On distinguishing epistemic from pragmatic action

Cognitive Science 18 (4):513-49 (1995)
Abstract
We present data and argument to show that in Tetris - a real-time interactive video game - certain cognitive and perceptual problems are more quickly, easily, and reliably solved by performing actions in the world rather than by performing computational actions in the head alone. We have found that some translations and rotations are best understood as using the world to improve cognition. These actions are not used to implement a plan, or to implement a reaction; they are used to change the world in order to simplify the problem-solving task. Thus, we distinguish pragmatic actions ñ actions performed to bring one physically closer to a goal - from epistemic actions - actions performed to uncover information that is hidden or hard to compute mentally. To illustrate the need for epistemic actions, we first develop a standard information-processing model of Tetris-cognition, and show that it cannot explain performance data from human players of the game - even when we relax the assumption of fully sequential processing. Standard models disregard many actions taken by players because they appear unmotivated or superfluous. However, we describe many such actions that are actually taken by players that are far from superfluous, and that play valuable roles in improving human performance. We argue that traditional accounts are limited because they regard action as having a single function: to change the world. By recognizing a second function of action - an epistemic function - we can explain many of the actions that a traditional model cannot. Although, our argument is supported by numerous examples specifically from Tetris, we outline how the one category of epistemic action can be incorporated into theories of action more generally.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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: 10,788
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

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Andy Clark (2011). Finding the Mind. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 152 (3):447 - 461.
Adrian Cussins (2012). Environmental Representation of the Body. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (1):15-32.

View all 33 citations

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

59 ( #25,448 of 1,099,037 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #22,488 of 1,099,037 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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