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Abstract
Beer’s (2003) paper is a tour de force of detailed comments on the more general notion of “situated- dynamical modeling, and provides a concrete sample ness”, Beer suggests that “on this view, situated action of the kinds of understanding dynamicists may realis- is the fundamental concern and cognition is … one tically hope to achieve. The analysis is thus, as Beer resource among many that can be brought to bear as an states, a “tool for building intuition”, and in this it suc- agent encounters its world”. In the worked example of ceeds brilliantly. But it is also an attempt to show that an agent that approaches circles and avoids diamonds, dynamical approaches can get a foothold in the expla- we see direct evidence of this in the claim that a certain nation of “minimally cognitive behaviors”; that is to three-dimensional projection provides a potent analytic say, behaviors that seem, on the surface at least, good tool. For this projection happens to be one that involves contenders for more traditional forms of problem de- one environmental state variable (vertical object posi- composition and analysis. In these brief comments, I tion), one body state variable (horizontal position rela- want to focus on one important question that I think tive to the object) and one neuronal state variable remains unanswered, and that bears rather directly on (output of interneuron 9). By dispensing with talk of this enterprise of “scaling up”. representations and their contents, and restricting the The question concerns the notion of an integrated depiction of the inner realm to a depiction of inner state dynamical explanation itself. The point about such alone (section 9.3), the dynamicist makes it easy to..
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