Cognition poised at the edge of chaos: A complex alternative to a symbolic mind

Philosophical Psychology 9 (3):301-22 (1996)
This paper explores a line of argument against the classical paradigm in cognitive science that is based upon properties of non-linear dynamical systems, especially in their chaotic and near-chaotic behavior. Systems of this kind are capable of generating information-rich macro behavior that could be useful to cognition. I argue that a brain operating at the edge of chaos could generate high-complexity cognition in this way. If this hypothesis is correct, then the symbolic processing methodology in cognitive science faces serious obstacles. A symbolic description of the mind will be extremely difficult, and even if it is achieved to some approximation, there will still be reasons for rejecting the hypothesis that the brain is in fact a symbolic processor.
Keywords Cognitive Science  Mind  Psychology  Science  Symbolism
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DOI 10.1080/09515089608573186
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References found in this work BETA
Daniel C. Dennett (1991). Real Patterns. Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
Paul Smolensky (1988). On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1):1-23.

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Mitch Parsell (2011). Sellars on Thoughts and Beliefs. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (2):261-275.
James W. Garson (2001). (Dis)Solving the Binding Problem. Philosophical Psychology 14 (4):381 – 392.
Valerie Gray Hardcastle (1999). What We Don't Know About Brains. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 30 (1):69-89.

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