David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Philosophy 95 (7):354-76 (1998)
Mind, it has recently been argued1, is a thoroughly temporal phenomenon: so temporal, indeed, as to defy description and analysis using the traditional computational tools of cognitive scientific understanding. The proper explanatory tools, so the suggestion goes, are instead the geometric constructs and differential equations of Dynamical Systems Theory. I consider various aspects of the putative temporal challenge to computational understanding, and show that the root problem turns on the presence of a certain kind of causal web: a web that involves multiple components (both inner and outer) linked by chains of continuous and reciprocal causal influence. There is, however, no compelling route from such facts about causal and temporal complexity to the radical anti- computationalist conclusion. This is because, interactive complexities notwithstanding, the computational approach provides a kind of explanatory understanding that cannot (I suggest) be recreated using the alternative resources of pure Dynamical Systems Theory. In particular, it provides a means of mapping information flow onto causal structure -- a mapping that is crucial to understanding the distinctive kinds of flexibility and control characteristic of truly mindful engagements with the world. Where we confront especially complex interactive causal webs, however, it does indeed become harder to isolate the syntactic vehicles required by the computational approach. Dynamical Systems Theory, I conclude, may play a vital role in recovering such vehicles from the burgeoning mass of real-time interactive complexity
|Keywords||Computation Epistemology Mind Semantics Time|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Carrie Figdor (2009). Semantic Externalism and the Mechanics of Thought. Minds and Machines 19 (1):1-24.
Michael D. Kirchhoff (2015). Cognitive Assembly: Towards a Diachronic Conception of Composition. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):33-53.
Similar books and articles
Riccardo Manzotti (2009). No Time, No Wholes: A Temporal and Causal-Oriented Approach to the Ontology of Wholes. [REVIEW] Axiomathes 19 (2):193-214.
Rick Grush (2001). The Semantic Challenge to Computational Neuroscience. In Peter K. Machamer, Peter McLaughlin & Rick Grush (eds.), Theory and Method in the Neurosciences. University of Pittsburgh Press. 155--172.
Ronald C. Hoy (1975). The Role of Genidentity in the Causal Theory of Time. Philosophy of Science 42 (1):11-19.
Daniel A. Weiskopf (2004). The Place of Time in Cognition. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):87-105.
L. Nathan Oaklander & V. Alan White (2007). B-Time: A Reply to Tallant. Analysis 67 (4):332–340.
Mary Litch (1997). Computation, Connectionism and Modelling the Mind. Philosophical Psychology 10 (3):357-364.
J. M. (2002). Supervenience and (Non-Modal) Reductionism in Leibniz's Philosophy of Time. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (4):793-810.
W. Schonbein (2005). Cognition and the Power of Continuous Dynamical Systems. Minds and Machines 15 (1):57-71.
David J. Chalmers (2011). A Computational Foundation for the Study of Cognition. Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):323-357.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads82 ( #23,927 of 1,696,615 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #48,920 of 1,696,615 )
How can I increase my downloads?