Van Gelder presents the distinction between dynamical systems and digital computers as the core issue of current developments in cognitive science. We think this distinction is much less important than a reassessment of cognition as a neurally, bodily, and environmentally embedded process. Embedded cognition lines up naturally with dynamical models, but it would also stand if combined with classic computation.
This paper will suggest a mapping for human dynamics to see where emerging digital technology currently and could further affect the dynamics of the human, technological and natural, and the cultural forms that define them. Emerging technology will be seen to reveal and surpass the limitations of human measures built on human abilities and perception. and the social structures that are derived from them. The formation of this conceptual mapping is based on the premise that digital technology has the ability (...) to better relay and hence refine dynamics working at points where culture is created and necessitated in our perception of a shared reality. Technology thus alleviates the layering, representation, labelling, and reification notions of culture that are based in human perceptual limitations. Information as referential will be seen against the tendency of technology to offer succinct mediation and direct actions as a format for any change and application with refined cultural constructions. The mapping presents a notion of homeostasis or more bereft of balance at the point where the proximal dynamics of the unit, that is, the individual, is closely supported by the technology with a changing orientation to the dynamics of a natural environment. The notion of a person as an individual is also reconsidered in terms of technology and how this changing definition is part of how we conceptualize a balanced world. Nonlinear mapping rendered in a complex will be introduced to align these mixed dynamics. Complex is here defined as a concurrence of dynamics evident in shifts of change that act as a whole and where each action affects the whole. As measures are revealed so, too, will be the source of notions of linearity and nonlinearity; mapping; point of view as a basis of complexity; and evolutionary theory as a function of a labeling of cultural dynamics. (shrink)
The sensation-perception distinction did not appear before the seventeenth century, but since then various formulations of it have gained wide acceptance. This is not an historical accident and the article suggests an explanation for its appearance. Section 1 describes a basic assumption underlying the sensation-perception distinction, to wit, the postulation of a pure sensory stage--viz. sensation--devoid of active influence of the agent's cognitive, emotional, and evaluative frameworks. These frameworks are passive in that stage. I call this postulation the passivity assumption. (...) Section 2 suggests three major reasons for the emergence of this assumption in the seventeenth century: the mental-physical gap, the causal theory of perception, and epistemological considerations regarding the status of the sensory given. In the last section a critical discussion is presented. The passivity assumption is found to have serious empirical and theoretical flaws. (shrink)