This is a contribution to construction of a research roadmap for future cognitivesystems, including intelligent robots, in the context of the euCognition network, and UKCRC Grand Challenge 5: Architecture of Brain and Mind. -/- A meeting on the euCognition roadmap project was held at Munich Airport on 11th Jan 2007. This document was in part a response to discussions at that meeting. An explanation of why specifying requirements is a hard problem, and why it needs to be (...) done, along with some suggestions for making progress, can be found in this presentation: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cosy/papers/#pr0701 "What's a Research Roadmap For? Why do we need one? How can we produce one?" Working on that presentation made me realise that certain deceptively familiar words and phrases frequently used in this context (e.g. "robust". "flexible", "autonomous") appear not to need explanation because everyone understands them, whereas in fact they have obscure semantics that needs to be elucidated. Only then can we understand what the implications are for research targets. In particular, they need explanation and analysis if they are to be used to specify requirements and research goals, especially for publicly funded projects. -/- First draft analyses are presented here. In the long term I would like to expand and clarify those analyses, and to provide many different examples to illustrate the points made. This will probably have to be a collaborative research activity. (shrink)
The use of cognitivesystems like pattern recognition or video tracking technology in security applications is becoming ever more common. The paper considers cases in which the cognitivesystems are meant to assist human tasks by providing information, but the final decision is left to the human. All these systems and their various applications have a common feature: an intrinsic difference in how a situation or an event is assessed by a human being and a (...)cognitive system. This difference, which here is named “the model gap,” is analyzed pertaining to its epistemic role and its ethical consequences. The main results are as follows: (1) The model gap is not a problem, which might be solved by future research, but the central feature of cognitivesystems. (2) The model gap appears on two levels: the aspects of the world, which are evaluated, and the way they are processed. This leads to changes in central concepts. While differences on the first level often are the very reason for the deployment of cognitivesystems, the latter is hard to notice and often goes unreflected. (3) Such a missing reflection is ethically problematic because the human is meant to give the final judgment. It is particularly problematic in security applications where it might lead to a conflation of descriptive and normative concepts. (4) The idea of the human operator having the last word is based on an assumption of independent judgment. This assumption is flawed for two reasons: The cognitive system and the human operators form a “hybrid system” the components of which cannot be assessed independently; and additional modes of judgment might pose new ethical problems. (shrink)
The complex systems approach to cognitive science invites a new understanding of extended cognitivesystems. According to this understanding, extended cognitivesystems are heterogenous, composed of brain, body, and niche, non-linearly coupled to one another. This view of cognitivesystems, as non-linearly coupled brain–body–niche systems, promises conceptual and methodological advances. In this article we focus on two of these. First, the fundamental interdependence among brain, body, and niche makes it possible to (...) explain extended cognition without invoking representations or computation. Second, cognition and conscious experience can be understood as a single phenomenon, eliminating fruitless philosophical discussion of qualia and the so-called hard problem of consciousness. What we call “extended phenomenological-cognitivesystems” are relational and dynamical entities, with interactions among heterogeneous parts at multiple spatial and temporal scales. (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 cognitive science, 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)
In this paper we describe the nature and problems of business and define one aspect of the business environment. We then propose a framework based on augmented soft systems methodology and object technology that captures both the soft and hard aspects of a business environment within the context of organisational culture. We also briefly discuss cognitive informatics and its relevance to understanding problems and solutions. Pólya's work, which is based around solving mathematical problems, is considered within the context (...) of information systems development. We propose a generic reusable business object model based on general systems theory. We also show how these approaches can be integrated to provide a strategy for understanding business problems and developing integrated solutions. (shrink)
This paper deals with the problem of understanding semiosis and meaning in cognitivesystems. To this aim we argue for a unified two-factor account according to which both external and internal information are non-independent aspects of meaning, thus contributing as a whole in determining its nature. To overcome the difficulties stemming from this approach we put forward a theoretical scheme based on the definition of a suitable representation space endowed with a set of transformations, and we show how (...) it can be implemented, in the case of a single agent, by a neural network architecture. Numerical experiments conducted on different instances of the latter show that similar representations are developed as a consequence of the fact that these instances are facing a similar semantic task. This allows to model social and environmental influences through a system of interacting agents, each described by a specific implementation of this model architecture. (shrink)
From the perspective of cognitive science, it is illuminating to think of much contemporary scienti?c research as taking place in distributed cognitivesystems. This is particularly true of large-scale experimental and observational systems such as the Hubble Telescope. Clark, Hutchins, Knorr-Cetina, and Latour insist or imply such a move requires expanding our notions of knowledge, mind, and even consciousness. Whether this is correct seems to me not a straightforward factual question. Rather, the issue seems to be (...) how best to develop a theoretical understanding of such systems appropriate to the study of science and technology. I argue that there is no need to attribute to such systems as a whole any form of cognitive agency. We can well understand the importance of such systems while restricting agency to the human components. The implication is that we think of these large-scale distributed cognitivesystems not so much as uni?ed wholes, but as hybrid systems including both physical artifacts and ordinary humans. (shrink)
In this paper, we will consider the neuro-cognitivesystems involved in mediating morality. Five main claims will be made. First, that there are multiple, partially separable neuro-cognitive architectures that mediate specific aspects of morality: social convention, care-based morality, disgust-based morality and fairness/justice. Second, that all aspects of morality, including social convention, involve affect. Third, that the neural system particularly important for social convention, given its role in mediating anger and responding to angry expressions, is ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. (...) Fourth, that the neural systems particularly important for care-based morality are the amygdala and medial orbital frontal cortex. Fifth, that while Theory of Mind is not a prerequisite for the development of affect-based 'automatic moral attitudes', it is critically involved in many aspects of moral reasoning. (shrink)
Robert Rupert is well-known as an vigorous opponent of the hypothesis of extended cognition (HEC). His CognitiveSystems and the Extended Mind is a first-rate development of his “systems-based” approach to demarcating the mind. The results are impressive. Rupert’s account brings much-needed clarity to the often-frustrating debate over HEC: much more than just an attack on HEC, he gives a compelling picture of why the debate matters.
Recent work on the role of models in science has revealed a great many kinds of models performing many different roles. In this paper I suggest that one can find much unity among all this diversity by thinking of many models as being components of distributed cognitivesystems. I begin by distinguishing the relevant notion of a distributed cognitive system and then give examples of different kinds of models that can be thought of as functioning as components (...) of such systems. These include both physical and abstract models. After considering several objections, I conclude by locating distributed cognition within larger movements in contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
In previous publications I have argued that much scientific activity should be thought of as involving the operation of distributed cognitivesystems. Since these contributions to the cognitive study of science appear in venues not necessarily frequented by philosophers of science, I begin with a brief introduction to the notion of a distributed cognitive system. I then describe what I take to be an exemplary case of a scientific distributed cognitive system, the Hubble Space Telescope (...) (HST). I do not here reargue the case for conceiving of systems like the HST as distributed cognitivesystems. Rather, I examine a question that arises once one has adopted the perspective of distributed cognitivesystems, namely, the role of agency in a distributed cognitive system. Here I argue, contrary to several advocates of distributed cognitivesystems, that we should regard the human components of distributed cognitivesystems as the only sources of agency within such systems. In particular, we should not extend notions of agency to such systems as a whole. (shrink)
CognitiveSystems and the Extended Mind surveys philosophical issues raised by the situated movement in cognitive science, that is, the treatment of cognitive phenomena as the joint product of brain, body, and environment. The book focuses primarily on the hypothesis of extended cognition, which asserts that human cognitive processes literally comprise elements beyond the boundary of the human organism. Rupert argues that the only plausible way in which to demarcate cognitions is systems-based: cognitive (...) states or processes are the states of the integrated set of mechanisms and capacities that contribute casually and distinctively to the production of cognitive phenomena--for example, language-use, memory, decision-making, theory construction, and, more importantly, the associated forms of behavior. Rupert argues that this integrated systems is most likely to appear within the boundaries of the human organism. He argues that the systems-based view explains the existing successes of cognitive psychology and cognate fields in a way that extended conceptions of cognition do not, and that once the systems-based view has been adopted, it is especially clear how extant arguments in support of the extended view go wrong. CognitiveSystems also examines further aspects of the situated program in cognitive science, including the embedded and embodied approaches to cognition. Rupert asks to what extent the plausible incarnations of these situated views depart from orthodox, computational cognitive science. Here, Rupert focuses on the notions of representation and computation, arguing that the embedded and embodied views do not constitute the radical shifts in perspective they are often claimed to be. Rupert also argues that, properly understood, the embodied view does not offer a new role for the body, different in principle from the one presupposed by orthodox cognitive science. (shrink)
The present issue is the beginning of a new journal from various sub-disciplines and paradigms in order – CognitiveSystems Research – which we have to construct a coherent picture of how the various developed in response to what we perceive to be an pieces fit together overall. Such a synthesis is unfilled niche in the current literature in the areas of essential to the discovery of designs for general Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence.
In the following pages we propose a theory on cognitivesystems and the common strategies of perception, which are at the basis of their function. We demonstrate that these strategies are easily seen to be in place in known cognitivesystems such as vision and language. Furthermore we show that taking these strategies into consideration implies a new outlook on immune function calling for a new appraisal of the immune system as a cognitive system.
Research on linguistic interaction suggests that two or more individuals can sometimes form adaptive and cohesive systems. We describe an “alignment system” as a loosely interconnected set of cognitive processes that facilitate social interactions. As a dynamic, multi-component system, it is responsive to higher-level cognitive states such as shared beliefs and intentions (those involving collective intentionality) but can also give rise to such shared cognitive states via bottom-up processes. As an example of putative group cognition we (...) turn to transactive memory and suggest how further research on alignment in these cases might reveal how such systems can be genuinely described as cognitive. Finally, we address a prominent critique of collective cognitivesystems, arguing that there is much empirical and explanatory benefit to be gained from considering the possibility of group cognitivesystems, especially in the context of small-group human interaction. (shrink)
Agenda Relevance is the first volume in the authors' omnibus investigation of the logic of practical reasoning, under the collective title, A Practical Logic of CognitiveSystems. In this highly original approach, practical reasoning is identified as reasoning performed with comparatively few cognitive assets, including resources such as information, time and computational capacity. Unlike what is proposed in optimization models of human cognition, a practical reasoner lacks perfect information, boundless time and unconstrained access to computational complexity. The (...) practical reasoner is therefore obliged to be a cognitive economizer and to achieve his cognitive ends with considerable efficiency. Accordingly, the practical reasoner avails himself of various scarce-resource compensation strategies. He also possesses neurocognitive traits that abet him in his reasoning tasks. Prominent among these is the practical agent's striking (though not perfect) adeptness at evading irrelevant information and staying on task. On the approach taken here, irrelevancies are impediments to the attainment of cognitive ends. Thus, in its most basic sense, relevant information is cognitively helpful information. Information can then be said to be relevant for a practical reasoner to the extent that it advances or closes some cognitive agenda of his. The book explores this idea with a conceptual detail and nuance not seen the standard semantic, probabilistic and pragmatic approaches to relevance; but wherever possible, the authors seek to integrate alternative conceptions rather than reject them outright. A further attraction of the agenda-relevance approach is the extent to which its principal conceptual findings lend themselves to technically sophisticated re-expression in formal models that marshal the resources of time and action logics and label led deductive systems. Agenda Relevance is necessary reading for researchers in logic, belief dynamics, computer science, AI, psychology and neuroscience, linguistics, argumentation theory, and legal reasoning and forensic science, and will repay study by graduate students and senior undergraduates in these same fields. Key features: relevance action and agendas practical reasoning belief dynamics non-classical logics labelled deductive systems. (shrink)
The past 15 years have witnessed an increasing interest in the comparative study of language and music as cognitivesystems. Language and music are uniquely human traits, so it is not surprising that this interest spans practically all branches of cognitive science, including psychology, computer science, linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and education. Underlying the study of language and music is the assumption that the comparison of these two domains can shed light on the structural and functional properties (...) of each, while also serving as a test case for theories of how the mind and, ultimately, the brain work. -/- This book presents an interdisciplinary study of language and music, bringing together a team of leading specialists across these fields. The volume is structured around four core areas in which the study of music and language has been particularly fruitful: (i) structural comparisons, (ii) evolution, (iii) learning and processing, and (iv) neuroscience. As such it provides a snapshot of the different research strands that have focused on language and music, identifying current trends and methodologies that have been (or could be) applied to the study of both domains, and outlining future research directions. This volume is valuable in promoting the investigation of language and music by fostering interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration. -/- With an ever increasing interest in both music cognition and language, this book will be valuable for students and researchers of psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, and musicology. (shrink)
This Neurocomputing special issue is based on selected, expanded and signiﬁcantly revised versions of papers presented at the Second International Conference on Brain Inspired CognitiveSystems (BICS 2006) held at Lesvos, Greece, from 10 to 14 October 2006. The aim of BICS 2006, which followed the very successful ﬁrst BICS 2004 held at Stirling, Scotland, was to bring together leading scientists and engineers who use analytic, syntactic and computational methods both to understand the prodigious processing properties of biological (...)systems and, speciﬁcally, of the brain, and to exploit such knowledge to advance computational methods towards ever higher levels of cognitive competence. The biennial BICS Conference Series (with BICS 2008 recently held in Sao Luis, Brazil, 24–27 June, and BICS 2010 due to be held in Madrid, Spain) aims to become a major point of contact for research scientists, engineers and practitioners throughout the world in the ﬁelds of cognitive and computational systems inspired by the brain and biology. The ﬁrst paper in this special issue is by Carnell who presents an analysis of the use of Hebbian and Anti-Hebbian spike timedependent plasticity (STDP) learning functions within the context of recurrent spiking neural networks. He shows that under speciﬁc conditions Hebbian and Anti-Hebbian learning can be considered approximately equivalent. Finally, the author demonstrates that such a network habituates to a given stimulus and is capable of detecting subtle variations in the structure of the stimuli itself. Hodge, O’Keefe and Austin present a binary neural shape matcher using Johnson counters and chain codes. They show that images may be matched as whole images or using shape matching. Finally, they demonstrate shape matching using a binary associative-memory neural network to index and match chain codes where the chain code elements are represented by Johnson codes. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “A Cybernetic Computational Model for Learning and Skill Acquisition” by Bernard Scott & Abhinav Bansal. Upshot: The target paper acknowledges some early computer modelling that I did in the years 1966–1968 when working with Pask at System Research Ltd in Richmond. In the commentary, I revisit the roots of this kind of modelling and follow the trajectory from then to today’s growing understanding of the dynamics of cognitivesystems.
The term ‘module’ has – to my ear – too many associations with Fodor’s (1983) seminal book, and I will concentrate here on the more general notion of a cognitive system. The latter, as I will understand the term, is – roughly – a computational mechanism which can operate independently of all other computational mechanisms (for a much fuller and more precise treatment, see Lyons, 2001). To say that there is a face recognition system, for example, is to say, (...) at least in part, that there is a mechanism which by itself is capable of effecting a transformation from some set of inputs to face identification outputs. If there is one such system, there are likely to be several. Since systems may contain various subsystems, it is generally impossible to specify a system uniquely without specifying a set of inputs. The largest system that would count as a face recognition system would be the one that takes retinal irradiation arrays as inputs and delivers face identifications as outputs, but the last subsystem in this system would map high level representations to face identifications. For any task (where a task is construed as an input/output mapping), take away all cortical regions whose absence does not affect the ability of what is left to perform the task, and you are left with the system that performs that task. (shrink)
This paper examines the nature of model-based reasoning in the interplay between theory and experiment in the context of biomedical engineering research laboratories, where problem solving involves using physical models. These "model systems" are sites of experimentation where in vitro models are used to screen, control, and simulate specific aspects of in vivo phenomena. As with all models, simulation devices are idealized representations, but they are also systems themselves, possessing engineering constraints. Drawing on research in contemporary cognitive (...) science that construes cognition as occurring in a complex distributed system comprising people and artifacts, I argue that reasoning with model systems is a constraint satisfaction process involving co-construction, manipulation, and revision of mental and physical models. (shrink)
Visual analytics is a new interdisciplinary field of study that calls for a more structured scientific approach to understanding the effects of interaction with complex graphical displays on human cognitive processes. Its primary goal is to support the design and evaluation of graphical information systems that better support cognitive processes in areas as diverse as scientific research and emergency management. The methodologies that make up this new field are as yet ill defined. This paper proposes a pathway (...) for development of visual analytics as a translational cognitive science that bridges fundamental research in human/computer cognitivesystems and design and evaluation of information systems in situ. Achieving this goal will require the development of enhanced field methods for conceptual decomposition of human/computer cognitivesystems that maps onto laboratory studies, and improved methods for conducting laboratory investigations that might better map onto real-world cognitive processes in technology-rich environments. (shrink)
After more than 15 years of study, the 1/f noise or complex-systems approach to cognitive science has delivered promises of progress, colorful verbiage, and statistical analyses of phenomena whose relevance for cognition remains unclear. What the complex-systems approach has arguably failed to deliver are concrete insights about how people perceive, think, decide, and act. Without formal models that implement the proposed abstract concepts, the complex-systems approach to cognitive science runs the danger of becoming a philosophical (...) exercise in futility. The complex-systems approach can be informative and innovative, but only if it is implemented as a formal model that allows concrete prediction, falsification, and comparison against more traditional approaches. (shrink)
The computational hypothesis was formulated with due concern for limits and is consistent with imposed intelligibility doctrines. Theories are products of scientific work that impose human classifications and formalisms on nature. The claim that “cognitive agents are dynamical systems” is untenable. Dynamical formalisms imposed on a natural system, given an approximate fit, serve as an explanatory framework and render a represented system predictable and intelligible.
Typical approaches to resolving the sorites paradox attempt to show, in one way or another, that the sorites argument is not paradoxical after all. However, if one can show that the sorites is not really paradoxical, the task remains of explaining why it appears to be a paradox. Our approach begins by addressing the appearance of paradox and then explores what this means for the paradox itself. We examine the sorites from the perspective of the various brain systems that (...) are intuitively comfortable with the key features of the premises of the sorites argument. We suggest that the explicit and implicit cognitivesystems are separately responsible for the initial plausibility of the categorical and inductive premises. The appearance of paradox is a function of our brain’s architecture and arises from the conflicting interactions of neurologically distinct systems. (shrink)
In this paper we review some problems with traditional approaches for acquiring and representing knowledge in the context of developing user interfaces. Methodological implications for knowledge engineering and for human-computer interaction are studied. It turns out that in order to achieve the goal of developing human-oriented (in contrast to technology-oriented) human-computer interfaces developers have to develop sound knowledge of the structure and the representational dynamics of the cognitive system which is interacting with the computer.We show that in a first (...) step it is necessary to study and investigate the different levels and forms of representation that are involved in the interaction processes between computers and human cognitivesystems. Only if designers have achieved some understanding about these representational mechanisms, user interfaces enabling individual experiences and skill development can be designed. In this paper we review mechanisms and processes for knowledge representation on a conceptual, epistemological, and methodologieal level, and sketch some ways out of the identified dilemmas for cognitive modeling in the domain of human-computer interaction. (shrink)
The possibility of group minds or group mental states has been considered by a number of authors addressing issues in social epistemology and related areas (Goldman 2004, Pettit 2003, Gilbert 2004, Hutchins 1995). An appeal to group minds might, in the end, do indispensable explanatory work in the social or cognitive sciences. I am skeptical, though, and this essay lays out some of the reasons for my skepticism. The concerns raised herein constitute challenges to the advocates of group minds (...) (or group mental states), challenges that might be overcome as theoretical and empirical work proceeds. Nevertheless, these hurdles are, I think, genuine and substantive, so much so that my tentative conclusion will not be optimistic. If a group mind is supposed to be a single mental system having two or more minds as proper parts,1 the prospects for group minds seem dim. (shrink)
This paper addresses one of the fundamental problems of the philosophy of information: How does semantic information emerge within the underlying dynamics of the world?—the dynamical semantic information problem. It suggests that the canonical approach to semantic information that defines data before meaning and meaning before use is inadequate for pre-cognitive information media. Instead, we should follow a pragmatic approach to information where one defines the notion of information system as a special kind of purposeful system emerging within the (...) underlying dynamics of the world and define semantic information as the currency of the system. In this way, systems operating with semantic information can be viewed as patterns in the dynamics—semantic information is a dynamical system phenomenon of highly organized systems. In the simplest information systems, the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of the information medium are co-defined. It proposes a new more general theory of information semantics that focuses on the interface role of the information states in the information system—the interface theory of meaning. Finally, with the new framework, it addresses the debate between weakly semantic and strongly semantic accounts of information, siding with the strongly semantic view because the pragmatic account developed here is a better generalization of it. (shrink)
Dynamicism has provided cognitive science with important tools to understand some aspects of “how cognitive agents work” but the issue of “what makes something cognitive” has not been sufficiently addressed yet and, we argue, the former will never be complete without the latter. Behavioristic characterizations of cognitive properties are criticized in favor of an organizational approach focused on the internal dynamic relationships that constitute cognitivesystems. A definition of cognition as adaptive-autonomy in the embodied (...) and situated neurodynamic domain is provided: the compensatory regulation of a web of stability dependencies between sensorimotor structures is created and preserved during a historical/developmental process. We highlight the functional role of emotional embodiment: internal bioregulatory processes coupled to the formation and adaptive regulation of neurodynamic autonomy. Finally, we discuss a “minimally cognitive behavior program” in evolutionary simulation modeling suggesting that much is to be learned from a complementary “minimally cognitive organization program”. (shrink)
In Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (Clark, 2008), Andy Clark bolsters his case for the extended mind thesis and casts a critical eye on some related views for which he has less enthusiasm. To these ends, the book canvasses a wide range of empirical results concerning the subtle manner in which the human organism and its environment interact in the production of intelligent behavior. This fascinating research notwithstanding, Supersizing does little to assuage my skepticism about the (...) hypotheses of extended cognition and extended mind. In particular, Supersizing fails to make the case for the extended view as a revolutionary thesis in the theoretical foundations of cognitive science. (shrink)
Recent theories in cognitive science have begun to focus on the active role of organisms in shaping their own environment, and the role of these environmental resources for cognition. Approaches such as situated, embedded, ecological, distributed and particularly extended cognition look beyond ‘what is inside your head’ to the old Gibsonian question of ‘what your head is inside of’ and with which it forms a wider whole—its internal and external cognitive niche. Since these views have been treated as (...) a radical departure from the received view of cognition, their proponents have looked for support to similar extended views within (the philosophy of) biology, most notably the theory of niche construction. This paper argues that there is an even closer and more fruitful parallel with developmental systems theory and developmental niche construction. These ask not ‘what is inside the genes you inherited’, but ‘what the inherited genes are inside of’ and with which they form a wider whole—their internal and external ontogenetic niche, understood as the set of epigenetic, social, ecological, epistemic and symbolic legacies inherited by the organism as necessary developmental resources. To the cognizing agent, the epistemic niche presents itself not just as a partially self-engineered selective niche, as the niche construction paradigm will have it, but even more so as a partially self-engineered ontogenetic niche, a problem-solving resource and scaffold for individual development and learning. This move should be beneficial for coming to grips with our own (including cognitive) nature: what is most distinctive about humans is their developmentally plastic brains immersed into a well-engineered, cumulatively constructed cognitive–developmental niche. (shrink)
Decompositional analysis is the process of constructing explanations of the characteristics of whole systems in terms of characteristics of parts of those whole systems. Cognitive psychology is an endeavour that develops explanations of the capacities of the human organism in terms of descriptions of the brain's functionally defined information-processing components. This paper details the nature of this explanatory strategy, known as functional analysis. Functional analysis is contrasted with two other varieties of decompositional analysis, namely, structural analysis and (...) capacity analysis. After an examination of these three varieties of analysis, there follows a consideration of a mistake to avoid when conducting decompositional analyses in psychology, and a possible limitation on their explanatory scope. (shrink)
Theorizing about religious ritual systems from a cognitive viewpoint involves (1) modeling cognitive processes and their products and (2) demonstrating their influence on religious behavior. Particularly important for such an approach to the study of religious ritual is the modeling of participants' representations of ritual form. In pursuit of that goal, we presented in Rethinking Religion a theory of religious ritual form that involved two commitments. The theory’s first commitment is that the cognitive apparatus for the (...) representation of action in general is the same system deployed for the representation of religious ritual form. The differences between everyday action and religious ritual action turn out to be fairly minor from the standpoint of their cognitive representation. This system for the representation of action includes representations of agents. Whether we focus on an everyday action such as closing a door or a ritual action such as initiating a person into a religious group, our understanding of these forms of behavior as actions at all turns critically on recognizing agents. The theory's second crucial commitment (1990, p. 61) is that the roles of culturally postulated superhuman agents (CPS-agents hereafter) in participants' representations of religious rituals will prove pivotal in accounting for a wide variety of those rituals' properties. On our view religious ritual systems typically involve presumptions about CPS-agents. This theoretical commitment is orthogonal to the pervasive assumption throughout the study of religion that only meanings matter. By contrast, we hold that other things matter too (specifically, cognitive representations of religious ritual form). Large conflicts lurk behind the previous sentences but we cannot adequately address them here. For now we will only identify two of the most fundamental and comment on them briefly. First, amazingly (by our lights anyway), our claim that (conceptual) commitments to the existence of CPS-agents is the most important recurrent feature of religion across cultures is quite controversial.. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- 1. Quantum Mechanics as a General Framework -- 2. Classical and Quantum Information and Entropy -- 3. The Brain: An Outlook -- 4. Vision -- 5. Dealing with Target's Motion and Our Own Movement -- 6. Complexity: A Necessary Condition -- 7. General Features of Life -- 8. The Organism as a Semiotic and Cybernetic System -- 9. Phylogeny -- 10. Ontogeny -- 11. Epigeny -- 12. Representational Semiotics -- 13. The Brain as an Information-Control (...) System -- 14. Decisional, Emotional and CognitiveSystems -- 15. Behavior -- 16. Learning -- 17. Memory -- 18. The Basic Symbolic Systems -- 19. What Symbols Are -- 20. Intentionality and Conceptualization -- 21. Consciousness -- 22. Development and Culture -- 23. Language -- 24. Mind and Brain (Body) -- 25. Final Philosophical Remarks. (shrink)
What I call semiotic brains are brains that make up a series of signs and that are engaged in making or manifesting or reacting to a series of signs: through this semiotic activity they are at the same time engaged in “being minds” and so in thinking intelligently. An important effect of this semiotic activity of brains is a continuous process of disembodiment of mind that exhibits a new cognitive perspective on the mechanisms underling the semiotic emergence of meaning (...) processes. Indeed at the roots of sophisticated thinking abilities there is a process of disembodiment of mind that presents a new cognitive perspective on the role of external models, representations, and various semiotic materials. Taking advantage of Turing’s comparison between “unorganized” brains and “logical” and “practical” machines” this paper illustrates the centrality to cognition of the disembodiment of mind from the point of view of the interplay between internal and external representations, both mimetic and creative. The last part of the paper describes the concept of mimetic mind I have introduced to shed new cognitive and philosophical light on the role of computational modeling and on the decline of the so-called Cartesian computationalism. (shrink)
In the current research on multi-agent systems (MAS), many theoretical issues related to sociocultural processes have been touched upon. These issues are in fact intellectually profound and should prove to be significant for MAS. Moreover, these issues should have equally significant impact on cognitive science, if we ever try to understand cognition in the broad context of sociocultural environments in which cognitive agents exist. Furthermore, cognitive models as studied in cognitive science can help us in (...) a substantial way to better probe multi-agent issues, by taking into account essential characteristics of cognitive agents and their various capacities. In this paper, we systematically examine the interplay among social sciences, MAS, and cognitive science. We try to justify an integrated approach for MAS which incorporates different perspectives. We show how a new cognitive model, CLARION, can embody such an integrated approach through a combination of autonomous learning and assimilation. (shrink)
It is widely mooted that a plausible computational cognitive model should involve both symbolic and connectionist components. However, sound principles for combining these components within a hybrid system are currently lacking; the design of such systems is oftenad hoc. In an attempt to ameliorate this we provide a framework of types of hybrid systems and constraints therein, within which to explore the issues. In particular, we suggest the use of system independent constraints, whose source lies in general (...) considerations about cognitivesystems, rather than in particular technological or task-based considerations. We illustrate this through a detailed examination of an interruptibility constraint: handling interruptions is a fundamental facet of cognition in a dynamic world. Aspects of interruptions are delineated, as are their precise expression in symbolic and connectionist systems. We illustrate the interaction of the various constraints from interruptibility in the different types of hybrid systems. The picture that emerges of the relationship between the connectionist and the symbolic within a hybrid system provides for sufficient flexibility and complexity to suggest interesting general implications for cognition, thus vindicating the utility of the framework. (shrink)
Cognitivesystems 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” cognitive science 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 cognitive science. This paper argues that cognitivesystems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitivesystems into cognitive science proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitive science”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitivesystems. (shrink)