Imitation, deliberation, and mindreading are characteristically human sociocognitive skills. Research on imitation and its role in social cognition is flourishing across various disciplines; it is here surveyed under headings of behavior, subpersonal mechanisms, and functions of imitation. A model is then advanced within which many of the developments surveyed can be located and explained. The shared circuits model explains how imitation, deliberation, and mindreading can be enabled by subpersonal mechanisms of control, mirroring and simulation. It is (...) cast at a middle, functional level of description, between the level of neural implementation and the level of conscious perceptions and intentional actions. The shared circuits model connects shared informational dynamics for perception and action with shared informational dynamics for self and other, while also showing how the action/perception, self/other and actual/possible distinctions can be overlaid on these shared informational dynamics. It avoids the common conception of perception and action as separate and peripheral to central cognition. Rather, it contributes to the situated cognition movement by showing how mechanisms for perceiving action can be built on those for active perception. (shrink)
Until the 1970s, models of early infancy tended to depict the young child as internally preoccupied and incapable of processing visual-tactile data from the external world. Meltzoff and Moore's groundbreaking studies of neonatal imitation disprove this characterization of early life: They suggest that the infant is cognizant of its external environment and is able to control its own body. Taking up these experiments, theorists argue that neonatal imitation provides an empirical justification for the existence of an innate ability (...) to engage in social communication. Since later imitation is taken as a benchmark for self- and other-awareness, theorists claim that a proto- or primitive self must exist in the infant. This paper takes up the issue of whether or not neonatal imitation does provide us with a ground to argue against developmental accounts that consider self-awareness to be a later acquisition. I argue that the enthusiasm over neonatal imitation is premature. Psychological studies that claim to prove neonatal imitation do not provide sufficient grounds for dismissing alternate philosophical and psychological theories about the self as being a post-birth "event" rather than an intrinsic condition. Therefore, I argue that there is no compelling reason to suppose that we come to the world with a primitive sense of self- or other-awareness. (shrink)
This paper considers undecidability in the imitation game, the so-called Turing Test. In the Turing Test, a human, a machine, and an interrogator are the players of the game. In our model of the Turing Test, the machine and the interrogator are formalized as Turing machines, allowing us to derive several impossibility results concerning the capabilities of the interrogator. The key issue is that the validity of the Turing test is not attributed to the capability of human or machine, (...) but rather to the capability of the interrogator. In particular, it is shown that no Turing machine can be a perfect interrogator. We also discuss meta-imitation game and imitation game with analog interfaces where both the imitator and the interrogator are mimicked by continuous dynamical systems. (shrink)
Automatic imitation or “imitative compatibility” is thought to be mediated by the mirror neuron system and to be a laboratory model of the motor mimicry that occurs spontaneously in naturalistic social interaction. Imitative compatibility and spatial compatibility effects are known to depend on different stimulus dimensions—body movement topography and relative spatial position. However, it is not yet clear whether these two types of stimulus–response compatibility effect are mediated by the same or different cognitive processes. We present an interactive activation (...) model of imitative and spatial compatibility, based on a dual-route architecture, which substantiates the view they are mediated by processes of the same kind. The model, which is in many ways a standard application of the interactive activation approach, simulates all key results of a recent study by Catmur and Heyes (2011). Specifically, it captures the difference in the relative size of imitative and spatial compatibility effects; the lack of interaction when the imperative and irrelevant stimuli are presented simultaneously; the relative speed of responses in a quintile analysis when the imperative and irrelevant stimuli are presented simultaneously; and the different time courses of the compatibility effects when the imperative and irrelevant stimuli are presented asynchronously. (shrink)
To the extent that language is conventional, non-verbal individuals, including human infants, must participate in conventions in order to learn to use even simple utterances of words. This raises the question of which varieties of learning could make this possible. In this paper I defend Tomasello’s (The cultural origins of human cognition. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 1999, Origins of human communication. MIT, Cambridge, 2008) claim that knowledge of linguistic conventions could be learned through imitation. This is possible because Lewisian accounts (...) of convention have overstated what one must know to participate in conventions; and because the required knowledge could be learned imitatively. The imitation claim that I defend is consistent with what we know about both the proliferation of conventional behaviours in human children, who are skilful imitators, and the comparative absence of such behaviours in non-human great apes, who are poor at imitative learning. (shrink)
In the 1950s, Alan Turing proposed his influential test for machine intelligence, which involved a teletyped dialogue between a human player, a machine, and an interrogator. Two readings of Turing''s rules for the test have been given. According to the standard reading of Turing''s words, the goal of the interrogator was to discover which was the human being and which was the machine, while the goal of the machine was to be indistinguishable from a human being. According to the literal (...) reading, the goal of the machine was to simulate a man imitating a woman, while the interrogator – unaware of the real purpose of the test – was attempting to determine which of the two contestants was the woman and which was the man. The present work offers a study of Turing''s rules for the test in the context of his advocated purpose and his other texts. The conclusion is that there are several independent and mutually reinforcing lines of evidence that support the standard reading, while fitting the literal reading in Turing''s work faces severe interpretative difficulties. So, the controversy over Turing''s rules should be settled in favor of the standard reading. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to consider Turing's two tests for machine intelligence: the parallel-paired, three-participants game presented in his 1950 paper, and the “jury-service” one-to-one measure described two years later in a radio broadcast. Both versions were instantiated in practical Turing tests during the 18th Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence hosted at the University of Reading, UK, in October 2008. This involved jury-service tests in the preliminary phase and parallel-paired in the final phase.
I examine the phenomenological philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Sartre as possible responses to contemporary studies of interpersonal relatedness in cognitive science, especially the experimental studies of infant's imitating simple facial gestures of adults. I discuss the implications and the challenges raised by the experimental studies to the dominant phenomenological accounts of intersubjectivity, but also envision how phenomenology may help to interpret the findings about infantile imitation in ways that favor the embodied perceptual connectedness between the self and the other, (...) without recourse to the inner private mind postulate endorsed by the theory of mind and shared by the experimental researchers of imitation. (shrink)
Turing’s Imitation Game is often viewed as a test for theorised machines that could ‘think’ and/or demonstrate ‘intelligence’. However, contrary to Turing’s apparent intent, it can be shown that Turing’s Test is essentially a test for humans only. Such a test does not provide for theorised artificial intellects with human-like, but not human-exact, intellectual capabilities. As an attempt to bypass this limitation, I explore the notion of shifting the goal posts of the Turing Test, and related tests such as (...) the Total Turing Test, away from the exact imitation of human capabilities, and towards communication with humans instead. While the continued philosophical relevance of such tests is open to debate, the outcome is a different class of tests which are, unlike the Turing Test, immune to failure by means of sub-cognitive questioning techniques. I suggest that attempting to instantiate such tests could potentially be more scientifically and pragmatically relevant to some Artificial Intelligence researchers, than instantiating a Turing Test, due to the focus on producing a variety of goal directed outcomes through communicative methods, as opposed to the Turing Test’s emphasis on ‘fooling’ an Examiner. (shrink)
The meme is an evolutionary replicator, defined as information copied from person to person by imitation. I suggest that taking memes into account may provide a better understanding of human evolution in the following way. Memes appeared in human evolution when our ancestors became capable of imitation. From this time on two replicators, memes and genes, coevolved. Successful memes changed the selective environment, favouring genes for the ability to copy them. I have called this process memetic drive. Meme-gene (...) coevolution produced a big brain that is especially good at copying certain kinds of memes. This is an example of the more general process in which a replicator and its replication machinery evolve together. The human brain has been designed not just for the benefit of human genes, but for the replication of memes. It is a selective imitation device. (shrink)
This note discusses the implications of an incorrect quotation that appeared in Ted H. Miller's article, 'Thomas Hobbes and the Constraints that Enable the Imitation of God', from Inquiry 42.2 (1999). Although surely inadvertent, this error is significant because the author uses it to support the thesis that Hobbes envisions philosophers imitating God by creating order out of chaos. The correct quotation from Leviathan does not support such a thesis, and the paragraph in Leviathan from which it (...) is taken actually runs counter to it. The correct quotation, taken in its context, and a passage from De Corpore cited by Professor Miller reveal that Hobbes encourages philosophers to imitate God by following the order of creation in contemplation. In other words, philosophers imitate God by imitating the creation. (shrink)
Preston & de Waal are understandably cautious in applying their model to autism. They emphasise multiple cognitive impairments in autism, including prefrontal-executive, cerebellar-attention, and amygdala-emotion recognition deficits. Further empirical examination of imitation ability in autism may reveal deficits in the neural and cognitive basis of perception-action mapping that have a specific relation to the empathic deficit.
What is the evolutionary significance of the various mechanisms of imitation, emulation and social learning found in humans and other animals? This paper presents an advance in the theoretical resources for addressing that question, in the light of which standard approaches from the cultural evolution literature should be refocused. The central question is whether humans have an imitationbased inheritance system—a mechanism that has the evolutionary function of transmitting behavioural phenotypes reliably down the generations. To have the evolutionary power of (...) an inheritance system, an imitiation-based mechanism must meet a range of demanding requirements. The paper goes on to review the evidence for and against the hypothesis that there is indeed an imitation-based inheritance system in humans. (shrink)
This article reconstructs R. S. Peters' underlying theory of ritual in education, highlighting his proposed link between ritual and the imitation of teachers. Rituals set the stage for the imitation of teachers and they invite students to experience practices whose value is not easily discernable from the outside. For Peters, rituals facilitate the transmission of values across time, create unity in schools, and affirm authority relations. There is a tension, however, between this view of ritual and imitation, (...) on the one hand, and Peters' views of liberal education and the ‘criteria of an educational process’, on the other. This article suggests how the processes of ritual and imitation can be reconciled with liberal education, and it identifies school rampage shootings as an area in which Peters' work on ritual might prove useful. (shrink)
Social influence and social learning are important to the survival of many organisms, and certain forms of social learning also may have important implications for their underlying cognitive processes. The various forms of social influence and learning are discussed with special emphasis on the mechanisms that may be responsible for opaque imitation (the copying of a response that the observer cannot easily see when it produces the response). Three procedures are examined, the results of which may qualify as opaque (...)imitation: the bidirectional control procedure, the two- action procedure, and the do-as-I-do procedure. Variables that appear to affect the emergence of opaque imitation are identified and other complex forms of response copying are discussed. Keywords: bidirectional control procedure; contagion; emulation; imitation; local enhancement; object movement reenactment; observational conditioning; opaque imitation; social enhancement; social facilitation; social influence; social learning; stimulus enhancement; two action procedure. (shrink)
Dolphins exhibit both action-level imitation (ALI) and program-level imitation (PLI). Dolphins may use ALI primarily for social cohesion, whereas PLI seems more likely to occur in goal-directed, problem-solving contexts. Both PLI and insightful problem solving require a recognition of the functional relations between actions and outcomes. Insightful problem solving, however, involves the creation of a program in the absence of a model, and therefore requires a higher order appreciation and application of the relations between actions and outcomes.
The exploration of the mechanisms of cultural heredity has often been regarded as the key to explicating human uniqueness. Particularly early imitative learning, which is explained as a kind of simulation that rests on the infant’s identification with other persons as intentional agents, has been stressed as the foundation of cumulative cultural transmission. But the question of what are the objects of this mechanism has not been given much attention. Although this is a pivotal point, it still remains obscure. I (...) will characterize the notion of action-types and show why they are the genuine objects of cultural heredity. However, this answer is in conflict with the concept of imitation, and the problem arises that, if imitation is conceptualized as simulation and explained in terms of the cognition of infants, the objects of cultural transmission seemingly cannot be passed on by imitation. In order to solve this problem, I propose reconsidering the concept of imitation and to conceptualize imitation as a cooperative activity of infants and adults. (shrink)
We focus on the evolution of action capabilities which set the stage for language, rather than analyzing how further brain evolution built on these capabilities to yield a language-ready brain. Our framework is given by the Mirror System Hypothesis, which charts a progression from a monkey-like mirror neuron system (MNS) to a chimpanzee-like mirror system that supports simple imitation and thence to a human-like mirror system that supports complex imitation and language. We present the MNS2 model, a new (...) model of action recognition learning by mirror neurons of the macaque brain and augmented competitive queuing, a model of opportunistic scheduling of action sequences as background for analysis of modeling strategies for simple imitation as seen in the great apes and complex/goal-directed imitation as seen in humans. Implications for the study of language are briefly noted. (shrink)
For acquired behaviour to count as cultural, two conditions must be met: it must propagate in a social group, and it must remain stable across generations in the process of propagation. It is commonly assumed that imitation is the mechanism that explains both the spread of animal culture and its stability. We review the literature on transmission chain studies in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and other animals, and we use a formal model to argue that imitation, which may well (...) play a major role in the propagation of animal culture, cannot be considered faithful enough to explain its stability. We consider the contribution that other psychological and ecological factors might make to the stability of animal culture observed in the wild. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon's account of program imitation in primates involves propositional attitudes (expectations and goals), which limits its falsifiability. Yet their account of priming shows exactly how imitation without attitudes would look. The challenge is to upgrade the notion of priming to give an account of low-level program imitation without invoking propositional attitudes.
For many, the very idea of an artificialintelligence has always been ethicallytroublesome. The putative ability of machinesto mimic human intelligence appears to callinto question the stability of taken forgranted boundaries between subject/object,identity/similarity, free will/determinism,reality/simulation, etc. The artificiallyintelligent object thus appears to threaten thehuman subject with displacement and redundancy.This article takes as its starting point AlanTuring''s famous ''imitation game,'' (the socalled ''Turing Test''), here treated as aparable of the encounter between human originaland machine copy – the born and the made. (...) Thecultural resonances of the recent on-lineperformance of a ''Turing Test'' for computergenerated art are then explored. Arttraditionally taken to stand for all that isconsidered quintessentially human – andtherefore resistant to mechanisation –represents in this sense a kind of ''criticalcase'' in the advance of machine intelligence.The article focuses on the moral status of thebody, human agency, and social knowledge in theongoing (re-)constructions of copy, original,and of the difference between them. (shrink)
In Being and Nothingness Jean-Paul Sartre contends that the self's fundamental relation with the other is one of inescapable conflict. I argue that the research of the last few decades on the ability of infants - even newborns - to imitate the facial expressions and gestures of adults provides counter-evidence to Sartre's claim. Sartre is not wrong that the look of the other may be a source of self-alienation, but that is not how it functions in the first instance. An (...) earlier and more primary form of looking with and at the other is a source of self-discovery. In early imitation, the infant and adult each see the other not as objects of experience but as subjects of action. Such looking is necessary for the infant to realize its own potential as a self-conscious, goal-directed subject of perception and action. (shrink)
Heyes argues that nonhuman primates are unable to imitate, recognize themselves in mirrors, and take another's perspective, and that none of these capabilities are evidence for theory of mind. First, her evaluation of the evidence, especially for imitation and mirror self-recognition, is inaccurate. Second, she neglects to address the important developmental evidence that these capabilities are necessary precursors in the development of theory of mind.
This commentary validates the fundamental evolutionary interconnection between the emergence of imitation and the mirror system. We present a novel computational framework for studying the evolutionary origins of imitative behavior and examining the emerging underlying mechanisms. Evolutionary adaptive agents that evolved in this framework demonstrate the emergence of neural “mirror” mechanisms analogous to those found in biological systems.
To be human is to imitate. This is a strong claim, and a contentious one. It implies that the turning point in hominid evolution was when our ancestors first began to copy each other’s sounds and actions, and that this new ability was responsible for transforming an ordinary ape into one with a big brain, language, a curious penchant for music and art, and complex cumulative culture. The argument, briefly, is this. All evolutionary processes depend on information being copied with (...) variation and selection. Most living things on earth are the product of evolution based on the copying, varying and selection of genes. However, once humans began to imitate they provided a new kind of copying and so let loose an evolutionary process based on the copying, varying and selection of memes. This new evolutionary system co-evolved with the old to turn us into more than gene machines. We, alone on this planet, are also meme machines. We are selective imitation devices in an evolutionary arms race with a new replicator. This is why we are so different from other creatures; this is why we alone have big brains, language and complex culture. There are many contentious issues here; the nature and status of memes, the validity of the concept of a replicator, the difference between this and other theories of gene-culture co-evolution, and whether memetics really is necessary, as I believe it is, to explain human nature. I shall outline the basic principles of memetics, show how memes could have driven human evolution, and consider some of these questions along the way. (shrink)
'Hobbes and the Imitation of God' ( Inquiry , 44, 223-6) is Eric Brandon's criticism of my article, 'Thomas Hobbes and the Constraints that Enable the Imitation of God' ( Inquiry , 42, 149-76). Brandon's criticisms are rooted in a misunderstanding of what is argued. Observations made concerning Hobbes's claims about prudence - a form of thinking Hobbes distinguishes from philosophic practice - are erroneously described by Brandon as a part of arguments concerning Hobbes's claims about philosophy. Brandon's (...) own account reaffirms a conventional interpretation by claiming that Hobbes envisioned philosophers discovering order, an interpretation challenged in the original argument. Hobbes privileged the creation of order over attempts to discover the order of the world, and this is reflected in his affinity for geometry over physics. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon have argued that imitation is not an all-or-none phenomenon but may instead occur at different levels. Although I applaud their theoretical framework, their data provide little empirical support for the theory. Data from studies of human infants, however, are consistent with the view that imitation may occur at different levels. These data may provide better support for Byrne & Russon's hierarchical view of imitation than the nonhuman primate data that their theory was developed to (...) explain. (shrink)
The present study explores the idea that human linguistic communication co-opted a pre-existing population-wide behavioural system that was shared among social group members and whose structure reflected the structure of the environment. This system is hypothesized to have emerged from interactions among individuals who had evolved the capacity to imitate arbitrary, functionless behaviour. A series of agent-based computer simulations test the separate and joint effects of imitation, pattern completion behaviour, environment structure and level of social interaction on such a (...) population-wide behavioural system. The results support the view that a system that could be co-opted for linguistic communication might arise in a population of agents equipped with arbitrary imitation for the purposes of pattern completion interacting in certain kinds of structured environments. Such pre-linguistic behavioural system could have bootstrapped communication and paved the way for biological capacities widely believed to be necessary for communication, such as shared intentionality and symbolicity, to evolve. (shrink)
To explore the neural mechanisms engaged by the perception of action with the intent to imitate, positron emission tomographic activation studies were performed in healthy human subjects. We discuss the results in light of the framework proposed by Byrne & Russon, especially the distinction between mechanisms subserving action-level and program-level imitation.
Byrne & Russon argue that the action and program levels of imitation form two discrete categories, with no intermediate steps. A Piagetian view enlarges our understanding of human and ape imitation by showing the developmental paths that imitation takes in the sensory-motor period of intelligence. It is clear from Piaget's (1945/1962) analysis that the action level of imitation is richly varied and that intermediate steps do occur between the action and program levels.
Byrne & Russon's target article displays all the difficulties encountered when one fails to take a methodological behaviourist approach to imitation. Their conceptual apparatus is grounded in a mixture of introspection and folk psychology. Their distinction between action-level and program-level imitation falters on goal imputation for sequential acts. In an alternative gradient descent model, behaviour can be simulated as a frustration/satisfaction gradient descent in the animal's “potentiality space,” as defined by knowledge, inventiveness, and the surrounding environment.
We commend Byrne & Russon for their effort to expand and clarify the concept of imitation by addressing the various levels of behavior organization at which it could occur. We are concerned, however, first about the ambiguity with which these levels are defined and second about whether there is any particular need for comparative cognition to keep focusing on imitation as an important intellectual faculty. We recommend stricter definitions of hierarchical behavioral levels that will lend themselves to operational (...) definitions and continued study of how animal subjects organize their goal-directed behavior as opposed to whether it is or is not imitation. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon's notion of program-level imitation is based on the ability of apes to plan novel sequences of behavior and on how information gleaned by observation can aid the planning process. Byrne & Russon would have made a stronger case by focusing on social learning and planning and expending less effort interpreting their results as a new category of imitation.
The target article by Byrne & Russon treats imitation as an achievement that originates from observation. In my commentary I propose extending the database to the role of listening. Referring to current studies on song learning in birds, I suggest that at least some features of this accomplishment also may be based on learning by imitation.
When I reflect on reading Bryan Warnick's Imitation and Education, I am appreciative that I was given the opportunity not only to read it but also to think about its issues as thoroughly as I have in the process of writing this essay. I share Warnick's surprise that, prior to his book, no one had attempted to explore the relationship between imitation and education in a philosophically meaningful manner. Before reading his book, I did not realize that (...) class='Hi'>imitation was such a philosophically rich topic, especially once you consider its educational implications. In particular, I was oblivious to the connection between various conceptions of the self and imitation. I had no idea that different interpretations of the .. (shrink)
To support her divine motivation theory of the good, which seeks to ground ethics in motives and emphasize the attractiveness of morality over against the compulsion of morality, Linda Zagzebski has proposed an original account of obligations which grounds them in motives. I argue that her account renders obligations objectionably person-relative and that the most promising way to avoid my criticism is to embrace something quite close to a divine command theory of obligation. This requires her to combine her desired (...) emphasis on the imitation of God with a contrasting emphasis on submission to God. I conclude that her divine motivation theory of the good, if it is to have an adequate account of obligation, is dependent on a divine will or divine command theory of obligation. (shrink)
Talia Welsh (2006) argues that Shaun Gallagher and Andrew Meltzoff's (1996) application of neonatal imitation research is insufficient grounds for their claim that neonates are born with a primitive body image and thus an innate self-awareness. Drawing upon an understanding of the self that is founded upon a ?theory of mind,? Welsh challenges the notion that neonates have the capacity for self-awareness and charges the supposition with an essentialism which threatens to disrupt more social constructionist understandings of the self. (...) In this paper, I initially defend Gallagher and Meltzoff's (1996) application of infant imitation to understandings of neonatal self-awareness by explaining how body image schemas can be understood as non-representational embodied cognitive phenomena that challenge ?theory of mind? theory. I then further develop the claim that neonates are born self-aware with reference to my own work in fetal development. I conclude that Welsh's political concerns are unfounded by showing how the conclusion that a neonate is self-aware does not signal a return to an essentialist understanding of self-awareness, but rather introduces into philosophical and psychological discourse possible alternate understandings of an embodied sense of self that are embedded within intersubjective contexts. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon propose an account of imitation that mirrors levels of behavioral organization, but they perpetuate a tendency to dismiss imitation by members of most species as the result of more primitive processes, even though these alternative phenomena are often poorly understood. They argue that the prerequisites to program-level imitation are present in great apes, but the same prerequisites appear to be present in a broad range of species. The distribution of imitative capacity across species may (...) be more limited by research methodology than by cognitive ability. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon propose that priming can account for the imitation of simple actions, but they fail to explain how the behavior of another can prime the observer's own behavior. They also propose that imitation of complex skills requires a sequence of acts tied together by a program, but they fail to rule out the role of trial-and-error learning and perceptual/motivational mechanisms in such task acquisition.
I will argue that we cannot understand imitation unless we know more about its function. By comparing the two examples presented by Byrne & Russon I show how the imitative behaviour of orangutans can be interpreted as a homologue of human imitation during play. In contrast, the lack of data leave the role of imitation in gorillas doubtful.
A significant increase in the probability of an action resulting from observing that action performed by another agent cannot, on its own, provide persuasive evidence of imitation. Simple models of social influence based on two-person sequential games suggest that both imitation and pseudo-imitation can be explained by a process more fundamental than priming, namely, subjective utility maximization.
Byrne & Russon use novelty as the primary requirement for providing evidence of true imitation in animals. There are three reasons to object to this. First, experiential learning cannot always be completely excluded as an alternative explanation of the observed behavior. Second, the imitator's manipulations performed during ontogeny cannot be known in full detail. Finally, there is at present only a weak understanding of how novel forms emerge. Data from our own recent experiments will be used to emphasize the (...) need for a tighter methodology in imitation experiments. (shrink)
Arbib derives the origin of language from the emergence of a complex imitation system; however, it is unlikely that this complication could occur without a prior complicating within the imitated systems. This means that Arbib's hypothesis is not correct, because the other systems determined the appearance of language. In my opinion, language emerged when the motivational system became able to support goal-directed processes with no innate basis.
The primary goal of this essay is to demonstrate that Leibniz’s objections to theological voluntarism are tightly connected to his overarching metaphysical system; a secondary goal is to show that his objections are not without some merit. Leibniz, it is argued, holds to strong versions of the imago dei doctrine, i.e., creatures are made in the image of God, and imitatio dei doctrine, i.e., creatures ought to imitate God. Consequently, God and creatures must possess similar structures of moral psychology, and (...) must be motivated in similar ways. Yet, Leibniz argues, a thoroughgoing voluntarism would obstruct both doctrines in philosophically unsettling ways, impeding the possibility for creatures to genuinely imitate God. (shrink)
Various deficits in the cognitive functioning of people with autism have been documented in recent years but these provide only partial explanations for the condition. We focus instead on an imitative disturbance involving difficulties both in copying actions and in inhibiting more stereotyped mimicking, such as echolalia. A candidate for the neural basis of this disturbance may be found in a recently discovered class of neurons in frontal cortex, 'mirror neurons' (MNs). These neurons show activity in relation both to specific (...) actions performed by self and matching actions performed by others, providing a potential bridge between minds. MN systems exist in primates without imitative and ‘theory of mind’ abilities and we suggest that in order for them to have become utilized to perform social cognitive functions, sophisticated cortical neuronal systems have evolved in which MNs function as key elements. Early developmental failures of MN systems are likely to result in a consequent cascade of developmental impairments characterised by the clinical syndrome of autism. (shrink)
We cannot solve questions about imitative learning without knowing what motivates animals to copy others. Imitative capacities can be expected to be most pronounced in relation to situations and models of great social significance. Experimental research on nonhuman primates has thus far made little effort to present such situations and models.
Hobbes promises to teach philosophers how to imitate God. With this bold claim as its basis, the paper questions the widely accepted view that Hobbes authored an early instance of a modern social science. It focuses on the constraints that Hobbes imposes on the language of philosophical practitioners. He restricts its truth-claims to the closed circle of language; he does not philosophize to describe, model, predict, or mirror empirical reality. He nevertheless makes claims for a useful science, (...) one that can construct a stable commonwealth. The restrictive claims concerning truth and Hobbes's claim to a practical philosophy are reconciled through an investigation of his distinction between 'a posteriori' and 'a priori' sciences. Hobbes teaches philosophers to imitate God as a creator : as a 're-creator' of divinely produced effects (a posteriori), or (like an architect) by manipulating matter to create things we design ourselves (a priori). The science of politics is a priori. It dictates the motions (of men) so as to create a well-ordered commonwealth, an artificial man, a creation made in our own image. (shrink)
I propose to consider the question, "Can machines think?" This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms "machine" and "think." The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words "machine" and "think" are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to (...) the question, "Can machines think?" is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words. The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B. We now ask the question, "What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?" Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?". (shrink)
Why does it matter whether and how individuals consciously control their behavior? It matters for many reasons. Here I focus on concerns about social influences of which agents are typically unaware on aggressive behavior.
The standard interpretation of the imitation game is defended over the rival gender interpretation though it is noted that Turing himself proposed several variations of his imitation game. The Turing test is then justified as an inductive test not as an operational definition as commonly suggested. Turing's famous prediction about his test being passed at the 70% level is disconfirmed by the results of the Loebner 2000 contest and the absence of any serious Turing (...) class='Hi'>test competitors from AI on the horizon. But, reports of the death of the Turing test and AI are premature. AI continues to flourish and the test continues to play an important philosophical role in AI. Intelligence attribution, methodological, and visionary arguments are given in defense of a continuing role for the Turing test. With regard to Turing's predictions one is disconfirmed, one is confirmed, but another is still outstanding. (shrink)
This paper specifies two hypotheses that are intimated in recent research on empathy and mindreading. The first, the phenomenal simulation hypothesis, holds that those attributing mental states (i.e., mindreaders) sometimes simulate the phenomenal states of those to whom they are making attributions (i.e., targets). The second, the phenomenal mindreading hypothesis, holds that this phenomenal simulation plays an important role in some mental state attributions. After explicating these hypotheses, the paper focuses on the first. It argues that neuropsychological experiments on empathy (...) and behavioral experiments on imitation provide good reason to think that mindreaders sometimes simulate targets' phenomenal states. Accordingly, the paper concludes, the phenomenal mindreading hypothesis merits consideration. (shrink)
The abject failure of Turing's first prediction (of computer success in playing the Imitation Game) confirms the aptness of the Imitation Game test as a test of human level intelligence. It especially belies fears that the test is too easy. At the same time, this failure disconfirms expectations that human level artificial intelligence will be forthcoming any time soon. On the other hand, the success of Turing's second prediction (that acknowledgment of computer thought processes would become commonplace) in (...) practice amply confirms the thought that computers think in some manner and are possessed of some level of intelligence already. This lends ever-growing support to the hypothesis that computers will think at a human level eventually, despite the abject failure of Turing's first prediction. (shrink)
What effect does witnessing other students cheat have on one's own cheating behavior? What roles do moral attitudes and neutralizing attitudes (justifications for behavior) play when deciding to cheat? The present research proposes a model of academic dishonesty which takes into account each of these variables. Findings from experimental (vignette) and survey methods determined that seeing others cheat increases cheating behavior by causing students to judge the behavior less morally reprehensible, not by making rationalization easier. Witnessing cheating also has unique (...) effects, controlling for other variables. (shrink)
The two works under review attempt to describe the outlines of a post-positivist social science of the future. Against objectivist approaches, these books emphasize the importance of hermeneutics and the cultural turn to the social sciences. Social sciences must recognize collective understandings and human agency. However, while affirming the importance of an interpretivist approach, both of these works also suggest that objective institutional reality must be recognized by social scientists today. Meaningful human agency and objective structure must be encompassed by (...) the social sciences. To this end, critical realism, originally promoted by Roy Bhaskar, figures prominently in both these books precisely because it is a theory which seems to be able to account for both agency and structure simultaneously. In fact, as both these books sometimes demonstrate, the dualistic approach represented by critical realism is flawed. By contrast, the hermeneutic approach advocated by Keith Topper and by some of the contributors to Steinmetzs collection provides an adequate explanation of institutional social reality in and of itself. Consequently, these books can be interpreted as pointing toward a hermeneutic social science of the future. Key Words: positivism realism hermeneutics structure and agency. (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)
A series of imitation games involving 3-participant (simultaneous comparison of two hidden entities) and 2-participant (direct interrogation of a hidden entity) were conducted at Bletchley Park on the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth: 23 June 2012. From the ongoing analysis of over 150 games involving (expert and non-expert, males and females, adults and child) judges, machines and hidden humans (foils for the machines), we present six particular conversations that took place between human judges and a hidden entity that (...) produced unexpected results. From this sample we focus on features of Turing’s machine intelligence test that the mathematician/code breaker did not consider in his examination for machine thinking: the subjective nature of attributing intelligence to another mind. (shrink)
No observer of research currents in the human sciences can fail to detect a new appreciation for the contribution of emotions to descriptions of such wide?ranging psychological phenomena as moral judgement, personal and social development and learning. Despite this, we claim that educating the emotions as a dimension of moral education remains something of a taboo subject. As evidence for this, we present three categories of interventions that fit unmistakably into the category of the education of the emotions, but which (...) go generally unrecognized. In the light of the fact that emotional education is held not just to be possible, but is in fact commonplace, we present an error theory to explain its general occlusion. Next, we argue that the taboo surrounding the education of the emotions helps to explain the lack of recognition that relevant kinds of emotional reactions, especially guilt and shame, seem indeed to be a better measure of successful moral education than moral acts. This, we take it, is one of the suppositions of the old classroom management device called the ?shame corner?. In the last section we propose a comparative analysis of the shame corner and its pedagogical descendant, the ?time?out corner?, in terms of their assumptions about the structure of moral judgement and the significance of moral emotions. Without recommending the reinstitution of the shame corner, we conclude that, far from constituting progress in moral education, the time?out corner is, from this perspective, apparently wrong?headed and confusing. (shrink)
In offering a detailed view of putative steps towards the emergence of language from a cognitive standpoint, Michael Arbib is also introducing an evolutionary framework that can be used as a useful tool to confront other viewpoints on language evolution, including hypotheses that emphasize possible alternatives to suggestions that language could not have emerged from an earlier primate vocal communication system.
This book argues that a basic problem in thinking about understanding, temporality, and selfhood is due to “imitative” modes of thought found in much traditional Western philosophy and theology. Given this, the book examines the complex role that “image” and “imitation” play in understanding and its world of meaning, the import of language and narrative for configuring human temporality, and the existence of self. The author’s contention is that when critically understood, mimesis, with its roots in performative enactment, holds (...) resources for reconsidering these basic dimensions of human life beyond imitative paradigms of thought. (shrink)
This essay reviews Theatre, Communication, Critical Realism (2010) by Tobin Nellhaus. It begins by outlining the objective of the book and proceeds to evaluate its central argument. The objective is to develop a theory of theatre founded on the premises of critical realism and thereby theoretically situate theatrical performance in its socio-cultural matrix. The argument is that critical realism is effective for developing a comprehensive account of theatrical performance because it has the capacity to reveal truths about the structure of (...) social reality (that correspond to those articulated by critical realism). In the second part of the review, employing the methods of conceptual analysis, I propose that Nellhaus’s thesis of ‘ontological doubling’ (which claims that performance doubles human agency) is undermined by certain epistemological presuppositions regarding the ontology of fictional characters. (shrink)