; new approaches to characterizing how representations have content are particularly relevant to understanding the relation of cognitive agents to their environments. Third, the recently formulated accounts of mechanistic explanation in philosophy of science both provide perspective on the explanatory project of cognitive science and may offer normative guidance to cognitive science (e.g., by providing perspective on how multiple disciplinary perspectives can be integrated in understanding a given mechanism). (shrink)
Philosophy of science is positioned to make distinctive contributions to cognitive science by providing perspective on its conceptual foundations and by advancing normative recommendations. The philosophy of science I embrace is naturalistic in that it is grounded in the study of actual science. Focusing on explanation, I describe the recent development of a mechanistic philosophy of science from which I draw three normative consequences for cognitive science. First, insofar as cognitive mechanisms are information-processing mechanisms, cognitive science needs an account of (...) how the representations invoked in cognitive mechanisms carry information about contents, and I suggest that control theory offers the needed perspective on the relation of representations to contents. Second, I argue that cognitive science requires, but is still in search of, a catalog of cognitive operations that researchers can draw upon in explaining cognitive mechanisms. Last, I provide a new perspective on the relation of cognitive science to brain sciences, one which embraces both reductive research on neural components that figure in cognitive mechanisms and a concern with recomposing higher-level mechanisms from their components and situating them in their environments. (shrink)
1. The Naturalistic Turn in Philosophy of Science 2. The Framework of Mechanistic Explanation: Parts, Operations, and Organization 3. Representing and Reasoning About Mechanisms 4. Mental Mechanisms: Mechanisms that Process Information 5. Discovering Mental Mechanisms 6 . Summary.
Susan Carey’s account of bootstrapping aims to explain how important new concepts are learned. After arguing that Carey’s own formulations of bootstrapping fail in this aim, I critically evaluate three reformulations of bootstrapping that may have a better chance at success.
Constructivist theory must choose between the hypothesis that felt perturbation drives cognitive development (the priority of felt perturbation) and the hypothesis that the particular process that eventually produces new cognitive structures first produces felt perturbation (the continuity of process). There is ambivalence in Piagetian theory regarding this choice. The prevalent account of constructivist theory adopts the priority of felt perturbation. However, on occasion Piaget has explicitly rejected it, simultaneously endorsing the continuity of process. First, I explicate and support this latter (...) position, arguing that felt perturbation emerges after the construction of a new cognitive structure has already begun. Next, I discuss the broader significance of rejecting the priority of felt perturbation in terms of a distinction between two types of theory of effective change, labeled Lamarckian and Darwinian in analogy with familiar theories of evolutionary change. Rejecting the priority of felt perturbation allows the development of a Darwinian perspective. In turn, the Darwinian perspective offers advantages for elaborating the analogy Piaget proposed between consciousness and the relation of form and content. (shrink)
Nuyen (this journal, vol 20, no. 4) contrasts "objectivity" in the natural science with a relation of "understanding" between knower and object in the human sciences. I present a different approach to natural science--a perspective in which the objects of the natural sciences are constructions that arise out of the interaction of the knower and the knowable world. From this perspective, it is inappropriate to to distinguish between the natural sciences and the human sciences in the way Nuyen does. Instead, (...) the crucial point is that if the human sciences refrain from abstractions and generalizations in favor of the particularities of objects and situations, then they must employ some other way to constitute a separation between theory and data in order for the work to be "scientific" as that term is used in regard to the natural sciences. (shrink)
Constructivism is the most recent in a long line of failed attempts to discredit nativism. It seeks support from true (but irrelevant) facts, wastes its energy on straw men, and jumps logical gaps; but its greatest weakness lies in its failure to match nativism's explanation of a wide range of disparate phenomena, particularly in language acquisition.
What does The Simpsons have to say about this issue? Most likely, absolutely nothing. The Simpsons is a fine television show, but it’s not where to look for innovative ideas in cognitive neuroscience or the philosophy of mind. We think, however, that it can help give us insight into a related, and extremely important, issue. We might learn through this show something about common-sense metaphysics, about how people naturally think about consciousness, the brain and the soul.
The development of cognitive science is one of the most remarkable and fascinating intellectual achievements of the modern era. The quest to understand the mind is as old as recorded human thought; but the progress of modern science has offered new methods and techniques which have revolutionized this enquiry. Oxford University Press now presents a masterful history of cognitive science, told by one of its most eminent practitioners. -/- Cognitive science is the project of understanding the mind by modelling its (...) workings. Psychology is its heart, but it draws together various adjoining fields of research, including artificial intelligence; neuroscientific study of the brain; philosophical investigation of mind, language, logic, and understanding; computational work on logic and reasoning; linguistic research on grammar, semantics, and communication; and anthropological explorations of human similarities and differences. Each discipline, in its own way, asks what the mind is, what it does, how it works, how it developed - how it is even possible. The key distinguishing characteristic of cognitive science, Boden suggests, compared with older ways of thinking about the mind, is the notion of understanding the mind as a kind of machine. She traces the origins of cognitive science back to Descartes's revolutionary ideas, and follows the story through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the pioneers of psychology and computing appear. Then she guides the reader through the complex interlinked paths along which the study of the mind developed in the twentieth century. Cognitive science, in Boden's broad conception, covers a wide range of aspects of mind: not just 'cognition' in the sense of knowledge or reasoning, but emotion, personality, social communication, and even action. In each area of investigation, Boden introduces the key ideas and the people who developed them. -/- No one else could tell this story as Boden can: she has been an active participant in cognitive science since the 1960s, and has known many of the key figures personally. Her narrative is written in a lively, swift-moving style, enriched by the personal touch of someone who knows the story at first hand. Her history looks forward as well as back: it is her conviction that cognitive science today - and tomorrow - cannot be properly understood without a historical perspective. Mind as Machine will be a rich resource for anyone working on the mind, in any academic discipline, who wants to know how our understanding of our mental activities and capacities has developed. (shrink)
In spite of of its name, cognitive science is not yet a fully coherent and integrated science but rather a fairly loose coalition of largely independent disciplines, some descriptive and empirical (cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, cognitive anthropology), some speculative and foundational (philosophy), others both speculative and applied (artificial intelligence). What brought these disciplines together and still sustains their interdisciplinary cooperation is the dedication to explain, simulate and technically reproduce the workings of the human mind according to a distinct and rather (...) well defined research program. This program has been so far the animating spirit and the integrative force in the formation and development of cognitive science. I will call it the 'core program.' Around the core program there is a much looser and less coherent outer paradigm, or set of paradigms, which historically has prepared the ground for the core program, to which the participating disciplines have contributed their insights, results and methods, and still do, and from which challenges to the core program have emerged and are likely to do so in the future. (shrink)
Cognitive anthropology contributes to cognitive science as a complement to cognitive psychology. The chief threat to its survival has not been rejection by other cognitive scientists but by other cultural anthropologists. It will remain a part of cognitive science as long as cognitive anthropologists research, teach, and publish.
Some of Kant's ideas about the mind have had a huge influence on cognitive science, in particular his view that sensory input has to be worked up using concepts or concept-like states and his conception of the mind as a system of cognitive functions. We explore these influences in the first part of the paper. Other ideas of Kant's about the mind have not been assimilated into cognitive science, including important ideas about processes of synthesis, mental unity, and consciousness and (...) self-consciousness. They are the topic of the second part of the paper. (shrink)
Perceptual tasks such as object matching, mammogram interpretation, mental rotation, and satellite imagery change detection often require the assignment of correspondences to fuse information across views. We apply techniques developed for machine translation to the gaze data recorded from a complex perceptual matching task modeled after fingerprint examinations. The gaze data provide temporal sequences that the machine translation algorithm uses to estimate the subjects' assumptions of corresponding regions. Our results show that experts and novices have similar surface behavior, such as (...) the number of fixations made or the duration of fixations. However, the approach applied to data from experts is able to identify more corresponding areas between two prints. The fixations that are associated with clusters that map with high probability to corresponding locations on the other print are likely to have greater utility in a visual matching task. These techniques address a fundamental problem in eye tracking research with perceptual matching tasks: Given that the eyes always point somewhere, which fixations are the most informative and therefore are likely to be relevant for the comparison task? (shrink)
Humans and other animals are capable of thought, emotion, consciousness, and understanding. Galaxies, trees, rocks, and chairs are not. Why is this? Is it merely that we are more complicated, or that we are made out of a different kind of material? Or is it that we are not entirely material at all? That is, what does it mean to say that something has a mind? In this course, we will focus on the mind-body problem, the question of how the (...) mind is related to the body, but we will also address a number of related questions: Can computers think? How is it that our thoughts manage to be about other things? What is the nature of consciousness? What do psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence have to tell us about the fundamental nature of the mind? (shrink)
Some issues heavily debated in perception sciences are presented: the explanatory gap and the experience measurement problem. The experimental phenomenology is said to provide substantive contribution to settle controversy over the phenome- nological adequacy of perception theory and models. An interpretation of experi- mental phenomenology as explanation of the perceptual manifold, and definition of relation varieties to eventually map onto other perception sciences’ domains is sketched.
This paper tries to sketch what phenomenological constraints for Neurosciences would be looking like. It maintains that such an adequate phenomenological description as that provided by Gestalt psychology is a condition for the Neurosciences to account for every-day experience opf the world. The explanatory gap in Cognitive sciences is discussed with reference to Jackendoff, Prinz, and Köhler.
This paper deals with two theories Husserl worked out on imagery in order to see if the properties a phenomenological description ascribes to imagery are fit to give meaningful constraints upon theoretical models that guide empirical research. Husserlian descriptions and Kosslyn and colleagues models are hence compared as to their explanatory strategy and implications.
Commentaries on our target article raise further questions about the validity of an undifferentiated central executive that supplies resources to all verbal tasks. Working memory tasks are more likely to measure divided attention capacities and the efficiency of performing tasks within specific domains than a shared resource pool. In our response to the commentaries, we review and further expand upon empirical findings that relate performance on working memory tasks to sentence processing, concluding that our view that the two are not (...) strongly related remains viable in light of the material presented in the commentaries. We suggest that a productive research enterprise would be to develop the concept of working memory as a pool of resources in relation to specific tasks. (shrink)