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Profile: Eric Dietrich (State University of New York at Binghamton)
  1. Eric Dietrich, -EDITORIAL- Banbury Bound, or Can a Machine Be Conscious?
    In mid-May of 2001, I attended a fascinating workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. The conference was held at the lab's Banbury Center, an elegant mansion and its beautiful surrounding estate, located on Banbury Lane, in the outskirts of Lloyd Harbor, overlooking the north shore of Long Island in New York. The estate was formerly owned by Charles Sammis Robertson. In 1976, Robertson donated his estate, and an endowment for its upkeep, to the Lab. The donation included the Robertson's mansion, (...)
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  2. Eric Dietrich, Researchreport.
    The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed uni- fication rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that demonstrates this kind (...)
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  3. Arthur B. Markman & Eric Dietrich, Something Old, Something New: Extending the Classical View of Representation.
    Representation is a central part of models in cognitive science, but recently this idea has come under attack. Researchers advocating perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems have argued against central assumptions of the classical representational approach to mind. We review the core assumptions of the dominant view of representation and the four suggested alternatives. We argue that representation should remain a core part of cognitive science, but that the insights from these alternative approaches must be incorporated (...)
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  4. Eric Dietrich (2012). Review of" The Death of Philosophy: Reference and Self-Reference in Contemporary Thought". [REVIEW] Essays in Philosophy 13 (2):16.
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  5. Eric Dietrich (2011). Homo Sapiens 2.0 Why We Should Build the Better Robots of Our Nature. In M. Anderson S. Anderson (ed.), Machine Ethics. Cambridge Univ. Press.
    It is possible to survey humankind and be proud, even to smile, for we accomplish great things. Art and science are two notable worthy human accomplishments. Consonant with art and science are some of the ways we treat each other. Sacrifice and heroism are two admirable human qualities <span class='Hi'>that</span> pervade human interaction. But, as everyone knows, all this goodness is more than balanced by human depravity. Moral corruption infests our being. Why?
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  6. Eric Dietrich (2011). There Is No Progress in Philosophy. Essays in Philosophy 12 (2):9.
    Except for a patina of twenty-first century modernity, in the form of logic and language, philosophy is exactly the same now as it ever was; it has made no progress whatsoever. We philosophers wrestle with the exact same problems the Pre-Socratics wrestled with. Even more outrageous than this claim, though, is the blatant denial of its obvious truth by many practicing philosophers. The No-Progress view is explored and argued for here. Its denial is diagnosed as a form of anosognosia, a (...)
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  7. Eric Dietrich & Zach Weber (eds.) (2011). Philosophy’s Future.
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  8. Eric Dietrich (2010). Analogical Insight: Toward Unifying Categorization and Analogy. Cognitive Processing 11 (4):331-.
    The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed unification rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that demonstrates this kind of (...)
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  9. Eric Dietrich & Tara Fox Hall (2010). The Allure of the Serial Killer. In Sara Waller (ed.), Serial Killers and Philosophy. John Wiley.
    What is it about serial killers that grips our imaginations? They populate some of our most important literature and art, and to this day, Jack the Ripper intrigues us. In this paper, we examine this phenomenon, exploring the idea that serial killers in part represent something in us that, if not good, is at least admirable. To get at this, we have to peel off layers of other causes of our attraction, for our attraction to serial killing is complex (it (...)
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  10. Rick Dale, Eric Dietrich & Anthony Chemero (2009). Explanatory Pluralism in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science 33 (2):739-742.
    This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...)
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  11. Eric Dietrich & Julietta Rose (2009). The Paradox of Consciousness and the Realism/Anti-Realism Debate. Logos Architekton 3 (1):7-37.
    Beginning with the paradoxes of zombie twins, we present an argument that dualism is both true and false. We show that avoiding this contradiction is impossible. Our diagnosis is that consciousness itself engenders this contradiction by producing contradictory points of view. This result has a large effect on the realism/anti-realism debate, namely, it suggests that this debate is intractable, and furthermore, it explains why this debate is intractable. We close with some comments on what our results mean for metaphysics and (...)
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  12. Eric Dietrich (2008). Some Strangeness in the Proportion, or How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Mechanistic Forces of Darkness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):349-352.
    Understanding humans requires viewing them as mechanisms of some sort, since understanding anything requires seeing it as a mechanism. It is science’s job to reveal mechanisms. But science reveals much more than that: it also reveals enduring mystery—strangeness in the proportion. Concentrating just on the scientific side of Selinger’s and Engström’s call for a moratorium on cyborg discourse, I argue that this strangeness prevents cyborg discourse from diminishing us.
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  13. Eric Dietrich (2008). The Bishop and Priest: Toward a Point-of-View Based Epistemology of True Contradictions. Logos Architekton 2 (2):35-58..
    True contradictions are taken increasingly seriously by philosophers and logicians. Yet, the belief that contradictions are always false remains deeply intuitive. This paper confronts this belief head-on by explaining in detail how one specific contradiction is true. The contradiction in question derives from Priest's reworking of Berkeley's argument for idealism. However, technical aspects of the explanation offered here differ considerably from Priest's derivation. The explanation uses novel formal and epistemological tools to guide the reader through a valid argument with, not (...)
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  14. Eric Dietrich (2008). Toward Extending the Relational Priming Model: Six Questions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):383-384.
    Six questions are posed that are really specific versions of this question: How can Leech et al.'s system be extended to handle adult-level analogies that frequently combine concepts from semantically distant domains sharing few relational labels and that involve the production of abstractions? It is Leech et al. who stress development; finding such an extension would seem to have to be high on their priority list.
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  15. Eric Dietrich (2007). After the Humans Are Gone. Philosophy Now 61 (May/June):16-19.
    Recently, on the History Channel, artificial intelligence (AI) was singled out, with much wringing of hands, as one of the seven possible causes of the end of human life on Earth. I argue that the wringing of hands is quite inappropriate: the best thing that could happen to humans, and the rest of life of on planet Earth, would be for us to develop intelligent machines and then usher in our own extinction.
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  16. Eric Dietrich & Valerie Gray Hardcastle (2004). Sisyphus's Boulder: Consciousness and the Limits of the Knowable. John Benjamins.
    In Sisyphus's Boulder, Eric Dietrich and Valerie Hardcastle argue that we will never get such a theory because consciousness has an essential property that...
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  17. Eric Dietrich (2003). An ABSURDIST Model Vindicates a Venerable Theory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (2):57-59.
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  18. Eric Dietrich & A. Markman (2003). Discrete Thoughts: Why Cognition Must Use Discrete Representations. Mind and Language 18 (1):95-119.
    Advocates of dynamic systems have suggested that higher mental processes are based on continuous representations. In order to evaluate this claim, we first define the concept of representation, and rigorously distinguish between discrete representations and continuous representations. We also explore two important bases of representational content. Then, we present seven arguments that discrete representations are necessary for any system that must discriminate between two or more states. It follows that higher mental processes require discrete representations. We also argue that discrete (...)
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  19. Eric Dietrich, Arthur B. Markman & Michael Winkley (2003). The Prepared Mind: The Role of Representational Change in Chance Discovery. In Yukio Ohsawa Peter McBurney (ed.), Chance Discovery by Machines. Springer-Verlag, pp. 208-230..
    Analogical reminding in humans and machines is a great source for chance discoveries because analogical reminding can produce representational change and thereby produce insights. Here, we present a new kind of representational change associated with analogical reminding called packing. We derived the algorithm in part from human data we have on packing. Here, we explain packing and its role in analogy making, and then present a computer model of packing in a micro-domain. We conclude that packing is likely used in (...)
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  20. David Sloan-Wilson, Eric Dietrich & Anne Clark (2003). On the Inappropriate Use of the Naturalistic Fallacy in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-681.
    The naturalistic fallacy is mentioned frequently by evolutionary psychologists as an erroneous way of thinking about the ethical implications of evolved behaviors. However, evolutionary psychologists are themselves confused about the naturalistic fallacy and use it inappropriately to forestall legitimate ethical discussion. We briefly review what the naturalistic fallacy is and why it is misused by evolutionary psychologists. Then we attempt to show how the ethical implications of evolved behaviors can be discussed constructively without impeding evolutionary psychological research. A key is (...)
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  21. David Sloan Wilson, Eric Dietrich & Anne B. Clark (2003). On the Inappropriate Use of the Naturalistic Fallacy in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-81.
    The naturalistic fallacy is mentionedfrequently by evolutionary psychologists as anerroneous way of thinking about the ethicalimplications of evolved behaviors. However,evolutionary psychologists are themselvesconfused about the naturalistic fallacy and useit inappropriately to forestall legitimateethical discussion. We briefly review what thenaturalistic fallacy is and why it is misusedby evolutionary psychologists. Then we attemptto show how the ethical implications of evolvedbehaviors can be discussed constructivelywithout impeding evolutionary psychologicalresearch. A key is to show how ethicalbehaviors, in addition to unethical behaviors,can evolve by natural selection.
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  22. Eric Dietrich (2002). Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence. In Lynn Nadel (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan. 203--208.
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  23. Eric Dietrich (2002). Subvert the Dominant Paradigm! J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI.
    We again press the case for computationalism by considering the latest in ill- conceived attacks on this foundational idea. We briefly but clearly define and delimit computationalism and then consider three authors from a new anti- computationalist collection.
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  24. Eric Dietrich & Valerie Gray Hardcastle (2002). A Connecticut Yalie in King Descartes' Court. Newsletter of Cognitive Science Society (Now Defunct).
    What is consciousness? Of course, each of us knows, privately, what consciousness is. And we each think, for basically irresistible reasons, that all other conscious humans by and large have experiences like ours. So we conclude that we all know what consciousness is. It's the felt experiences of our lives. But that is not the answer we, as cognitive scientists, seek in asking our question. We all want to know what physical process consciousness is and why it produces this very (...)
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  25. Eric Dietrich (2001). AI, Concepts, and the Paradox of Mental Representation, with a Brief Discussion of Psychological Essentialism. J. Of Exper. And Theor. AI 13 (1):1-7.
    Mostly philosophers cause trouble. I know because on alternate Thursdays I am one -- and I live in a philosophy department where I watch all of them cause trouble. Everyone in artificial intelligence knows how much trouble philosophers can cause (and in particular, we know how much trouble one philosopher -- John Searle -- has caused). And, we know where they tend to cause it: in knowledge representation and the semantics of data structures. This essay is about a recent case (...)
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  26. Eric Dietrich (2001). Banbury Bound, or Can a Machine Be Conscious? J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI 13 (2):177-180.
    In mid-May of 2001, I attended a fascinating workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. The conference was held at the lab's Banbury Center, an elegant mansion and its beautiful surrounding estate, located on Banbury Lane, in the outskirts of Lloyd Harbor, overlooking the north shore of Long Island in New York. The estate was formerly owned by Charles Sammis Robertson. In 1976, Robertson donated his estate, and an endowment for its upkeep, to the Lab. The donation included the Robertson's mansion, (...)
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  27. Eric Dietrich (2001). Concepts: Fodor's Little Semantic BBs of Thought - A Critical Look at Fodor's Theory of Concepts -. J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI 13 (2):89-94.
    I find it interesting that AI researchers don't use concepts very often in their theorizing. No doubt they feel no pressure to. This is because most AI researchers do use representations which allow a system to chunk up its environment, and basically all we know about concepts is that they are representations which allow a system to chunk up its environment.
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  28. Eric Dietrich (2001). It Does So: Review of The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. [REVIEW] AI Magazine 22 (4):141-144.
    Objections to AI and computational cognitive science are myriad. Accordingly, there are many different reasons for these attacks. But all of them come down to one simple observation: humans seem a lot smarter that computers -- not just smarter as in Einstein was smarter than I, or I am smarter than a chimpanzee, but more like I am smarter than a pencil sharpener. To many, computation seems like the wrong paradigm for studying the mind. (Actually, I think there are deeper (...)
     
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  29. Eric Dietrich (2001). It Does So. [REVIEW] AI Magazine 22 (4):141-144.
    Objections to AI and computational cognitive science are myriad. Accordingly, there are many different reasons for these attacks. But all of them come down to one simple observation: humans seem a lot smarter that computers -- not just smarter as in Einstein was smarter than I, or I am smarter than a chimpanzee, but more like I am smarter than a pencil sharpener. To many, computation seems like the wrong paradigm for studying the mind. (Actually, I think there are deeper (...)
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  30. Eric Dietrich (2001). It Does So: Review of Jerry Fodor, The Mind Doesn't Work That Way. [REVIEW] AI Magazine 22 (4):121-24.
    Objections to AI and computational cognitive science are myriad. Accordingly, there are many different reasons for these attacks. But all of them come down to one simple observation: humans seem a lot smarter that computers -- not just smarter as in Einstein was smarter than I, or I am smarter than a chimpanzee, but more like I am smarter than a pencil sharpener. To many, computation seems like the wrong paradigm for studying the mind. (Actually, I think there are deeper (...)
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  31. Eric Dietrich & Anthony S. Gillies (2001). Consciousness and the Limits of Our Imaginations. Synthese 126 (3):361-381.
    Chalmers' anti-materialist arguments are an interesting twist on a well-known argument form, and his naturalistic dualism is exciting to contemplate. Nevertheless, we think we can save materialism from the Chalmerian attack. This is what we do in the present paper.
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  32. Eric Dietrich & Arthur B. Markman (2001). Dynamical Description Versus Dynamical Modeling. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (8):332.
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  33. Valerie Gray Hardcastle & Eric Dietrich (2001). Toward a Book of Counter-Examples for Cognitive Science: Dynamic Systems Theory, Emotion, and Aardvarks. Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 36:35-48.
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  34. Eric Dietrich (2000). Analogy and Conceptual Change, or You Can't Step Into the Same Mind Twice. In Eric Dietrich Art Markman (ed.), Cognitive Dynamics: Conceptual change in humans and machines. Lawrence Erlbaum. 265--294.
    Sometimes analogy researchers talk as if the freshness of an experience of analogy resides solely in seeing that something is like something else -- seeing that the atom is like a solar system, that heat is like flowing water, that paint brushes work like pumps, or that electricity is like a teeming crowd. But analogy is more than this. Analogy isn't just seeing that the atom is like a solar system; rather, it is seeing something new about the atom, an (...)
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  35. Eric Dietrich (2000). A Counterexample T o All Future Dynamic Systems Theories of Cognition. J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI 12 (2):377-382.
    Years ago, when I was an undergraduate math major at the University of Wyoming, I came across an interesting book in our library. It was a book of counterexamples t o propositions in real analysis (the mathematics of the real numbers). Mathematicians work more or less like the rest of us. They consider propositions. If one seems to them to be plausibly true, then they set about to prove it, to establish the proposition as a theorem. Instead o f setting (...)
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  36. Eric Dietrich (2000). Cognitive Science and the Mechanistic Forces of Darkness. TechnC) 5 (2).
    Under the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona toil those who would rob humankind of its humanity. These gray, soulless monsters methodically tear away at our meaning, our subjectivity, our essence as transcendent beings. With each advance, they steal our freedom and dignity. Who are these denizens of darkness, these usurpers of all that is good and holy? None other than humanity’s arch-foe: The Cognitive Scientists -- AI researchers, fallen philosophers, psychologists, and other benighted lovers of computers. Unless they are stopped, (...)
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  37. Eric Dietrich (2000). Cognitive Science and the Mechanistic Forces of Darkness, or Why the Computational Science of Mind Suffers the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune. Techné 5 (2):73-82.
    A recent issue of Time magazine (March 29, 1999) was devoted to the twenty greatest "thinkers" of the twentieth century -- scientists, inventors, and engineers. There is one interesting omission: there are no cognitive psychologists or cognitive scientists. (Cognitive science is an amalgam of cognitive, neuro, and developmental psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, linguistics, biology, and anthropology.) Freud is there, to be sure. But, while he was very influential, it is not even clear that he was a scientist, let alone a (...)
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  38. Arthur B. Markman & Eric Dietrich (2000). Extending the Classical View of Representation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (12):470-475.
    Representation is a central part of models in cognitive science, but recently this idea has come under attack. Researchers advocating perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems have argued against central assumptions of the classical representational approach to mind. We review the core assumptions of the dominant view of representation and the four suggested alternatives. We argue that representation should remain a core part of cognitive science, but that the insights from these alternative approaches must be incorporated (...)
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  39. Arthur B. Markman & Eric Dietrich (2000). In Defense of Representation. Cognitive Psychology 40 (2):138--171.
    The computational paradigm, which has dominated psychology and artificial intelligence since the cognitive revolution, has been a source of intense debate. Recently, several cognitive scientists have argued against this paradigm, not by objecting to computation, but rather by objecting to the notion of representation. Our analysis of these objections reveals that it is not the notion of representation per se that is causing the problem, but rather specific properties of representations as they are used in various psychological theories. Our analysis (...)
     
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  40. Eric Dietrich (1999). Dynamic Systems and Paradise Regained, or How to Avoid Being a Calculator. [REVIEW] J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI 11 (4):473-478.
    The new kid on the block in cognitive science these days is dynamic systems. This way of thinking about the mind is, as usual, radically opposed to computationalism - - the hypothesis that thinking is computing. The use of dynamic systems is just the latest in a series of attempts, from Searle's Chinese Room Argument, through the weirdnesses of postmodernism, to overthrown computationalism, which as we all know is a perfectly nice hypothesis about the mind that never hurt anyone.
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  41. Eric Dietrich (1999). Fodor's Gloom, or What Does It Mean That Dualism Seems True? Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 11 (2):145-152.
    Any time you have philosophers working on a problem, you know you’ve got troubles. If a question has attracted the attention of the philosophers that means that either it is intractably difficult with convolutions and labyrinthine difficulties that would make other researchers blanch, or that it is just flat out impossible to solve. Impossible problems masquerade as intractable problems until someone either proves the problem is impossible (which can only happen in mathematics), or someone shows all solutions to the problem (...)
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  42. Arthur B. Markman & Eric Dietrich (1999). Whither Structured Representation? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4):626-627.
    The perceptual symbol system view assumes that perceptual representations have a role-argument structure. A role-argument structure is often incorporated into amodal symbol systems in order to explain conceptual functions like abstraction and rule use. The power of perceptual symbol systems to support conceptual functions is likewise rooted in its use of structure. On Barsalou's account, this capacity to use structure (in the form of frames) must be innate.
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  43. Bram van Heuveln & Eric Dietrich (1999). Brute Association is Not Identity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):171-171.
    O'Brien & Opie run into conceptual problems trying to equate stable patterns of neural activation with phenomenal experiences. They also seem to make a logical mistake in thinking that the brute association between stable neural patterns and phenomenal experiences implies that they are identical. In general, the authors do not provide us with a story as to why stable neural patterns constitute phenomenal experience.
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  44. Eric Dietrich (1998). Review of David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 8 (3):441-461.
    When Charles Darwin died in April, 1882, he left behind a world changed forever. Because of his writings, most notably, of course, The Origin of Species, by 1882, evolution was an almost universally acknowledged fact. What remained in dispute, however, was how evolution occurred. So because of Darwin’s work, everyone accepted that new species emerge over time, yet few agreed with him that it was natural selection that powered the change, as Darwin hypothesized. Chalmers’ book, The Conscious Mind , reminds (...)
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  45. Eric Dietrich (1998). It Only Seems as If Zombies Are Logically Possible, or How Consciousness Hides the Truth of Materialism: A Critical Review of The Conscious Mind. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 8 (3):441-461.
  46. Eric Dietrich & Arthur B. Markman (1998). All Information Processing Entails Computation, or, If R. A. Fisher Had Been a Cognitive Scientist . . Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):637-638.
    We argue that the dynamical and computational hypotheses are compatible and in fact need each other: they are about different aspects of cognition. However, only computationalism is about the information-processing aspect. We then argue that any form of information processing relying on matching and comparing, as cognition does, must use discrete representations and computations defined over them.
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  47. Anthony Gillies & Eric Dietrich (1998). Cognitive Carpentry. International Studies in Philosophy 30 (2):151-153.
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  48. B. van Heuveln, Eric Dietrich & M. Oshima (1998). Let's Dance! The Equivocation in Chalmers' Dancing Qualia Argument. Minds and Machines 8 (2):237-249.
    David Chalmers' dancing qualia argument is intended to show that phenomenal experiences, or qualia, are organizational invariants. The dancing qualia argument is a reductio ad absurdum, attempting to demonstrate that holding an alternative position, such as the famous inverted spectrum argument, leads one to an implausible position about the relation between consciousness and cognition. In this paper, we argue that Chalmers' dancing qualia argument fails to establish the plausibility of qualia being organizational invariants. Even stronger, we will argue that the (...)
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  49. L. A. Loren & Eric Dietrich (1997). Merleau-Ponty, Embodied Cognition, and the Problem of Intentionality. Cybernetics and Systems 28:345-58.
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