Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are new mathematical techniques which can be used for modelling real neural networks, but also for data categorisation and inference tasks in any empirical science. This means that they have a twofold interest for the philosopher. First, ANN theory could help us to understand the nature of mental phenomena such as perceiving, thinking, remembering, inferring, knowing, wanting and acting. Second, because ANNs are such powerful instruments for data classification and inference, their use also leads us into (...) the problems of induction and probability. Ever since David Hume expressed his famous doubts about induction, the principles of scientific inference have been a central concern for philosophers. (shrink)
This paper is an argument to the effect that a certain view about mental representing, together with some very liberal constraints on the brain as a dynamic system, entails that the organism will tend to form adaptive mental representations of its environment. To show this, it will first be argued that although mental representing is a common thing indeed, representationalism, in the most important sense of that term (indirect representationalism), is false. Three different views about pictorial thinking (mental imagery, intuitive (...) representing) are then contrasted, two of which are tied to this brand of representationalism and one of which is not. The latter view, versions of which have sometimes been presented as ”simulation” theories of imagery, is here generalised to cover all kinds of mental representation. Two models of the brain are then presented in which learning of adaptive representations follows from this theory together with certain biologically plausible constraints. (shrink)
It is often stated that the image of the world which our senses present to us contradicts the scientific worldview in important respects. I challenge this position through a number of arguments centered on the nature of perception and of perceived qualities.
This paper first advances and discusses the hypothesis that so-called “iconic” or (for the auditory sphere) “echoic” memory is actually a form of perception of the past. Such perception is made possible by parallel inputs with differential delays which feed independently into the sensorium. This hypothesis goes well together with a set of related psychological and phenomenological facts, as for example: Sperling’s results about the visual sensory buffer, the facts that we seem to see movement and hear temporal Gestalts, and (...) the fact that we sometimes seem to hear sounds only after they have stopped. In it most simple form, and formulated in the somewhat misleading information processing idiom, my hypothesis says that each one of a number of parallel input lines with different delays feeds into a spatially separate sensory unit. The set of such units then holds information about the immediate past in what one might call a “chronotopic” sensory map. This contrasts with the idea (common in sensory buffer theory) that the received sensory information is kept (while possibly decaying) in the same unit for some time after it occurred. The hypothesis also contradicts the theory that all sensory information passes through the same unit but is then successively passed through a unidirectional chain of separate units, where the past experiences then become represented (the shift register hypothesis). The main advantage of my theory, beside the natural explanations it offers for the above-mentioned kind of phenomena, is that it postulates a parallel – and therefore robust – rather than a serial mechanism for the registering of temporal information. It can of course easily be modified to fit more complex models of the sensory cerebral code(s) as well as of the chronotopic representation as such. -/- In the second part of my poster, I advance a corresponding hypothesis for those motor commands which control brief movements. At closer inspection, most socalled “ballistic” movements do not seem to be truly ballistic (in the sense in which the movement of a cannonball is so) since the brain must exert some kind of feedforward control over the later part of their trajectory. I suggest that this control is at least sometimes realized by means of differentially delayed output from a chronotopic representation of successive segments of the movement. Not only could this be a biologically natural way of ensuring efficient adaptability of the movement; the hypothesis also explains the not uncommon experience of “seeing the whole movement laid out in advance” when it is initiated. (shrink)
The communication of emotion in music has with few exceptions, as L. B. Meyer´s Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956) and the contour theory (Kivy 1989, 2002), focused on music structure as representations of emotions. This implies a semiotic approach - the assumption that music is a kind of language that could be read and decoded. Such an approach is largely restricted to the conscious level of knowing, understanding and communication. We suggest an understanding of music and emotion based on (...) action-perception theory - present moment perception, implicit knowledge and imitation. This theory does not demand consciousness or the use of signs. Neuroscientific findings (adaptive oscillators, mirror neurons) are in concordance with our suggestion. Recently these findings have generated articles on empathy – relevant to the understanding of music and emotion. (shrink)
Fatigue and increased fatigability occur as symptoms in almost every medical and psychiatric condition, as well as being common reactions to non pathological physical and psychological strain and stress. We will attempt to clarify the semantics of the terms "fatigue" and "fatigability", and we will put forward the hypothesis that the special kind of mental fatigability which characterises many cases of mild to moderate dysfunction of the brain is functional in a sense that it represents an overload of pathological information (...) (from the injured area) to higher cognitive mechanisms which may themselves be anatomically and physiologically intact. (shrink)
A new diagnostic system for organic psychiatry is presented. We first define "organic psychiatry", and then give the theoretical basis for conceiving organic psychiatric disorders in terms of hypothetical psychopathogenetic processes, HPP:s. Such hypothetical disorders are not strictly identical to the clusters of symptoms in which they typically manifest themselves, since the symptoms may be concealed or modified by intervening factors in non typical circumstances and/or in the simultaneous presence of several disorders. The six basic disorders in our system are (...) Astheno Emotional Disorder (AED), Somnolence Sopor Coma Disorder (SSCD), Hallucination Coenestopathy Depersonalisation Disorder (HCDD), Confusional Disorder (CD), Emotional Motivational Blunting Disorder (EMD) and Korsakoff's Amnestic Disorder (KAD). We describe their usual etiologies, their typical symptoms and course, and some forms of interaction between them. (shrink)