There is much good work for philosophers to do in cognitivescience if they adopt the constructive attitude that prevails in science, work toward testable hypotheses, and take on the task of clarifying the relationship between the scientiﬁc concepts and the everyday concepts with which we conduct our moral lives.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a core area of CognitiveScience, yet today few AI researchers attend the CognitiveScience Society meetings. This essay examines why, how AI has changed over the last 30 years, and some emerging areas of potential interest where AI and the Society can go together in the next 30 years, if they choose.
Contrary to common views that philosophy is extraneous to cognitivescience, this paper argues that philosophy has a crucial role to play in cognitivescience with respect to generality and normativity. General questions include the nature of theories and explanations, the role of computer simulation in cognitive theorizing, and the relations among the different ﬁelds of cognitivescience. Normative questions include whether human thinking should be Bayesian, whether decision making should maximize expected utility, (...) and how norms should be established. These kinds of general and normative questions make philosophical reﬂection an important part of progress in cognitivescience. Philosophy operates best, however, not with a priori reasoning or conceptual analysis, but rather with empirically informed reﬂection on a wide range of ﬁndings in cognitivescience. (shrink)
Anthropology and the other cognitivescience (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility (...) between (1) CS and (2) anthropology with regard to methodology and (3) research strategies, (4) the importance of anthropology for CS, and (5) the need for disciplinary diversity. Given this set of challenges, a reconciliation seems unlikely to follow on the heels of good intentions alone. (shrink)
Cognitive anthropology contributes to cognitivescience as a complement to cognitive psychology. The chief threat to its survival has not been rejection by other cognitive scientists but by other cultural anthropologists. It will remain a part of cognitivescience as long as cognitive anthropologists research, teach, and publish.
This conclusion of the debate on anthropology’s role in cognitivescience provides some clarifications and an overview of emergent themes. It also lists, as cases of good practice, some examples of productive cross-disciplinary collaboration that evince a forward momentum in the relationship between anthropology and the other cognitive sciences.
This paper reviews 30 years of progress in U.S. cognitivescience research related to education and training, as seen from the perspective of a research manager who was personally involved in many of these developments.
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitivescience concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended (...) from the work of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate a plausible (...) theory of general ideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitivescience. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitivescience has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
Cognitive systems research has predominantly been guided by the historical distinction between emotion and cognition, and has focused its efforts on modelling the “cognitive” aspects of behaviour. While this initially meant modelling only the control system of cognitive creatures, with the advent of “embodied” cognitivescience this expanded to also modelling the interactions between the control system and the external environment. What did not seem to change with this embodiment revolution, however, was the attitude towards (...) affect and emotion in cognitivescience. This paper argues that cognitive systems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitive systems into cognitivescience proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitivescience”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitive systems. (shrink)
A variety of inaccurate claims about Gold's Theorem have appeared in the cognitivescience literature. I begin by characterizing the logic of this theorem and its proof. I then examine several claims about Gold's Theorem, and I show why they are false. Finally, I assess the significance of Gold's Theorem for cognitivescience.
My purpose in this brief paper is to consider the implications of a radically different computer architecure to some fundamental problems in the foundations of CognitiveScience. More exactly, I wish to consider the ramifications of the 'Gödel-Minds-Machines' controversy of the late 1960s on a dynamically changing computer architecture which, I venture to suggest, is going to revolutionize which 'functions' of the human mind can and cannot be modelled by (non-human) computational automata. I will proceed on the presupposition (...) that the reader is familiar with some of the fundamentals of computational theory and mathematical logic. (shrink)
Neuroethology is a branch of biology that studies the neural basis of naturally occurring animal behavior. This science, particularly a recent program called computational neuroethology, has a similar structure to the interdisciplinary endeavor of cognitivescience. I argue that it would be fruitful to conceive of cognitivescience as the computational neuroethology of humans. However, there are important differences between the two sciences, including the fact that neuroethology is much more comparative in its perspective. Neuroethology (...) is a biological science and as such, evolution is a central notion. Its target organisms are studied in the context of their evolutionary history. The central goal of this paper is to argue that cognitivescience can and ought to be more comparative in its approach to cognitive phenomena in humans. I show how the domain of cognitive phenomena can be divided up into four different classes, individuated by the relative phylogenetic uniqueness of the behavior. I then describe how comparative evidence can enrich our understanding in each of these different arenas. (shrink)
CognitiveScience is a promising field of research that deals with one of the most fundamental questions ever: how do beings know? However, despite the long and extensive tradition of the field it has not yet become an area of knowledge with scientific identity. This is primarily due to three reasons: the lack of boundaries in defining the object of study, i.e. cognition, the lack of a precise, robust and consistent scientific methodology and results, and the inner problems (...) derived from its interdisciplinary nature. This paper presents a background review, a theoretical frame and a humble reflection on these topics in order to arouse the internal debate among readers once more. (shrink)
The notion of levels has been widely used in discussions of cognitivescience, especially in discussions of the relation of connectionism to symbolic modeling of cognition. I argue that many of the notions of levels employed are problematic for this purpose, and develop an alternative notion grounded in the framework of mechanistic explanation. By considering the source of the analogies underlying both symbolic modeling and connectionist modeling, I argue that neither is likely to provide an adequate analysis of (...) processes at the level at which cognitive theories attempt to function: One is drawn from too low a level, the other from too high a level. If there is a distinctly cognitive level, then we still need to determine what are the basic organizational principles at that level. (shrink)
The renowned philosopher Jerry Fodor, a leading figure in the study of the mind for more than twenty years, presents a strikingly original theory on the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of cognitivescience is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, deals out witty and pugnacious demolitions of (...) rival theories, and suggests that future work on human cognition should build upon new foundations. This lively, conversational, and superbly accessible book is the first volume in the Oxford CognitiveScience Series, where the best original work in this field will be presented to a broad readership. Concepts will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary work on mind and language. Cognitivescience will never be the same again. (shrink)
The concept of emergence is widely used in both the philosophy of mind and in cognitivescience. In the philosophy of mind it serves to refer to seemingly irreducible phenomena, in cognitivescience it is often used to refer to phenomena not explicitly programmed. There is no unique concept of emergence available that serves both purposes.
The term phenomenology can be used in a generic sense to cover a variety of areas related to the problem of consciousness. In this sense it is a title that ranges over issues pertaining to first-person or subjective experience, qualia, and what has become known as "the hard problem" (Chalmers 1995). The term is sometimes used even more generally to signify a variety of approaches to studying such issues, including contemplative, meditative, and mystical studies, and transpersonal psychology.(1) Within the disciplines (...) of philosophy and psychology, however, phenomenology has a more specialized meaning. In this case it refers to the methodology and philosophy initiated by the philosopher Edmund Husserl at the beginning of the twentieth-century and developed in various ways by theorists such as Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Schutz. I restrict the scope of this review to phenomenology in this more specialized sense. In the light of several recent publications, the general questions I address are: What is and what ought to be the relationship between phenomenology and cognitivescience? and What, if any, recent contributions has phenomenology made to the science of consciousness? (shrink)
The last 15 years or so has seen the development of a fascinating new area of cognitivescience: the cognitivescience of religion (CSR). Scientists in this field aim to explain religious beliefs and various other religious human activities by appeal to basic cognitive structures that all humans possess. The CSR scientific theories raise an interesting philosophical question: do they somehow show that religious belief, more specifically belief in a god of some kind, is irrational? (...) In this paper I investigate this question and argue that CSR does not show that belief in god is irrational. (shrink)
This article critically examines the views that psychology ?rst came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology ?nally became scienti?c through the in?uence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitivescience and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, (...) that philosophers and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the ?rst two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively in?uenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psy- chology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of arti?cial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitivescience, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitivescience and neuroscience. (shrink)
Psychology is the study of thinking, and cognitivescience is the interdisciplinary investigation of mind and intelligence that also includes philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. In these investigations, many philosophical issues arise concerning methods and central concepts. The Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and CognitiveScience contains 16 essays by leading philosophers of science that illuminate the nature of the theories and explanations used in the investigation of minds. Topics discussed include representation, mechanisms, (...) reduction, perception, consciousness, language, emotions, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. Key Features - Comprehensive coverage of philosophy of psychology and cognitivescience - Distinguished contributors: leading philosophers in this area - Contributions closely tied to relevant scientific research. (shrink)
The cultural transmission of theological concepts remains an underexplored topic in the cognitivescience of religion (CSR). In this paper, I examine whether approaches from CSR, especially the study of content biases in the transmission of beliefs, can help explain the cultural success of some theological concepts. This approach reveals that there is more continuity between theological beliefs and ordinary religious beliefs than CSR authors have hitherto recognized: the cultural transmission of theological concepts is influenced by content biases (...) that also underlie the reception of ordinary religious concepts. (shrink)
This book explores how people's subjective, felt experiences of their bodies in action provide part of the fundamental grounding for human cognition and language. Cognition is what occurs when the body engages the physical and cultural world and must be studied in terms of the dynamical interactions between people and the environment. Human language and thought emerge from recurring patterns of embodied activity that constrain ongoing intelligent behavior. We must not assume cognition to be purely internal, symbolic, computational, and disembodied, (...) but seek out the gross and detailed ways that language and thought are inextricably shaped by embodied action. Embodiment and CognitiveScience describes the abundance of empirical evidence from many disciplines, including work on perception, concepts, imagery and reasoning, language and communication, cognitive development, and emotions and consciousness, that support the idea that the mind is embodied. (shrink)
John Bickle's Psychoneural reduction: the new wave (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998) aims to resurrect reductionism within philosophy of mind. He develops a new model of scientific reduction, geared to enhancing our understanding of how theories in neuroscience and cognitivescience are interrelated. I put this discussion in context, and assess the prospects for new wave reductionism, both as a general model of scientific reduction and as an attempt to defend reductionism in the philosophy of mind.
Though nativist hypotheses have played a pivotal role in the development of cognitivescience, it remains exceedingly obscure how they—and the debates in which they ﬁgure—ought to be understood. The central aim of this paper is to provide an account which addresses this concern and in so doing: a) makes sense of the roles that nativist theorizing plays in cognitivescience and, moreover, b), explains why it really matters to the contemporary study of cognition. I conclude (...) by outlining a range of further implications of this account for current debate in cognitivescience. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that Hume endorses the claim that causal cognition can be fully explained in terms of nothing but custom and habit. Associative learning does, of course, play a major role in the cognitive psychology of the Treatise. But Hume recognizes that associations cannot provide a complete account of causal thought. If human beings lacked the capacity to reflect on rules for judging causes and effects, then we could not (as we do) distinguish between accidental and genuine (...) regularities, and Hume could not (as he does) carry out his science of human nature. One might reply that what appears to be rule-governed behavior might emerge from associative systems that do not literally employ rules. But this response fails: there is a growing consensus in cognitivescience that any adequate account of causal learning must invoke active, controlled cognitive processes. (shrink)
When the various disciplines participating in cognitivescience are listed, philosophy almost always gets a guernsey. Yet, a couple of years ago at the conference of the CognitiveScience Society in Boulder (USA), there was no philosophy or philosopher with any prominence on the program. When queried on this point, the organizer (one of the "superstars" of the field) claimed it was partly an accident, but partly also due to an impression among members of the committee (...) that philosophy is basically a waste of time. Philosophy, they thought, is mostly obscure bullshit that does little to help, and much to hinder, real progress in cognitivescience. (shrink)
Cognitivescience is ready for a major reconceptualization. This is not at all because efforts by its practitioners have failed, but rather because so much progress has been made. The need for reconceptualization arises from the fact that this progress has come at greater cost than necessary, largely because of more or less philosophical (at least metatheoretical) straightjackets still worn - whether wittingly or not - by those doing the work. These bonds are extremely hard to break. Even (...) some of those who have directed powerful arguments against them have failed entirely to shake them off. The bonds are often attributed to the work of René Descartes, but they are really much older than that. If even in the present effort, I fail entirely to remove the straightjacket myself (even though I am making every attempt to get it off), this will testify to its tight grip. The straightjacket I am thinking about, of course, is the vague picture of the human situation that imagines centralized, internal minds in control of bodily machines. While almost no one in the contemporary cognitivescience arena imagines minds to be the kind of thing Descartes took them to be - instantiations of a unique, fully non-material substance - there is nevertheless a deep resistance, even among the most fervent professed "materialists," to giving up this picture. In what follows, I shall try to offer an approach which on the one hand capitalizes on the excellent progress that has been made in cognitivescience in the last few decades, and which on the other hand offers a general approach that may help at some level in the attempt to shake "Cartesian" bonds. The approach, as the alert reader already knows from the title of the essay, is an "ecological" approach. (shrink)
Functional reductionism concerning mental properties has recently been advocated by Jaegwon Kim in order to solve the problem of the 'causal exclusion' of the mental. Adopting a reductionist strategy first proposed by David Lewis, he regards psychological properties as being 'higher-order' properties functionally defined over 'lower-order' properties, which are causally efficacious. Though functional reductionism is compatible with the multiple realizability of psychological properties, it is blocked if psychological properties are subdivided or crosscut by neurophysiological properties. I argue that there is (...) recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience that shows that this is the case for the psychological property of fear. Though this may suggest that some psychological properties should be revised in order to conform to those of neurophysiology, the history of science demonstrates that this is not always the outcome, particularly with properties that play an important role in our folk theories and are central to human concerns. (shrink)
In this article I take an unusual starting point from which to argue for a unified cognitivescience, namely a position defined by what is sometimes called the ‘life-mind continuity thesis’. Accordingly, rather than taking a widely accepted starting point for granted and using it in order to propose answers to some well defined questions, I must first establish that the idea of life-mind continuity can amount to a proper starting point at all. To begin with, I therefore (...) assess the conceptual tools which are available to construct a theory of mind on this basis. By drawing on insights from a variety of disciplines, especially from a combination of existential phenomenology and organism- centered biology, I argue that mind can indeed be conceived as rooted in life, but only if we accept at the same time that social interaction plays a constitutive role for our cognitive capacities. (shrink)
I sketch an explanatory framework that fits a variety of contemporary research programs in cognitivescience. I then investigate the scope and the implications of this framework. The framework emphasizes (a) the explanatory role played by the semantic content of cognitive representations, and (b) the important mechanistic, non-intentional dimension of cognitive explanations. I show how both of these features are present simultaneously in certain varieties of cognitive explanation. I also consider the explanatory role played by (...) grounded representational content, that is, content evaluated by appeal to its truth, falsity, accuracy, inaccuracy and other relational properties. (shrink)
It is often assumed that cognitivescience is built upon folk psychology, and that challenges to folk psychology are therefore challenges to cognitivescience itself. We argue that, in practice, cognitivescience and folk psychology treat entirely non-overlapping domains: cognitivescience considers aspects of mental life which do not depend on general knowledge, whereas folk psychology considers aspects of mental life which do depend on general knowledge. We back up our argument on (...) theoretical grounds, and also illustrate the separation between cognitive scientific and folk psychological phenomena in a number of cognitive domains. We consider the methodological and theoretical significance of our arguments for cognitivescience research. (shrink)
Which notion of computation (if any) is essential for explaining cognition? Five answers to this question are discussed in the paper. (1) The classicist answer: symbolic (digital) computation is required for explaining cognition; (2) The broad digital computationalist answer: digital computation broadly construed is required for explaining cognition; (3) The connectionist answer: sub-symbolic computation is required for explaining cognition; (4) The computational neuroscientist answer: neural computation (that, strictly, is neither digital nor analogue) is required for explaining cognition; (5) The extreme (...) dynamicist answer: computation is not required for explaining cognition. The first four answers are only accurate to a first approximation. But the “devil” is in the details. The last answer cashes in on the parenthetical “if any” in the question above. The classicist argues that cognition is symbolic computation. But digital computationalism need not be equated with classicism. Indeed, computationalism can, in principle, range from digital (and analogue) computationalism through (the weaker thesis of) generic computationalism to (the even weaker thesis of) digital (or analogue) pancomputationalism. Connectionism, which has traditionally been criticised by classicists for being non-computational, can be plausibly construed as being either analogue or digital computationalism (depending on the type of connectionist networks used). Computational neuroscience invokes the notion of neural computation that may (possibly) be interpreted as a sui generis type of computation. The extreme dynamicist argues that the time has come for a post-computational cognitivescience. This paper is an attempt to shed some light on this debate by examining various conceptions and misconceptions of (particularly digital) computation. (shrink)
My purpose in this essay is to clarify the notion of explanation by computer simulation in artificial intelligence and cognitivescience. My contention is that computer simulation may be understood as providing two different kinds of explanation, which makes the notion of explanation by computer simulation ambiguous. In order to show this, I shall draw a distinction between two possible ways of understanding the notion of simulation, depending on how one views the relation in which a computing system (...) that performs a cognitive task stands to the program that the system runs while performing that task. Next, I shall suggest that the kind of explanation that results from simulation is radically different in each case. In order to illustrate the difference, I will point out some prima facie methodological difficulties that need to be addressed in order to ensure that simulation plays a legitimate explanatory role in cognitivescience, and I shall emphasize how those difficulties are very different depending on the notion of explanation involved. (shrink)
I argue that intentional psychology does not stand in need of vindication by a lower-level implementation theory from cognitivescience, in particular the representational theory of mind (RTM), as most famously Jerry Fodor has argued. The stance of the paper is novel in that I claim this holds even if one, in line with Fodor, views intentional psychology as an empirical theory, and its theoretical posits as as real as those of other sciences. I consider four metaphysical arguments (...) for the idea that intentional psychological states, such as beliefs, must be seen as requiring in-the-head mental representations for us to be able to understand their characteristic causal powers and argue that none of them validly generate their desired conclusions. I go on to argue that RTM, or some computational version thereof, is not motivated by appeal to the nature of cognitivescience research either. I conclude that intentional psychology, though an empirical theory, is autonomous from details of lower level mechanism in a way that renders RTM unwarranted. (shrink)
David Marr provided a useful framework for theorizing about cognition within classical, AI-style cognitivescience, in terms of three levels of description: the levels of (i) cognitive function, (ii) algorithm and (iii) physical implementation. We generalize this framework: (i) cognitive state transitions, (ii) mathematical/functional design and (iii) physical implementation or realization. Specifying the middle, design level to be the theory of dynamical systems yields a nonclassical, alternative framework that suits (but is not committed to) connectionism. We (...) consider how a brain's (or a network's) being a dynamical system might be the key both to its realizing various essential features of cognition — productivity, systematicity, structure-sensitive processing, syntax — and also to a non-classical solution of (frame-type) problems plaguing classical cognitivescience. (shrink)
In this book, Edward Stein offers a clear critical account of the debate about rationality in philosophy and cognitivescience. He discusses concepts of rationality--the pictures of rationality on which the debate centers--and assesses the empirical evidence used to argue that humans are irrational. He concludes that the question of human rationality must be answered not conceptually but empirically, using the full resources of an advanced cognitivescience. Furthermore, he extends this conclusion to argue that empirical (...) considerations are also relevant to the theory of knowledge--in other words, that epistemology should be naturalized. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the new Tweety puzzle. The original Tweety puzzle was addressed by approaches in non-monotonic logic, which aim to adequately represent the Tweety case, namely that Tweety is a penguin and, thus, an exceptional bird, which cannot fly, although in general birds can fly. The new Tweety puzzle is intended as a challenge for probabilistic theories of epistemic states. In the first part of the paper we argue against monistic Bayesians, who assume that epistemic states can (...) at any given time be adequately described by a single subjective probability function. We show that monistic Bayesians cannot provide an adequate solution to the new Tweety puzzle, because this requires one to refer to a frequency-based probability function. We conclude that monistic Bayesianism cannot be a fully adequate theory of epistemic states. In the second part we describe an empirical study, which provides support for the thesis that monistic Bayesianism is also inadequate as a descriptive theory of cognitive states. In the final part of the paper we criticize Bayesian approaches in cognitivescience, insofar as their monistic tendency cannot adequately address the new Tweety puzzle. We, further, argue against monistic Bayesianism in cognitivescience by means of a case study. In this case study we show that Oaksford and Chater’s (2007, 2008) model of conditional inference—contrary to the authors’ theoretical position—has to refer also to a frequency-based probability function. (shrink)
This is an overview of recent philosophical discussion about connectionism and the foundations of cognitivescience. Connectionist modeling in cognitivescience is described. Three broad conceptions of the mind are characterized, and their comparative strengths and weaknesses are discussed: (1) the classical computational conception in cognitivescience; (2) a popular foundational interpretation of connectionism that John Tienson and I call “non-sentential computationalism”; and (3) an alternative interpretation of connectionism we call “dynamical cognition.” Also discussed (...) are two recent philosophical attempts to enlist connectionism in defense of eliminativism about folk psychology. (shrink)
From his earliest work forward, Merleau-Ponty attempted to develop a new ontology of nature that would avoid the antinomies of realism and idealism by showing that nature has its own endogenous sense which is prior to reflection. The key to this new ontology was the concept of form, which he appropriated from Gestalt psychology. However, Merleau-Ponty struggled to give a positive characterization of the phenomenon of form which would clarify its ontological status. Evan Thompson has recently taken up Merleau-Ponty’s ontology (...) as the basis for a new, “enactive” approach to cognitivescience, synthesizing it with concepts from dynamic systems theory and Francisco Varela’s theory of autopoiesis. However, Thompson does not quite succeed in resolving the ambiguities in Merleau-Ponty’s account of form. This article builds on an indication from Thompson in order to propose a new account of form as asymmetry, and of the genesis of form in nature as symmetry-breaking. These concepts help us to escape the antinomies of Modern thought by showing how nature is the autoproduction of a sense which can only be known by an embodied perceiver. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the interdisciplinary project of investigating the true nature of color vision. In recent times, research into color vision has been one of the main success stories of cognitivescience. Each discipline in the field--neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and philosophy--has contributed significantly to our understanding of color. Evan Thompson provides an accessible review of current scientific and philosophical discussions of color vision. He steers a course between the subjective and objective (...) positions on color, arguing for a relational account. Thompson develops a novel "ecological" approach to color vision in cognitivescience and the philosophy of perception. The book is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
When it comes to applying computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, cognitive scientists appear to face a dilemma. The only strategy that seems to be available is one that explains consciousness in terms of special kinds of computational processes. But such theories, while they dominate the field, have counter-intuitive consequences; in particular, they force one to accept that phenomenal experience is composed of information processing effects. For cognitive scientists, therefore, it seems to come down to a (...) choice between a counter-intuitive theory or no theory at all. We offer a way out of this dilemma. We argue that the computational theory of mind doesn't force cognitive scientists to explain consciousness in terms of computational processes, as there is an alternative strategy available: one that focuses on the representational vehicles that encode information in the brain. This alternative approach to consciousness allows us to do justice to the standard intuitions about phenomenal experience, yet remain within the confines of cognitivescience. (shrink)
The primacy of practice in the development of knowledge is one of materialism’s fundamental tenets. Most arguments supporting it have been strictly philosophical. However, over the past thirty years cognitivescience has provided mounting evidence supporting the primacy of practice. Particularly striking is its finding that thought is fundamentally metaphoric—that images emerging from everyday embodied activities not only make ordinary experiences intelligible, but also underpin our more abstract engagements with the world, elaborated in disciplines such as ethics and (...)science. Cognitivescience’s implications must now be absorbed into critical realism. Cognitivescience bolsters critical realism by providing a scientifically-grounded analysis of the passage from body to mind and the fundamental unity between them, while sustaining their distinctiveness. Its implications for critical realism ripple out in four waves: first, critical realism’s understanding of the mind/body relationship; second, its concepts of the process that connects theory and practice, and what that means for critical realism’s view of intellectual production, the place of metaphor in scientific theorization, and cultural development; its view of culture as a complexwhole; and finally, its theory of human agency as embodied and intentional. (shrink)
The so-called ‘cognitive revolution’ (Gardner, 1985) in American psychology owed much to developments in adjacent disciplines, especially theoretical linguistics and computer science. Indeed, the cognitive revolution brought forth, not only a change in the conception of psychology, but also an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding the mind, involving philosophy, anthropology and neuroscience along with computer science, linguistics and psychology. Many commentators agree in dating the conception of this inter-disciplinary approach, cognitivescience, to 11 September 1956, (...) the second day of a symposium on information theory held at MIT (Miller, 2003). Over the next twenty years or so, cognitivescience developed an institutional presence through research centres, conferences, journals, and a substantial infusion of funds from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. (shrink)
In this paper, I outline two strands of evidence for the conclusion that the dynamical approach to cognitivescience both seeks and provides covering law explanations. Two of the most successful dynamical models—Kelso’s model of rhythmic finger movement and Thelen et al.’s model of infant perseverative reaching—can be seen to provide explanations which conform to the famous explanatory scheme first put forward by Hempel and Oppenheim. In addition, many prominent advocates of the dynamical approach also express the provision (...) of this kind of explanation as a goal of dynamical cognitivescience. I conclude by briefly outlining two consequences. First, dynamical cognitivescience’s explanatory style may strengthen its links to the so-called “situated” approach to cognition, but, secondly, it may also undermine the widespread intuition that dynamics is related to emergentism in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)