David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 9 (1):121-38 (1986)
This article responds to two unresolved and crucial problems of cognitive science: (1) What is actually accomplished by functions of the nervous system that we ordinarily describe in the intentional idiom? and (2) What makes the information processing involved in these functions semantic? It is argued that, contrary to the assumptions of many cognitive theorists, the computational approach does not provide coherent answers to these problems, and that a more promising start would be to fall back on mathematical communication theory and, with the help of evolutionary biology and neurophysiology, to attempt a characterization of the adaptive processes involved in visual perception. Visual representations are explained as patterns of cortical activity that are enabled to focus on objects in the changing visual environment by constantly adjusting to maintain levels of mutual information between pattern and object that are adequate for continuing perceptual control. In these terms, the answer proposed to (1) is that the intentional functions of vision are those involved in the establishment and maintenance of such representations, and to (2) that semantic features are added to the information processes of vision with the focus on objects that these representations accomplish. The article concludes with proposals for extending this account of intentionality to the higher domains of conceptualization and reason, and with speculation about how semantic information-processing might be achieved in mechanical systems.
|Keywords||artificial intelligence cognitive science communication theory computational models information processing intentionality mental representation philosophy of mind vision|
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References found in this work BETA
David Marr (1982). Vision. Freeman.
John Searle (1983). Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
James J. Gibson (1979). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Houghton Mifflin.
Paul M. Churchland (1979). Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Paul J. H. Schoemaker (1991). The Quest for Optimality: A Positive Heuristic of Science? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):205-215.
Annette Karmiloff-Smith (1994). Précis of Beyond Modularity: A Developmental Perspective on Cognitive Science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):693.
Nils-Eric Sahlin (1991). Should the Quest for Optimality Worry Us? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):231.
Karl Pfeifer (1987). Causal Dispositions + Sensory Experience = Intentionality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10 (4):757.
Merlin Donald (1994). Representation: Ontogenesis and Phylogenesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):714.
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