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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089608573186
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,974
External links
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
Paul Smolensky (1988). On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1):1-23.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #126,757 of 1,725,833 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #348,700 of 1,725,833 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.