Suppose you think that whether you believe some proposition A at some future time t might have a causal influence on whether A is true. For instance, maybe you think a woman can read your mind, and either (1) you think she will snap her fingers shortly after t if and only if you believe at t that she will, or (2) you think she will snap her fingers shortly after t if and only if you don't believe at t (...) that she will. Let A be the proposition that she snaps her fingers shortly after t. In case (1), theoretical rationality seems to leave it open whether you should believe A or not. Perhaps, for all it has to say, you could just directly choose whether to believe A. David Velleman seems to be committed to something close to that, but his view has been unpopular. In case (2), you seem to be in a theoretical dilemma, a situation where any attitude you adopt toward A will be self-undermining in a way that makes you irrational. Such theoretical dilemmas ought to be impossible, just as genuine moral dilemmas ought to be impossible, but it is surprisingly hard to show that they are (perhaps because they aren't). I study cases analogous to (1) and (2) in a probabilistic framework where degrees of belief rather than all-or-nothing beliefs are taken as basic. My principal conclusions are that Velleman's view is closer to the truth than it is generally thought to be, that case (2) type theoretical dilemmas only arise for hyperidealised agents unlike ourselves, and that there are related cases that can arise for agents like us that are very disturbing but might not quite amount to theoretical dilemmas. (shrink)
A sociological study of science is not very recent and has never been seen as particularly problematic since science, and especially modern science, constitutes an impressive and extremely ramified "social system" of activities, institutions, relations and interferences with other social systems. Less favourable, however, has been the consideration of a more recent trend in the philosophy of science known as the "sociological" philosophy of science, whose most debatable point consists in directly challenging the traditional epistemology of science and, in particular, (...) in stripping scientific knowledge of its most appreciated characteristics of objectivity and rigour . A vicious circle seems to lie at the root of this sociological epistemology because, on the one hand, criticism of the traditional concept of scientific knowledge is developed by relying upon sociology, but this, on the other hand is reasonable only if sociology is credited with the status of a reliable instrument, that is, because it has been recognized as a science through an epistemological debate . In this paper it is shown that not all circles are vicious: in particular, feedback loops, positive and negative, are normally considered in cybernetic models of various processes. Negative feedback loops are fundamental in self-regulating processes and have already occurred from time to time in readjusting the concept of science itself. Therefore, a sociological epistemology of science can contribute to a more careful analysis of the real meaning and purport of the cognitive aspect of science, provided that it is not pushed to the self-defeating extreme of challenging the legitimacy of considering objectivity and rigour as the characteristic features of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Neurophysiological investigations of the visual system by way of single-cell recordings have revealed a hierarchical architecture in which lower level areas, such as the primary visual cortex, contain cells that respond to simple features, while higher level areas contain cells that respond to higher order features apparently composed of combinations of lower level features. This architecture seems to suggest a feed-forward processing strategy in which visual information progresses from lower to higher visual areas. However there is other evidence, both neurophysiological (...) and phenomenal, that suggests a more parallel processing strategy in biological vision, in which top-down feedback plays a significant role. In fact Gestalt theory suggests that visual perception involves a process of emergence, i.e. a dynamic relaxation of multiple constraints throughout the system simultaneously, so that the final percept represents a stable state, or energy minimum of the dynamic system as a whole. A Multi-Level Reciprocal Feedback (MLRF) model is proposed to resolve the apparently contradictory concepts, by proposing a hierarchical visual architecture whose different levels are connected by bi-directional feed-forward and feedback pathways, where the computational transformation performed by the feedback pathway between levels in the hiararchy is a kind of inverse of the transformation performed by the corresponding feed-forward processing stream. This alternative paradigm of perceptual computation accounts in general terms for a number of visual illusory effects, and offers a computational specification for the generative, or constructive aspect of perceptual processing revealed by Gestalt theory. (shrink)
Children often refer to things ambiguously but learn not to from responding to clarification requests. We review and explore this learning process here. In Study 1, eighty-four 2- and 4-year-olds were tested for their ability to request stickers from either (a) a small array with one dissimilar distracter or (b) a large array containing similar distracters. When children made ambiguous requests, they received either general feedback or specific questions about which of two options they wanted. With training, children learned to (...) produce more complex object descriptions and did so faster in the specific feedback condition. They also tended to provide more information when requesting stickers from large arrays. In Study 2, we varied only distracter similarity during training and then varied array size in a generalization test. Children found it harder to learn in this case. In the generalization test, 4-year-olds were more likely to provide information (a) when it was needed because distracters were similar to the target and (b) when the array size was greater (regardless of need for information). We discuss how clear cues to potential ambiguity are needed for children to learn to tailor their referring expression to context and how several cues of heuristic value (e.g., more distracters > say more) can promote the efficiency of communication while language is developing. Finally, we consider whether it would be worthwhile drawing on the human learning process when developing algorithms for the production of referring expressions. (shrink)
Top-down feedback does not benefit speech recognition; on the contrary, it can hinder it. No experimental data imply that feedback loops are required for speech recognition. Feedback is accordingly unnecessary and spoken word recognition is modular. To defend this thesis, we analyse lexical involvement in phonemic decision making. TRACE (McClelland & Elman 1986), a model with feedback from the lexicon to prelexical processes, is unable to account for all the available data on phonemic decision making. The modular Race model (Cutler (...) & Norris 1979) is likewise challenged by some recent results, however. We therefore present a new modular model of phonemic decision making, the Merge model. In Merge, information flows from prelexical processes to the lexicon without feedback. Because phonemic decisions are based on the merging of prelexical and lexical information, Merge correctly predicts lexical involvement in phonemic decisions in both words and nonwords. Computer simulations show how Merge is able to account for the data through a process of competition between lexical hypotheses. We discuss the issue of feedback in other areas of language processing and conclude that modular models are particularly well suited to the problems and constraints of speech recognition. Key Words: computational modeling; feedback; lexical processing; modularity; phonemic decisions; reading; speech recognition; word recognition. (shrink)
Philosophers long have noted that some sensations (particularly those of color) seem to be ineffable, or refractory to verbal description. Some proposed neurophysiological explanations of this ineffability deny the intuitive view that sensations have inherently indescribable content. The present paper suggests a new explanation of ineffability that does not have this deflationary consequence. According to the hypothesis presented here, feedback modulation of information flow in the cortex interferes with the production of narratives about sensations, thereby causing the subject to assess (...) as inadequate his or her own verbal descriptions of sensations. (shrink)
This essay develops a theory of natural signs in order to show how evolutionary theory breathes new life into teleology. An argument to the contrary presented by Richard Taylor is refuted. The essay defends the view that the concept of negative feedback explicates purposiveness and that symbiotic evolution explains the occurrence of naturally adapted feedback systems. But evolution itself is not a teleological process, nor is it a negative feedback system. There is an exploration of the nature of the dissatisfaction (...) we feel with an evolutionary account of purposiveness from which the fortuitous cannot be eliminated. (shrink)
: Marcel says that the experience of ownership of actions is given in the specifications for action. He is referring not to a bodily movement but that which precedes it. Is the body involved or are all the changes in the brain? This paper examines the evidence for changes in the spinal cord and muscles that occur with motor imagery, simulation and preparation. There are changes in the alpha motoneurons and in the gamma motoneurons to the muscle spindles. These may (...) be caused by stimulation from the covert efferent arm to the body. To experience the ownership of covert actions in the body requires feedback to the owner as their spatially perspectival source. There is evidence that an ascending pathway from the muscle spindles to the brain carries such feedback. This view of the feedback loop is integrated into the sensorimotor view of the genesis of consciousness of Ellis and Newton. (shrink)
This paper concerns periodic solutions of a class of equations that model gene regulatory networks. Unlike the vast majority of previous studies, it is not assumed that all decay rates are identical. To handle this more general situation, we rely on monotonicity properties of these systems. Under an alternative assumption, it is shown that a classical fixed point theorem for monotone, concave operators can be applied to these systems. The required assumption is expressed in geometrical terms as an alignment condition (...) on so-called focal points . As an application, we show the existence and uniqueness of a stable periodic orbit for negative feedback loop systems in dimension 3 or more, and of a unique stable equilibrium point in dimension 2. This extends a theorem of Snoussi, which showed the existence of these orbits only. (shrink)
Past studies have shown that the perceived time of actions is retrospectively influenced by post-action events. The current study examined whether rewarding performance feedback (even when false) altered the reported time of action. In Experiment 1, participants performed a speeded button press task and received monetary reward for a presumed “fast,” or a monetary punishment for a presumed “slow” response. Rewarded trials resulted in the false perception that the response action occurred earlier than punished trials. In Experiments 2 and 3, (...) the need for a speeded response and reward were independently manipulated in order to decouple the cognitive and reward components in the feedback signal. When tested independently, neither variable affected the judged time of action. We conclude that meaningful feedback (fast or slow) is only used when made salient by reward, to modulate the judged time of an action. (shrink)
Social psychologists have evidence that evaluative feedback on others’ choices sometimes has unwelcome negative effects on hearers’ motivation. Holroyd’s article (Holroyd J. Ethical Theory Moral Pract 10:267–278, 2007) draws attention to one such result, the undermining effect, that should help to challenge moral philosophers’ complacency about blame and praise. The cause for concern is actually greater than she indicates, both because there are multiple kinds of negative effect on hearer motivation, and because these are not, as she hopes, reliably counteracted (...) by implicit features of praise and blame. The communicative ideal that she articulates does point us in the right direction, but it requires further elaboration. Once it is spelled out, we find that realizing this ideal, in light of the empirical research, requires rethinking the role of verdict-like judgments within moral feedback. (shrink)
Selectionist models date back to Empedocles in Ancient Greece. The novelty of Darwinian selection is that it is able to produce adaptively valuable things without being sensitive to adaptive value. Darwin achieved this result by a restriction of environmental feedback to the replicative process. Immune system selection definitely does not respect this restriction, and it is doubtful whether operant learning does.
The study examines, in the context of Crawford's (1970) study items, the influence of non-anonymity deriving from feedback of research results on marketing professionals' research ethics judgements, particularly that of response patterns (social desirability of responses) and item omissions. The results indicate that such non-anonymity does not significantly influence the social desirability of responses or item omissions — thus suggesting the appropriateness of its use to stimulate research ethics responses.
The brain contains ubiquitous reciprocal bottom-up and top-down intercortical and thalamocortical pathways. These resonating feedback pathways may be essential for stable learning of speech and language codes and for context-sensitive selection and completion of noisy speech sounds and word groupings. Context-sensitive speech data, notably interword backward effects in time, have been quantitatively modeled using these concepts but not with purely feedforward models.
The mechanisms by which bacteria adapt to changes in their environment involve transcriptional regulation in which a transcriptional regulator responds to signal(s) from the environment and regulates (positively or negatively) the expression of several genes or operons. Some of these regulators exert a positive feedback on their own expression. This is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for the occurrence of multistationarity. One biological consequence of multistationarity may be epigenetic modifications, a hypothesis unusual to microbiologists, in spite of some well-known (...) epigenetic modifications in bacteria. We propose here that the occurrence of mucoidy in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is currently attributed to mutations only, may also be an epigenetic modification. A theoretical approach using a generalised logical analysis lends credit to this hypothesis and suggests experiments to ascertain it. (shrink)
This paper introduces a formal view of the semantics and pragmatics of corrective feedback in dialogues between adults and children. The goal of this research is to give a formal account of language coordination in dialogue, and semantic coordination in particular. Accounting for semantic coordination requires (1) a semantics, i.e. an architecture allowing for dynamic meanings and meaning updates as results of dialogue moves, and (2) a pragmatics, describing the dialogue moves involved in semantic coordination. We illustrate the general approach (...) by applying it to some examples from the literature on corrective feedback, and provide a fairly detailed discussion of one example using TTR (Type Theory with Records) to formalize concepts. TTR provides an analysis of linguistic content which is structured in order to allow modiﬁcation and similarity metrics, and a framework for describing dialogue moves and resulting updates to linguistic resources. (shrink)
Counterfactual reasoning research typically demonstrates contrast effects—nearly winning evokes frustration, whereas nearly losing evokes exhilaration. The present work, however, describes conditions under which assimilative responses (i.e., when judgements are pulled towards a comparison standard) also occur. Participants solved analogies and learned that they had either nearly attained a target score or nearly failed to attain it. Participants in the no trajectory condition received this feedback in the absence of any prior feedback, whereas those in the trajectory condition received feedback after (...) having received prior feedback conforming to either an ascending or descending pattern. Participants then provided perceptions of their verbal intelligence. Assimilation effects were observed in the trajectory conditions but attenuated in the no trajectory conditions. Discussion focuses on the role of feedback dynamics in determining responses to close-call counterfactuals. (shrink)
The central thesis of our target article is that feedback is never necessary in spoken word recognition. In this response we begin by clarifying some terminological issues that have led to a number of misunderstandings. We provide some new arguments that the feedforward model Merge is indeed more parsimonious than the interactive alternatives, and that it provides a more convincing account of the data than alternative models. Finally, we extend the arguments to deal with new issues raised by the commentators (...) such as infant speech perception and neural architecture. (shrink)
The problem of modifier evolution was examined with regard to the idea that modifier evolution can be considered as a result of selection for adaptation speed in populations far from equilibrium. This kind of selection was called feedback selection in order to emphasize the difference to theories which consider modifier evolution near the equilibrium. The basic principles of this kind of selection are derived for asexual populations and the problem of dominance is discussed in the light of this concept. In (...) general the results support the view, that the genetic properties of a character are selected along with the character itself. (shrink)
I agree with Norris et al. that feedback to a phonemic level is never necessary, but disagree strongly with their reason why this is true. I believe the available evidence indicates that there is no feedback because there is no phonemic level employed in the perceptual processing of speech.
Our commentary outlines a number of arguments questioning an autonomous model of word recognition without feedback. Arguments are presented against the need for a phonemic decision stage and in support of a featural level in a model including feedback.
The insistence on strict seriality and the proscription of feedback in phonological encoding place counterproductive limitations on the theory and WEAVER++ model. Parsimony cannot be stipulated as a property of the language system itself. Lifting the methodological prohibition on feedback would allow free exploration of its functionality in relation to the substantial content of this major research program.
Hesitations about accepting whole-heartedly Norris et al.'s suggestion to abandon feedback in speech processing models concern (1) whether accounting for all available data justifies additional layers of complexity in the model and (2) whether characterizing Merge as non- interactive is valid. Spoken word recognition studies support the nature of Merge's lexical level and suggest that phonemes should comprise the prelexical level.
Norris et al.'s claim that feedback is unnecessary is compromised by (1) a questionable application of Occam's razor, given strong evidence for feedback in perception; (2) an idealization of the speech recognition problem that simplifies those aspects of the input that create conditions where feedback is useful; (3) Norris et al.'s use of decision nodes that incorporate feedback to model some important empirical results; and (4) problematic linking hypotheses between crucial simulations and behavioral data.
Models are not adequately evaluated simply by whether they capture the data, after the fact. Other criteria are needed. One criterion is parsimony; but utility and generality are at least as important. Even with respect to parsimony, however, the case against feedback is not as straightforward as Norris et al. present it. We use feedback consistency effects to illustrate these points.
Internationally, calls for feedback of findings to be made an ‘ethical imperative’ or mandatory have been met with both strong support and opposition. Challenges include differences in issues by type of study and context, disentangling between aggregate and individual study results, and inadequate empirical evidence on which to draw. In this paper we present data from observations and interviews with key stakeholders involved in feeding back aggregate study findings for two Phase II malaria vaccine trials among children under the age (...) of 5 years old on the Kenyan Coast. In our setting, feeding back of aggregate findings was an appreciated set of activities. The inclusion of individual results was important from the point of view of both participants and researchers, to reassure participants of trial safety, and to ensure that positive results were not over-interpreted and that individual level issues around blinding and control were clarified. Feedback sessions also offered an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-negotiate trial relationships and benefits, with potentially important implications for perceptions of and involvement in follow-up work for the trials and in future research. We found that feedback of findings is a complex but key step in a continuing set of social interactions between community members and research staff (particularly field staff who work at the interface with communities), and among community members themselves; a step which needs careful planning from the outset. We agree with others that individual and aggregate results need to be considered separately, and that for individual results, both the nature and value of the information, and the context, including social relationships, need to be taken into account. (shrink)
I examine four core aspects of WEAVER++. The necessity for lemmas is often overstated. A model can incorporate interaction between levels without feedback connections between them. There is some evidence supporting the absence of inhibition in the model. Connectionist modelling avoids the necessity of a nondecompositional semantics apparently required by the hypernym problem.
A simplified model using kinetic logic is proposed to approach the problem after Hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection. It accounts for several stable regimes or attractors corresponding to the essential dynamic behaviour of the replication of the Hepatitis B virus. Infection with the virus can result in viral clearance, fulminant hepatic failure and death, or chronic transmissible infection, that is multistationarity corresponding to the existence of the positive feedback circuit in our modelling. Another implication of this model is the existence (...) of oscillations or homeostatic mechanisms, sometimes observed in the viral cycle, consistent with the existence of the negative feedback circuit. Thus, this report shows how a simple model of kinetic logic may be used to account for the variety of manifestations of HBV infection. This model implies the presence of the Hepatitis B e antigen, whose conservation suggests that it plays an important role in the life cycle of hepadnaviruses. Its function in the viral cycle is still unknown, but our model suggests that this antigen could explain the passage from one state of the viral infection (acute or latent) to another, as well as the oscillatory behavior which may account for the intermittent symptoms of hepatitis observed in some patients. Furthermore, this model shows a virgin state. This state is also reached after recovery. The model proposed demonstrates that starting from a viral acute infection, the host's immune response, depending on the immunological status of the patient, can lead to viral clearance, or to periodic spontaneous reactivation. (shrink)
Norris, McQueen & Cutler argue that there is no need for feedback in word recognition. Given the accumulating evidence in favor of feedback as a general mechanism in the brain, I will question the utility of a model that is at odds with such a general principle. Correspondence:a2 Laboratoire de Neurosciences Intégratives et Adaptatives, Université de Provence, 13397 Marseille, cedex 13, France.
The problem of knowledge has been centred around the study of the content of our consciousness, seeing the world through internal representation, without any satisfactory account of the operations of nature that would be a pre-condition for our own performances in terms of concept efficiency in organizing action externally. If we want to better understand where and how meaning fits in nature, we have to find the proper way to decipher its organization, and account for the fact that we have (...) found codes and replicators operating at a deep levels of analysis. Informational analysis deals with units of organizational stability but it takes them for granted and leaves open the question of their origin. Patterns are used when we recognize the same configurations at different places and try to explain through their recurrence, yet to make sense of the presence of signals and counter-balancing mechanisms disseminated in nature, a hypothesis is offered to the effect that feedback signals would have a role to play in the coming about of a world that is open to new configurations and submitted to a form of stability that is more attuned to system laws than overarching unrevisable ones. (shrink)
This book presents a thorough overview of a model of human functioning based on the idea that behavior is goal-directed and regulated by feedback control processes. It describes feedback processes and their application to behavior, considers goals and the idea that goals are organized hierarchically, examines affect as deriving from a different kind of feedback process, and analyzes how success expectancies influence whether people keep trying to attain goals or disengage. Later sections consider a series of emerging themes, including dynamic (...) systems as a model for shifting among goals, catastrophe theory as a model for persistence, and the question of whether behavior is controlled or instead 'emerges'. Three chapters consider the implications of these various ideas for understanding maladaptive behavior, and the closing chapter asks whether goals are a necessity of life. Throughout, theory is presented in the context of diverse issues that link the theory to other literatures. (shrink)
The present description of the Merge model addresses only auditory, not audiovisual, speech perception. However, recent findings in the audiovisual domain are relevant to the model. We outline a test that we are conducting of the adequacy of Merge, modified to accept visual information about articulation.
The introduction of statistical models represented by directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) has proved fruitful in the construction of expert systems, in allowing efficient updating algorithms that take advantage of conditional independence relations (Pearl, 1988, Lauritzen et al. 1993), and in inferring causal structure from conditional independence relations (Spirtes and Glymour, 1991, Spirtes, Glymour and Scheines, 1993, Pearl and Verma, 1991, Cooper, 1992). As a framework for representing the combination of causal and statistical hypotheses, DAG models have shed light on a (...) number of issues in statistics ranging from Simpson’s Paradox to experimental design (Spirtes, Glymour and Scheines, 1993). The relations of DAGs with statistical constraints, and the equivalence and distinguishability properties of DAG models, are now well understood, and their characterization and computation involves three properties connecting graphical structure and probability distributions: (i) a local directed Markov property, (ii) a global directed Markov property, (iii) and factorizations of joint densities according to the structure of a graph (Lauritizen, et al., 1990). (shrink)
Abstract Angiogenesis is a complex morphogenetic process regulated by growth factors, but also by the force balance between endothelial cells (EC) traction stresses and extracellular matrix (ECM) viscoelastic resistance. Studies conducted with in vitro angiogenesis assays demonstrated that decreasing ECM stiffness triggers an angiogenic switch that promotes organization of EC into tubular cords or pseudo-capillaries. Thus, mechano-sensitivity of EC with regard to proteases secretion, and notably matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), should likely play a pivotal role in this switching mechanism. While most (...) studies analysing strain regulation of MMPs used cell cultured on stretched membranes, this work focuses on MMP expression during self-assembly of EC into capillary-like structures within fibrin gels, i.e. on conditions that mimics more closely the in vivo cellular mechanical microenvironment. The activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9, two MMPs that have a pivotal role in capillaries formation, has been monitored in pace with the progressive elongation of EAhy926 cells that takes place during the emergence of cellular cords. We found an increase of the zymogen proMMP-2 that correlates with the initial stages of EC cords formation. However, MMP-2 was not detected. ProMMP-9 secretion decreased, with levels of MMP-9 kept at a rather low value. In order to analyse more precisely the observed differences of EAhy926 response on fibrin and plastic substrates, we proposed a theoretical model of the mechano-regulation of proMMP-2 activation in the presence of type 2 tissue inhibitor of MMPs (TIMP-2). Using association/dissociation rates experimentally reported for this enzymatic network, the model adequately describes the synergism of proMMP-2 and TIMP-2 strain activation during pseudo-capillary morphogenesis. All together, these results provide a first step toward a systems biology approach of angiogenesis mechano-regulation by cell-generated extracellular stresses and strains. Content Type Journal Article Category Regular Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s10441-012-9147-3 Authors Minh-Uyen Dao Thi, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, DyCTiM team, UJF-Grenoble 1, CNRS, Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG UMR 5525, 38041 Grenoble, France Candice Trocmé, BEP/DBTP, CHU Albert Michallon, BP 217, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 9, France Marie-Paule Montmasson, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, DyCTiM team, UJF-Grenoble 1, CNRS, Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG UMR 5525, 38041 Grenoble, France Eric Fanchon, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, BCM team, UJF-Grenoble 1, CNRS, Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG UMR 5525, 38041 Grenoble, France Bertrand Toussaint, BEP/DBTP, CHU Albert Michallon, BP 217, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 9, France Philippe Tracqui, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, DyCTiM team, UJF-Grenoble 1, CNRS, Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG UMR 5525, 38041 Grenoble, France Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342. (shrink)
The main issue addressed here concerns the central notion of a forward internal model, through which efficient control and planning are linked together and to the related online predictive error processing. The existence of such a model has strong implications in action production and may question Glover's model.
Just as non-well-founded sets extend the usual sets of ZF, so do root reflexive propositional formulas extends the usual class of Boolean expressions. Though infinitary, these formulas are generated by finite patterns. They possess transition functions instead of truth values and have applications in electric circuit theory.
The Chorus representation is a sparse, similarity-preserving representation achieved by a feedforward neural network. Hence it is probably better suited for interpolation than for categorization. This commentary raises the question of how to combine categorization with interpolation, whether feedforward networks can be reasonable models for parts of the cerebral cortex, and whether people can perform more than one interpolation at a time.
Recent studies of emotion mindreading reveal that for three emotions, fear, disgust, and anger, deficits in face-based recognition are paired with deficits in the production of the same emotion. What type of mindreading process would explain this pattern of paired deficits? The simulation approach and the theorizing approach are examined to determine their compatibility with the existing evidence. We conclude that the simulation approach offers the best explanation of the data. What computational steps might be used, however, in simulation-style emotion (...) detection? Four alternative models are explored: a generate-and-test model, a reverse simulation model, a variant of the reverse simulation model that employs an “as if” loop, and an unmediated resonance model. (shrink)
This paper examines the ways in which social scientific discourse and classification interact with the objects of social scientific investigation. I examine this interaction in the context of the traditional philosophical project of demarcating the social sciences from the natural sciences. I begin by reviewing Ian Hacking’s work on interactive classification and argue that there are additional forms of interaction that must be treated.
We discuss cases where subjects seem to enjoy conscious experience when the relevant first-order perceptual representations are either missing or too weak to account for the experience. Though these cases are originally considered to be theoretical possibilities that may be problematical for the higher-order view of consciousness, careful considerations of actual empirical examples suggest that this strategy may backfire; these cases may cause more trouble for first-order theories instead. Specifically, these cases suggest that (I) recurrent feedback loops to V1 are (...) most likely not the neural correlate of first-order representations for conscious experience, (II) first-order views seem to have a problem accounting for the phenomenology in these cases, and either (III) a version of the ambitious higher-order approach is superior in that it is the simplest theory that can account for all results at face value, or (IV) a view where phenomenology is jointly determined by both first-order and higher-order states. In our view (III) and (IV) are both live options and the decision between them may ultimately be an empirical question that cannot yet be decided. (shrink)
I here present some doubts about whether Mandik’s (2010) proposed intermediacy and recurrence constraints are necessary and sufficient for agentive experience. I also argue that in order to vindicate the conclusion that agentive experience is an exclusively perceptual phenomenon (Prinz, 2007), it is not enough to show that the predictions produced by forward models of planned motor actions are conveyed by mock sensory signals. Rather, it must also be shown that the outputs of “comparator” mechanisms that compare these predictions against (...) actual sensory feedback are also coded in a perceptual representational format. (shrink)
Allen (2001) proposed the “Getting Things Done” (GTD) method for personal productivity enhancement, and reduction of the stress caused by information overload. This paper argues that recent insights in psychology and cognitive science support and extend GTD’s recommendations. We first summarize GTD with the help of a flowchart. We then review the theories of situated, embodied and distributed cognition that purport to explain how the brain processes information and plans actions in the real world. The conclusion is that the brain (...) heavily relies on the environment, to function as an external memory, a trigger for actions, and a source of affordances, disturbances and feedback. We then show how these principles are practically implemented in GTD, with its focus on organizing tasks into “actionable” external memories, and on opportunistic, situation-dependent execution. Finally, we propose an extension of GTD to support collaborative work, inspired by the concept of stigmergy. (shrink)
The emulation theory of representation is developed and explored as a framework that can revealingly synthesize a wide variety of representational functions of the brain. The framework is based on constructs from control theory (forward models) and signal processing (Kalman filters). The idea is that in addition to simply engaging with the body and environment, the brain constructs neural circuits that act as models of the body and environment. During overt sensorimotor engagement, these models are driven by efference copies in (...) parallel with the body and environment, in order to provide expectations of the sensory feedback, and to enhance and process sensory information. These models can also be run off-line in order to produce imagery, estimate outcomes of different actions, and evaluate and develop motor plans. The framework is initially developed within the context of motor control, where it has been shown that inner models running in parallel with the body can reduce the effects of feedback delay problems. The same mechanisms can account for motor imagery as the off-line driving of the emulator via efference copies. The framework is extended to account for visual imagery as the off-line driving of an emulator of the motor-visual loop. I also show how such systems can provide for amodal spatial imagery. Perception, including visual perception, results from such models being used to form expectations of, and to interpret, sensory input. I close by briefly outlining other cognitive functions that might also be synthesized within this framework, including reasoning, theory of mind phenomena, and language. Key Words: efference copies; emulation theory of representation; forward models; Kalman filters; motor control; motor imagery; perception; visual imagery. (shrink)
is a term introduced by Ian Hacking to refer to the kinds of people—child abusers, pregnant teenagers, the unemployed—studied by the human sciences. Hacking argues that classifying and describing human kinds results in feedback, which alters the very kinds under study. This feedback results in human kinds having histories totally unlike those of natural kinds (such as gold, electrons and tigers), leading Hacking to conclude that human kinds are radically unlike natural kinds. Here I argue that Hacking's argument fails and (...) that he has not demonstrated that human kinds cannot be natural kinds. Introduction Natural kinds Hacking's feedback mechanisms 3.1 Cultural feedback 3.2 Conceptual feedback. (shrink)
Two aspects of consciousness are first considered: consciousness as awareness (phenomenological meaning) and consciousness as strategic control (functional meaning). As to awareness, three types can be distinguished: first, awareness as the phenomenal experiences of objects and events; second, awareness as meta-awareness, i.e., the awareness of mental life itself; third, awareness as self-awareness, i.e., the awareness of being oneself. While phenomenal experience and self-awareness are usually present during dreaming (even if many modifications are possible), meta-awareness is usually absent (apart from some (...) particular experiences of self-reflectiveness) with the major exception of lucid dreaming. Consciousness as strategic control may also be present in dreams. The functioning of consciousness is then analyzed, following a cognitive model of dream production. In such a model, the dream is supposed to be the product of the interaction of three components: (a) the bottom-up activation of mnemonic elements coming from LTM systems, (b) interpretative and elaborative top-down processes, and (c) monitoring of phenomenal experience. A feedback circulation is activated among the components, where the top-down interpretative organization and the conscious monitoring of the oneiric scene elicitates other mnemonic contents, according to the requirements of the dream plot. This dream productive activity is submitted to unconscious and conscious processes. (shrink)
This paper contrasts two enactive theories of visual experience: the sensorimotor theory (O’Regan and Noë, Behav Brain Sci 24(5):939–1031, 2001; Noë and O’Regan, Vision and mind, 2002; Noë, Action in perception, 2004) and Susan Hurley’s (Consciousness in action, 1998, Synthese 129:3–40, 2001) theory of active perception. We criticise the sensorimotor theory for its commitment to a distinction between mere sensorimotor behaviour and cognition. This is a distinction that is firmly rejected by Hurley. Hurley argues that personal level cognitive abilities emerge (...) out of a complex dynamic feedback system at the subpersonal level. Moreover reflection on the role of eye movements in visual perception establishes a further sense in which a distinction between sensorimotor behaviour and cognition cannot be sustained. The sensorimotor theory has recently come under critical fire (see e.g. Block, J Philos CII(5):259–272, 2005; Prinz, Psyche, 12(1):1–19, 2006; Aizawa, J Philos CIV(1), 2007) for mistaking a merely causal contribution of action to perception for a constitutive contribution. We further argue that the sensorimotor theory is particularly vulnerable to this objection in a way that Hurley’s active perception theory is not. This presents an additional reason for preferring Hurley’s theory as providing a conceptual framework for the enactive programme. (shrink)
Th is paper investigates the epistemic powers of democratic institutions through an assessment of three epistemic models of democracy: the Condorcet Jury Th eorem, the Diversity Trumps Ability Th eorem, and Dewey's experimentalist model. Dewey's model is superior to the others in its ability to model the epistemic functions of three constitutive features of democracy: the epistemic diversity of participants, the interaction of voting with discussion, and feedback mechanisms such as periodic elections and protests. It views democracy as an institution (...) for pooling widely distributed information about problems and policies of public interest by engaging the participation of epistemically diverse knowers. Democratic norms of free discourse, dissent, feedback, and accountability function to ensure collective, experimentallybased learning from the diverse experiences of diff erent knowers. I illustrate these points with a case study of community forestry groups in South Asia, whose epistemic powers have been hobbled by their suppression of women's participation. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of emergence have been explicated in terms of logical relationships between statements (derivation) or static properties (function and realization). Jaegwon Kim is a modern proponent. A property is emergent if it is not explainable by (or reducible to) the properties of lower level components. This approach, I will argue, is unable to make sense of the kinds of emergence that are widespread in scientific explanations of complex systems. The standard philosophical notion of emergence posits the wrong dichotomies, confuses (...) compositional physicalism with explanatory physicalism, and is unable to represent the type of dynamic processes (self-organizing feedback) that both generate emergent properties and express downward causation. (shrink)
On the first of the two occasions I met Thomas Kuhn, we immediately plunged into a ferocious but very friendly argument about incommensurability. He was for it, I was against. Believing in incommensurability was Kuhn’s worst mistake. If it is to be found anywhere in science, it would be in theoretical physics. But revolutions in theoretical physics have one striking feature in common: they all embody theoretical unification. Revolutions associated with Galileo, Newton, Faraday and Maxwell, Einstein, Bohr, Schrödinger, Dirac, Tomonaga, (...) Schwinger and Feynman, Weinberg and Salam, have all been unifying revolutions. Far from obliterating the idea that there is a persisting theoretical idea in physics, revolutions do just the opposite: they all actually exemplify the persisting idea of underlying unity. Furthermore, persistent acceptance of unifying theories in physics when empirically more successful disunified rivals can always be concocted means that physics makes a persistent implicit assumption concerning unity. To put it in Kuhnian terms, underlying unity is a paradigm for paradigms. Once this is recognized, it becomes clear that we need a new conception of science which represents problematic assumptions concerning the physical comprehensibility and knowability of the universe in the form of a hierarchy, these assumptions becoming less and less substantial and more and more such that their truth is required for science, or the pursuit of knowledge, to be possible at all, as one goes up the hierarchy. This view makes explicit that we can improve assumptions and associated methods – aims and methods – as we proceed with physics, and knowledge improves. There is something like positive feedback between improving knowledge, and improving aims and methods – the nub of scientific rationality, and the methodological key to the great success of science. This hierarchical conception of science has important Kuhnian features, but also differs dramatically from the view Kuhn expounds in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I describe basic features of this hierarchical view, and give reasons why it should be accepted. (shrink)
Traditionally, what we are conscious of in self-consciousness is something non-corporeal. But anti-Cartesian philosophers argue that the self is as much corporeal as it is mental. Because we have the sense of proprioception, a kind of body awareness, we are immediately aware of ourselves as bodies in physical space. In this debate the case histories of patients who have lost their sense of proprioception are clearly relevant. These patients do retain an awareness of themselves as corporeal beings, although they hardly (...) feel their bodies (they have normal sensation in the head, but from the neck downwards only sensations of pain and temperature, and of fatigue and deep touch). They can initiate movements, and with the help of visual feedback learn to control them. It is shown that the traditional view of the self as immaterial is not supported by these cases. But the argument against this view has to be amended. It relies too much on bodily sensations, and misses the importance of active self-movement. (shrink)
Arguments pertaining to the mind-brain connection and to the physical effectiveness of our conscious choices have been presented in two recent books, one by John Searle, the other by Jaegwon Kim. These arguments are examined, and it is explained how the encountered difficulties arise from a defective understanding and application of a pertinent part of contemporary science, namely quantum mechanics. The principled quantum uncertainties entering at the microscopic levels of brain processing cannot be confined to the micro level, but percolate (...) up to the macroscopic regime. To cope with the conflict between the resulting macroscopic indefiniteness and the definiteness of our conscious experiences, orthodox quantum mechanics introduces the idea of agent-generated probing actions, each of which specifies a definite set of alternative possible empirically/experientially distinguishable outcomes. Quantum theory then introduces the mathematical concept of randomness to describe the probabilities of the various alternative possible outcomes of the chosen probing action. But the agent-generated choice of which probing action to perform is not governed by any known law or rule, statistical or otherwise. This causal gap provides a logical opening, and indeed a logical need, for the entry into the dynamical structure of nature of a process that goes beyond the currently understood quantum mechanical statistical generalization of the deterministic laws of classical physics. The well-known quantum Zeno effect can then be exploited to provide a natural process that establishes a causal psychophysical link within the complex structure consisting of a stream of conscious experiences and certain macroscopic classical features of a quantum mechanically described brain. This naturally created causal link effectively allows consciously felt intentions to affect brain activity in a way that tends to produce the intended feedback. This quantum mechanism provides an eminently satisfactory alternative to the classical physics conclusion that the physical present is 1 completely determined by the physical past, and hence provides a physicsbased way out of the dilemma that Searle and Kim tried to resolve by philosophical analysis.. (shrink)
Abstract: How it is that one's own thoughts can seem to be someone else's? After noting some common missteps of other approaches to this puzzle, I develop a novel cognitive solution, drawing on and critiquing theories that understand inserted thoughts and auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia as stemming from mismatches between predicted and actual sensory feedback. Considerable attention is paid to forging links between the first-person phenomenology of thought insertion and the posits (e.g. efference copy, corollary discharge) of current cognitive (...) theories. I show how deficits in the subconscious mechanisms regulating inner speech may lead to a 'fractured phenomenology' responsible for schizophrenic patients' reports of inserted thoughts and auditory verbal hallucinations. Supporting work on virtual environments is discussed, and lessons concerning the fixity of delusional belief are drawn. (shrink)
What language allows us to do is to "steal" categories quickly and effortlessly through hearsay instead of having to earn them the hard way, through risky and time-consuming sensorimotor "toil" (trial-and-error learning, guided by corrective feedback from the consequences of miscategorisation). To make such linguistic "theft" possible, however, some, at least, of the denoting symbols of language must first be grounded in categories that have been earned through sensorimotor toil (or else in categories that have already been "prepared" for us (...) through Darwinian theft by the genes of our ancestors); it cannot be linguistic theft all the way down. The symbols that denote categories must be grounded in the capacity to sort, label and interact with the proximal sensorimotor projections of their distal category-members in a way that coheres systematically with their semantic interpretations, both for individual symbols, and for symbols strung together to express truth-value-bearing propositions. (shrink)
A close examination of the literature on ontology may strike one with roughly two distinct senses of this word. According to the first of them, which we shall call traditional ontology , ontology is characterized as the a priori study of various “ontological categories”. In a second sense, which may be called naturalized ontology , ontology relies on our best scientific theories and from them it tries to derive the ultimate furniture of the world. From a methodological point of view (...) these two senses of ontology are very far away. Here, we discuss a possible relationship between these senses and argue that they may be made compatible and complement each other. We also examine how logic, understood as a linguistic device dealing with the conceptual framework of a theory and its basic inference patterns must be taken into account in this kind of study. The idea guiding our proposal may be put as follows: naturalized ontology checks for the applicability of the ontological categories proposed by traditional ontology and give substantial feedback for it. The adequate expression of some of the resulting ontological frameworks may require a different logic. We conclude with a discussion of the case of orthodox quantum mechanics, arguing that this theory exemplifies the kind of relationship between the two senses of ontology. We also argue that the view proposed here may throw some light in ontological questions concerning this theory. (shrink)
This practical coursebook introduces all the basics of semantics in a simple, step-by-step fashion. Each unit includes short sections of explanation with examples, followed by stimulating practice exercises to complete in the book. Feedback and comment sections follow each exercise to enable students to monitor their progress. No previous background in semantics is assumed, as students begin by discovering the value and fascination of the subject and then move through all key topics in the field, including sense and reference, simple (...) logic, word meaning and interpersonal meaning. New study guides and exercises have been added to the end of each unit to help reinforce and test learning. A completely new unit on non-literal language and metaphor, plus updates throughout the text significantly expand the scope of the original edition to bring it up-to-date with modern teaching of semantics for introductory courses in linguistics as well as intermediate students. (shrink)
At the phenomenal level, consciousness arises in a consistently coherent fashion as a singular, unified field of recursive self-awareness (subjectivity) with explicitly orientational characteristics—that of a subject located both spatially and temporally in an egocentrically-extended domain. Understanding these twin elements of consciousness begins with the recognition that ultimately (and most primitively), cognitive systems serve the biological self-regulatory regime in which they subsist. The psychological structures supporting self-located subjectivity involve an evolutionary elaboration of the two basic elements necessary for extending self-regulation (...) into behavioral interaction with the environment: an orientative reference frame which consistently structures ongoing interaction in terms of controllable spatiotemporal parameters, and processing architecture that relates behavior to homeostatic needs via feedback. Over time, constant evolutionary pressures for energy efficiency have encouraged the emergence of anticipative feedforward processing mechanisms, and the elaboration, at the apex of the sensorimotor processing hierarchy, of self-activating, highly attenuated recursively-feedforward circuitry processing the basic orientational schema independent of external action output. As the primary reference frame of active waking cognition, this recursive self-locational schema processing generates a zone of subjective self-awareness in terms of which it feels like something to be oneself here and now. This is consciousness-as-subjectivity. (shrink)
Contemporary political discourse is marked with the language of democracy, and Western countries in particular seek to promote democracy at home and abroad. However, there is a sublimated conflict in general political discourse between a desire to rely on alleged political experts and a desire to assert the supposed common sense of all men. Can the struggle between the democratic and aristocratic values embodied in this conflict be reconciled? The question is perennial, and raises issues that are central to constitutional (...) design. Aristotle, developing in significant ways insights made by his teacher Plato, grapples with it in his Politics. Aristotle's views on these matters are relevant—by way of the American Founders'—to contemporary American politics and modern democracies generally. During the eighteenth century, the Founders, some of whom explicitly reached back to Aristotle's work, also struggled—especially in The Federalist Papers—with these thorny issues of constitutional design. They created the U.S. Constitution in part to address these very same problems and issues. We are living in some ways, then, in the shadow of Aristotle's political theorizing, albeit as transposed by the American Founders. Both Aristotle and some of the American Founders theoretically favor aristocracy over democracy, but concede that in practice a blend of the two has to be integrated into the fundamental structure of political society. We need to reconnect with these important political discussions in order to come to terms with aristocratic and democratic values in our current circumstances. Footnotesa I am grateful to Fred Miller and David Keyt for many helpful suggestions and thoughtful questions throughout the editing process. I would also like to thank Irfan Khawaja for valuable feedback on an earlier version of this essay. (shrink)