Adapting the Environment instead of Oneself
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Adaptive Behavior 4 (3-4):415-452 (1996)
This paper examines some of the methods animals and humans have of adapting their environment. Because there are limits on how many different tasks a creature can be designed to do well in, creatures with the capacity to redesign their environments have an adaptive advantage over those who can only passively adapt to existing environmental structures. To clarify environmental redesign I rely on the formal notion of a task environment as a directed graph where the nodes are states and the links are actions. One natural form of redesign is to change the topology of this graph structure so as to increase the likelihood of task success or to reduce its expected cost, measured in physical terms. This may be done by eliminating initial states hence eliminating choice points; by changing the action repertoire; by changing the consequence function; and lastly, by adding choice points. Another major method for adapting the environment is to change its cognitive congeniality. Such changes leave the state space formally intact but reduce the number and cost of mental operations needed for task success; they reliably increase the speed, accuracy or robustness of performance. The last section of the paper describes several of these epistemic or complementary actions found in human performance.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
David Kirsh (2010). Thinking With External Representations. AI and Society 25 (4):441-454.
Kim Sterelny (2004). Genes, Memes and Human History. By Stephen Shennan London: Thames and Hudson, 2002, Pp. 304. Mind and Language 19 (2):249–257.
Similar books and articles
René J. Dubos (1965). Man Adapting. New Haven, Yale University Press.
Seth Bullock & Peter M. Todd (1999). Made to Measure: Ecological Rationality in Structured Environments. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 9 (4):497-541.
John Stewart (2001). Future Psychological Evolution. [Journal (on-Line/Unpaginated)].
Mark Ereshefsky (2007). Where the Wild Things Are: Environmental Preservation and Human Nature. Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):57-72.
Reiko Yakushijin & Robert A. Jacobs (2011). Are People Successful at Learning Sequences of Actions on a Perceptual Matching Task? Cognitive Science 35 (5):939-962.
Giacomo Bonanno (1988). Can Good News Lead to a More Pessimistic Choice of Action? Theory and Decision 25 (2):123-136.
Added to index2009-12-01
Total downloads8 ( #241,105 of 1,696,464 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #246,076 of 1,696,464 )
How can I increase my downloads?