When things go badly, we notice that something is amiss, figure out what went wrong and why, and attempt to repair the problem. Artificial systems depend on their human designers to program in responses to every eventuality and therefore typically don’t even notice when things go wrong, following their programming over the proverbial, and in some cases literal, cliff. This article describes our work on the Meta-Cognitive Loop, a domain-general approach to giving artificial systems the ability to notice, assess, and (...) repair problems. The goal is to make artificial systems more robust. (shrink)
In: B. Hardy-Vallee & N. Payette, eds. Beyond the brain: embodied, situated & distributed cognition. (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press), in press. Abstract: In this article, I do three main things: 1. First, I introduce an approach to the mind motivated primarily by evolutionary considerations. I do that by laying out four principles for the study of the mind from an evolutionary perspective, and four predictions that they suggest. This evolutionary perspective is completely compatible with, although broader than, the embodied cognition (...) approach. 2. Then I look at one prediction in depth, the idea that the brain evolved by exaptation–reusing exiting functional units, and combining them in novel ways to generate new cognitive capacities. 3. Finally, I try to lay out some of the implications, both of the in-depth example, and of the more general approach. (shrink)
Artificial Intelligence, in press. Abstract: For some time we have been developing, and have had significant practical success with, a time-sensitive, contradiction-tolerant logical reasoning engine called the active logic machine (ALMA). The current paper details a semantics for a general version of the underlying logical formalism, active logic. Central to active logic are special rules controlling the inheritance of beliefs in general (and of beliefs about the current time in particular), very tight controls on what can be derived from direct (...) contradictions (P &￢P), and mechanisms allowing an agent to represent and reason about its own beliefs and past reasoning. Furthermore, inspired by the notion that until an agent notices that a set of beliefs is contradictory, that set seems consistent (and the agent therefore reasons with it as if it were consistent), we introduce an “apperception function” that represents an agent’s limited awareness of its own beliefs, and serves to modify inconsistent belief sets so as to yield consistent sets. Using these ideas, we introduce a new definition of logical consequence in the context of active logic, as well as a new definition of soundness such that, when reasoning with consistent premises, all classically sound rules remain sound in our new sense. However, not everything that is classically sound remains sound in our sense, for by classical definitions, all rules with contradictory premises are vacuously sound, whereas in active logic not everything follows from a contradiction. (shrink)
For the least the last 10 years, there has been growing interest in, and grow- ing evidence for, the intimate relations between more abstract or higher order cognition—such as reasoning, planning, and language use—and the more con- crete, immediate, or lower order operations of the perceptual and motor sys- tems that support seeing, feeling, moving, and manipulating. A sub-field of the larger research program in embodied cognition (Clark, 1997, 1998; Wilson, 2001; Anderson, 2003, 2007d, 2008; Gibbs, 2006), this work has (...) generally pro- ceeded under the banner of grounded cognition, and works to support the claim that thinking is inherently tied to—grounded in—perceiving and acting. Thus, Glenberg and Kaschak (2002) discuss “grounding language in action”; Gallese and Lakoff (2005) argue that concepts are “grounded in the sensory–motor sys- tem;” and Barsalou (1999) at various times talks of “grounding cognition in perception,” “grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems” (Barsalou et al., 2003), and most recently simply of “grounded cognition” (Barsalou, 2008). (shrink)
Embodied Cognition is growing up, and How the Body Shapes the Mind is both a sign of, and substantive contributor to this ongoing development. Born in or about 1991, EC is only now emerging from a tumultuous but exciting childhood marked in particular by the size and breadth of the extended family hoping to have some impact on its early education and upbringing. As family members include computer science, phenomenology, developmental and cognitive psychology, analytic philosophy of mind, linguistics, neuroscience, and (...) eastern mysticism, just to name a few, EC has both benefited and suffered from a wealth of different and often incompatible ideas about who and what it is, what it should do with its life, even what language it should speak. Gallagher brings some cohesion and consistency to this situation, not by surveying and synthesizing these competing approaches, but by focusing on some fundamental issues, and carefully marshalling the evidence and developing the vocabulary to thoroughly consider them. (shrink)
To think about how to anchor abstract symbols to objects in the world is to become part of a tradition in philosophy with a long history, and an especially rich recent past. It is to ask, with Wittgenstein, “What makes my thought about him, a thought about him?” and thus it is to wonder not just about the nature of referring expressions or singular terms, but about the nature of referring beings. With this in mind I hereby endeavor—brieﬂy, incompletely, but (...) hopefully still usefully—to introduce what in my judgment is the single best philosophical starting-point for those interested in understanding the referential connections between symbols and the world, and the cognitive, epistemic, and linguistic capacities which support them: The Varieties of Reference by Gareth Evans.1 It is worthwhile ﬁrst of all to note, as the title indicates, that it is the varieties of reference that are of interest. It is Evans’ contention that no single theory can account for our various use of singular terms; although the different kinds of reference share certain features, and rely on related cognitive, linguistic and epistemic capacities, it appears that, rather than being a class deﬁned by necessary and sufﬁcient criteria for membership, they form a family of abilities, united, like a thread, by its overlapping ﬁbers. Evans does not defend this claim so much as display it in his account. Much of the underlying variety in reference can be brought out by considering the guiding principle of the work as a whole, which Evans.. (shrink)
However, there has also been growing interest in trying to create, and investigate the potential beneﬁts of, intelligent systems which are themselves metacognitive. It is thought that systems that monitor themselves, and proactively respond to problems, can perform better, for longer, with less need for (expensive) human intervention. Thus has IBM widely publicized their "autonomic computing" initiative, aimed at developing computers which are (in their words) self-aware, selfconﬁguring, self-optimizing, self-healing, self-protecting, and self-adapting. More ambitiously, it is hypothesized that metacognitive awareness (...) may be one of the keys to developing truly intelligent artiﬁcial systems. DARPA's recent Cognitive Information Processing Technology initiative, for instance, foregrounds reﬂection (along with reaction and deliberation) as one of the three pillars required for ﬂexible, robust AI systems. (shrink)
Part of understanding the functional organization of the brain is understanding how it evolved. This talk presents evidence suggesting that while the brain may have originally emerged as an organ with functionally dedicated regions, the creative re-use of these regions has played a significant role in its evolutionary development. This would parallel the evolution of other capabilities wherein existing structures, evolved for other purposes, are re-used and built upon in the course of continuing evolutionary development (“exaptation”: Gould & Vrba 1982). (...) There is psychological support for exaptation in cognition (e.g. Cosmides 1989), theoretical reason to expect it (Anderson 2003; in press-a; in press-b) and neuroanatomic evidence that the brain evolved by preserving, extending, and combining existing network components, rather than by generating complex structures de novo (Sporns & Kötter 2004). However, there has been little evidence that integrates these perspectives, bringing such an account of the evolution of cognitive function into the realm of cognitive neuroscience (although see, e.g., Barsalou 1999). (shrink)
An emerging class of theories concerning the functional structure of the brain takes the reuse of neural circuitry for various cognitive purposes to be a central organizational principle. According to these theories, it is quite common for neural circuits established for one purpose to be exapted (exploited, recycled, redeployed) during evolution or normal development, and be put to different uses, often without losing their original functions. Neural reuse theories thus differ from the usual understanding of the role of neural plasticity (...) (which is, after all, a kind of reuse) in brain organization along the following lines: According to neural reuse, circuits can continue to acquire new uses after an initial or original function is established; the acquisition of new uses need not involve unusual circumstances such as injury or loss of established function; and the acquisition of a new use need not involve (much) local change to circuit structure (e.g., it might involve only the establishment of functional connections to new neural partners). Thus, neural reuse theories offer a distinct perspective on several topics of general interest, such as: the evolution and development of the brain, including (for instance) the evolutionary-developmental pathway supporting primate tool use and human language; the degree of modularity in brain organization; the degree of localization of cognitive function; and the cortical parcellation problem and the prospects (and proper methods to employ) for function to structure mapping. The idea also has some practical implications in the areas of rehabilitative medicine and machine interface design. (shrink)
Self Aware Computer Systems is an area of basic research, and we are only in the initial stages of our understanding of what it means: What it means to be self aware; what a self aware system can do that a system without it cannot do; and what are some of the immediate practical applications and challenge problems. This paper is a report capturing some of the salient points discussed during the DARPA workshop on Self Aware Computer Systems held on (...) April 27-28, 2004 in Washington DC. (shrink)
In recent years, embodied cognitive agents have become a central research focus in Cognitive Science. We suggest that there are at least three aspects of embodiment| physical, social and temporal|which must be treated simultaneously to make possible a realistic implementation of agency. In this paper we detail the ways in which attention to the temporal embodiment of a cognitive agent (perhaps the most neglected aspect of embodiment) can enhance the ability of an agent to act in the world, both in (...) itself, and also by supporting more robust integrations with the physical and social worlds. (shrink)
In this essay we respond to some criticisms of the guidance theory of representation offered by Tom Roberts. We argue that although Roberts’ criticisms miss their mark, he raises the important issue of the relationship between affordances and the action-oriented representations proposed by the guidance theory. Affordances play a prominent role in the anti-representationalist accounts offered by theorists of embodied cognition and ecological psychology, and the guidance theory is motivated in part by a desire to respond to the critiques of (...) representationalism offered in such accounts, without giving up entirely on the idea that representations are an important part of the cognitive economy of many animals. Thus, explorations of whether and how such accounts can in fact be related and reconciled potentially offer to shed some light on this ongoing controversy. Although the current essay hardly settles the larger debate, it does suggest that there may be more possibility for agreement than is often supposed. (shrink)
The current paper details a restricted semantics for active logic, a time-sensitive, contradictiontolerant logical reasoning formalism. Central to active logic are special rules controlling the inheritance of beliefs in general, and beliefs about the current time in particular, very tight controls on what can be derived from direct contradictions (P &¬P ), and mechanisms allowing an agent to represent and reason about its own beliefs and past reasoning. Using these ideas, we introduce a new deﬁnition of model and of logical (...) consequence, as well as a new deﬁnition of soundness such that, when reasoning with consistent premises, all classically sound rules are sound for active logic. However, not everything that is classically sound remains sound in our sense, for by classical deﬁnitions, all rules with contradictory premises are vacuously sound, whereas in active logic not everything follows from a contradiction. (shrink)
As is well known, dialog partners manage the uncertainty inherent in conversation by continually providing and eliciting feedback, monitoring their own comprehension and the apparent comprehension of their dialog partner, and initiating repairs as needed (see e.g., Cahn & Brennan, 1999; Clark & Brennan, 1991). Given the nature of such monitoring and repair, one might reasonably hypothesize that a good portion of the utterances involved in dialog management employ meta-language. But while there has been a great deal of work on (...) the specific topic of dialog management, and it is widely (if often tacitly) accepted that meta-language is frequently involved, there has been no work specifically investigating and quantifying the role of meta-language in dialog management. Thus, this small study investigated the correlation between meta-language and dialog management utterances in three dialog files of the British National Corpus (BNC). (shrink)
In this paper we contend that the ability to engage in meta-dialog is necessary for free and exible conversation. Central to the possibility of meta-dialog is the ability to recognize and negotiate the distinction between the use and mention of a word. The paper surveys existing theoretical approaches to the use-mention distinction, and brie y describes some of our ongoing e orts to implement a system which represents the use-mention distinction in the service of simple meta-dialog.
In this paper, we present a meta-cognitive approach for dropping and reconsidering intentions, wherein concurrent actions and results are allowed, in the framework of the time-sensitive and contradiction-tolerant active logic.
This paper lays out some of the empirical evidence for the importance of neural reuse—the reuse of existing (inherited and/or early-developing) neural circuitry for multiple behavioral purposes—in defining the overall functional structure of the brain. We then discuss in some detail one particular instance of such reuse: the involvement of a local neural circuit in finger awareness, number representation, and other diverse functions. Finally, we consider whether and how the notion of a developmental homology can help us understand the relationships (...) between the cognitive functions that develop out of shared neural supports. (shrink)
Approaching Plato is a comprehensive research guide to all (fifteen) of Plato’s early and middle dialogues. Each of the dialogues is covered with a short outline, a detailed outline (including some Greek text), and an interpretive essay. Also included (among other things) is an essay distinguishing Plato’s idea of eudaimonia from our contemporary notion of happiness and brief descriptions of the dialogues’ main characters.
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the use of metacognition in intelligent systems. This essay is part of a small section meant to give interested researchers an overview and sampling of the kinds of work currently being pursued in this broad area. The current essay offers a review of recent research in two main topic areas: the monitoring and control of reasoning (metareasoning) and the monitoring and control of learning (metalearning).
Basics of Embodied Cognition EC treats cognition as a set of tools evolved by organisms for coping with their environments. Each of the key terms in this characterization—tool, evolved, organisms, coping, and environment—has a special significance for, and casts a particular light on, the study of the mind. EC thereby foregrounds the following six facts.
One of the most foundational and continually contested questions in the cognitive sciences is the degree to which the functional organization of the brain can be understood as modular. In its classic formulation, a module was defined as a cognitive sub-system with (all or most of) nine specific properties; the classic module is, among other things, domain specific, encapsulated (i.e. maintains proprietary representations to which other modules have no access), and implemented in dedicated neural substrates. Most of the examinations—and especially (...) the criticisms—of the modularity thesis have focused on these properties individually, for instance by finding counterexamples in which otherwise good candidates for cognitive modules are shown to lack domain specificity or encapsulation. The current paper goes beyond the usual approach by asking what some of the broad architectural implications of the modularity thesis might be, and attempting to test for these. The evidence does not favor a modular architecture for the cortex. Moreover, the evidence suggests that best way to approach the understanding of cognition is not by analyzing and modelling different functional domains (visual perception, attention, language, motor control, etc.) in isolation from the others, but rather by looking for points of overlap in their neural implementations, and exploiting these to guide the analysis and decomposition of the functions in question. This has significant implications for the question of how to approach the design and implementation of intelligent artifacts in general, and language-using robots in particular. (shrink)
Reading this book is, I imagine, very much like having a conversation with—by which I mean listening to—Gerald Edelman on topics of great interest: evolution; the brain; consciousness; and the nature and limits of human knowledge. Normally, this would be a great recommendation for a work, as one would assume the informality of style and intimacy of tone would make more accessible the ideas being conveyed. In this case, however, there are a couple of problems. The first is that, at (...) any point in this particular conversation, at most one person understands what is being said; the other problem is that it isn’t always Edelman. (shrink)
This essay describes a general approach to building perturbation-tolerant autonomous systems, based on the conviction that artificial agents should be able to notice when something is amiss, assess the anomaly, and guide a solution into place. This basic strategy of self-guided learning is termed the metacognitive loop; it involves the system monitoring, reasoning about, and, when necessary, altering its own decision-making components. This paper (a) argues that equipping agents with a metacognitive loop can help to overcome the brittleness problem, (b) (...) details the metacognitive loop and its relation to our ongoing work on time-sensitive commonsense reasoning, (c) describes specific, implemented systems whose perturbation tolerance was improved by adding a metacognitive loop, and (d) outlines both short-term and long-term research agendas. (shrink)
Description: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional organization of the human cortex, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components—originally developed to serve some specific purpose—were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs.
Embodied cognition (EC) is growing up, and How the Body Shapes the Mind is both a sign of, and substantive contributor to, this ongoing development. Born in or about 1991 (the year of publication of seminal works by Brooks, Dreyfus, and Varela, Thompson & Rosch), EC is only now emerging from a tumultuous but exciting childhood marked in particular by the size and breadth of the extended family hoping to have some impact on its early education and upbringing. As family (...) members include computer science, phenomenology, developmental and cognitive psychology, analytic philosophy of mind, linguistics, neuroscience, and eastern mysticism—just to name a few—EC has both benefited and suffered from a wealth of different and often incompatible ideas about who and what it is, what it should do with its life, even what language it should speak. Gallagher brings some cohesion and consistency to this situation, not by surveying and synthesizing these competing approaches, but by carefully marshalling the evidence and developing the vocabulary to thoroughly consider a few fundamental issues. (shrink)
A symbol is a pattern (of physical marks, electromagnetic energy, etc.) which denotes, designates, or otherwise has meaning. The notion that intelligence requires the use and manipulation of symbols, and that humans are therefore symbol systems, has been extremely in uential in arti cial intelligence.
Maintaining adequate performance in dynamic and uncertain settings has been a perennial stumbling block for intelligent systems. Nevertheless, any system intended for real-world deployment must be able to accommodate unexpected change—that is, it must be perturbation tolerant. We have found that metacognitive monitoring and control—the ability of a system to self-monitor its own decision-making processes and ongoing performance, and to make targeted changes to its beliefs and action-determining components—can play an important role in helping intelligent systems cope with the perturbations (...) that are the inevitable result of real-world deployment. In this article we present the results of several experiments demonstrating the efficacy of metacognition in improving the perturbation tolerance of reinforcement learners, and discuss a general theory of metacognitive monitoring and control, in a form we call the metacognitive loop. (shrink)
I have no opinion about translations. I tell you this because the first time I offered publicly some thoughts on the Iliad, the very first question from the audience was about which translation I thought best. I was surprised by the question, and gave a befuddled sort of answer. But I should have expected it, for it is the mark of the classicist to have opinions about such matters; more than that, a classicist’s answer to a question about the best (...) will show what sort of classicist she is, what she values and how she applies the standards of the discipline. At the time I thought the question odd and irrelevant to my talk; but in fact it was an important question, for to answer it would shed light on my scholarly concerns, and help fit my talk into the ongoing discussions at the heart of classical scholarship. That I was unable to give such an answer showed it was my talk that was irrelevant, not the question. (shrink)
Because I don’t know what a cultural imaginary is, nor how to put (or find) something in one, I propose instead to provide a brief, general account of what, when we think and write about, and thereby determine, the characteristics of mindedness, the members of my tribe imagine themselves to be doing.
Multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) is a popular analytical technique in neuroscience that involves identifying patterns in fMRI BOLD signal data that are predictive of task conditions. But the technique is also frequently used to make inferences about the regions of the brain that are most important to the tasks in question, and our analysis shows that this is a mistake. MVPA does not provide a reliable guide to what information is being used by the brain during cognitive tasks, nor where (...) that information is. This is due in part to inherent run to run variability in the decision space generated by the classifier, but there are also several other issues, discussed below, that make inference from the characteristics of the learned models to relevant brain activity deeply problematic. These issues have significant implications both for many papers already published, and for how the field uses this technique in the future. (shrink)
The generation of value bubbles is an inherently psychological and social process, where information sharing and individual decisions can affect representations of value. Bubbles occur in many domains, from the stock market, to the runway, to the laboratories of science. Here we seek to understand how psychological and social processes lead representations (i.e., expectations) of value to become divorced from the inherent value, using asset bubbles as an example. We hypothesize that simple asset group switching rules can give rise to (...) aggregate behavior that resembles the irrational exuberance that can drive asset bubbles. Using an agent-based model we explore whether a simple switching rule can generate irrational exuberance, and systematically explore how communication between decision makers influences the speed and intensity of overvaluation. We show that rational and simple individual level rules combined with honest information sharing are sufficient to generate the collective overvaluation characteristic of irrational exuberance. Further, our results demonstrate that low fidelity in the exchange of value information leads to rapidly increasing expectations about value, even when no one is engaged in exaggerating their expectations for the assets they own. (shrink)
In the spring 2011 issue of this journal there appeared a review of Julian Young's recent and well-received Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography. The author of the piece, Daniel Blue, writes from the perspective of one of the book's very few detractors.1 His objections, however, mainly concern the philosophical-interpretive chapters of Young's book. Regarding the biographical material, Blue judges that the book provides "a lively and intellectually bracing account of Nietzsche's life." On this point I would not like to contradict (...) Blue's opinion. I am, however, inclined to lay a critical finger upon his remark that Young "[o]f necessity ... tells the same story as [Ronald] Hayman and [Curtis] Cate," two .. (shrink)
To accept that cognition is embodied is to question many of the beliefs traditionally held by cognitive scientists. One key question regards the localization of cognitive faculties. Here we argue that for cognition to be embodied and sometimes embedded, means that the cognitive faculty cannot be localized in a brain area alone. We review recent research on neural reuse, the 1/f structure of human activity, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination dynamics that we believe demonstrates how the boundary between (...) the different areas of the brain, the brain and body, and the body and environment is not only blurred but indeterminate. In turn, we propose that cognition is supported by a nested structure of task-specific synergies, which are softly assembled from a variety of neural, bodily, and environmental components (including other individuals), and exhibit interaction dominant dynamics. (shrink)
Bachelard (1884-1962) generated a corpus numbering in the dozens of books, with topics ranging from the philosophy of science to poetry, some translated from the French into English. Moreover, his works have provoked at least that number of seldom-translated major studies by others. Bachelard reads as a modern, even post-modern, scholar. His polemical position as an anti-positivist and his fascination with dynamical process place him in the emerging paradigm within semiotics' major tradition. This paper explores Bachelard's resonance with semiotic issues (...) in the philosophy of science and his relevance to contemporary dialectics. (shrink)
The notion of a motivated semiotic might capture some of the intent behind "empirical semiotics", itself a rubric striking many as an oxymoron. In "motivated semiotics", practitioners would foreground the provisionality in all phases of a project, from the conditions of interdisciplinarity, the acknowledgment of open, nondeterminate systems, their emergent constraints of enablement and limitation, the role of initial and boundary conditions, on to the transdisciplinary problematics of interpretation and the selection of tropes which act as digestive enzymes for the (...) wider dissemination of ideas. Without such provisionality, nothing safeguards any motivated program (and, let's face it, all agendas are motivated), and consequently, even in semiotics, all research risks slipping unawares down the time-greased chute of vulgar positivism. (shrink)
The Saami assert that "to move on is better than to stay put" (jot'tit lea buorit go orrot). The senior (in more ways than one) author, Myrdene Anderson, found as a Saami ethnographer that her life history resonated well with this Saami philosophy. In addition, Anderson had adopted from her own heritage the adage that "one can't hit a moving target". The Saami would also be comfortable with that formula. Together, one might minimally collapse and paraphrase both adages as: "a (...) rolling agent invests in the moment". Devika Chawla, the junior author, interrogates Anderson in nuancing this philosophy. To what degree is our research overdetermined and underdetermined by such factors as life history, culture, personality, and narrative reflections? The inquiry proceeds to unpack the opacities and transparencies in semiosic constructions. (shrink)
Research on academic cheating by high school students and undergraduates suggests that many students will do whatever it takes, including violating ethical classroom standards, to not be left behind or to race to the top. This behavior may be exacerbated among pre-med and pre-health professional school students enrolled in laboratory classes because of the typical disconnect between these students, their instructors and the perceived legitimacy of the laboratory work. There is little research, however, that has investigated the relationship between high (...) aspirations and academic conduct. This study fills this research gap by investigating the beliefs, perceptions and self-reported academic conduct of highly aspirational students and their peers in mandatory physics labs. The findings suggest that physics laboratory classes may face particular challenges with highly aspirational students and cheating, but the paper offers practical solutions for addressing them. (shrink)
The trouble with business schools -- The great, but delicate experiment -- A hippocratic oath for business -- Six more arguments for the MBA oath -- The purpose of a manager -- Ethics and integrity -- No man is an island : stakeholders -- Ambition and good faith -- The letter and the spirit : law -- The sunlight of responsibility : transparency -- Personal and professional growth -- Sustainable prosperity : a partnership for living well -- Accountability.
In teaching introductory ethics courses it is a struggle to find ways to ground the theoretical approach in a context accessible to students. Two way to provide this context are to use feature films and service learning. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. Feature films provide students with a consistentnarrative, the filmmaker’s intentions, and identical experiences. Service learning provides students with an open encounter with uncertain meaning, concrete human problems, and at best similar experiences. The benefits and weaknesses of each (...) approach depend upon the objectives of the course. Films allow for greater clarity in interpretation of ethical theory, while service makes possible an appreciation of the ambiguities of ethical actions. (shrink)
Competition among scientists for funding, positions and prestige, among other things, is often seen as a salutary driving force in U.S. science. Its effects on scientists, their work and their relationships are seldom considered. Focus-group discussions with 51 mid- and early-career scientists, on which this study is based, reveal a dark side of competition in science. According to these scientists, competition contributes to strategic game-playing in science, a decline in free and open sharing of information and methods, sabotage of others’ (...) ability to use one’s work, interference with peer-review processes, deformation of relationships, and careless or questionable research conduct. When competition is pervasive, such effects may jeopardize the progress, efficiency and integrity of science. (shrink)
Abstract: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional topography of the human brain, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components-originally developed to serve some specific purpose-were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs. If the (...) evolution of cognition was indeed driven by such exaptation, then we should be able to make some specific empirical predictions regarding the resulting functional topography of the brain. This essay discusses three such predictions, and some of the evidence supporting them. Then, using this account as a background, the essay considers the implications of these findings for an account of the functional integration of cognitive operations. For instance, MRH suggests that in order to determine the functional role of a given brain area it is necessary to consider its participation across multiple task categories, and not just focus on one, as has been the typical practice in cognitive neuroscience. This change of methodology will motivate (even perhaps necessitate) the development of a new, domain-neutral vocabulary for characterizing the contribution of individual brain areas to larger functional complexes, and direct particular attention to the question of how these various area roles are integrated and coordinated to result in the observed cognitive effect. Finally, the details of the mix of cognitive functions a given area supports should tell us something interesting not just about the likely computational role of that area, but about the nature of and relations between the cognitive functions themselves. For instance, growing evidence of the role of “motor” areas like M1, SMA and PMC in language processing, and of “language” areas like Broca’s area in motor control, offers the possibility for significantly reconceptualizing the nature both of language and of motor control. (shrink)
This essay introduces the massive redeployment hypothesis, an account of the functional organization of the brain that centrally features the fact that brain areas are typically employed to support numerous functions. The central contribution of the essay is to outline a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other, in such a way as to account for the supporting data on both sides of the argument. The massive redeployment hypothesis is supported by case studies (...) of redeployment, and compared and contrasted with other theories of the localization of function. (shrink)
This paper is a summary and evaluation of work presented at the AAAI 2005 Fall Symposium on Machine Ethics that brought together participants from the fields of Computer Science and Philosophy to the end of clarifying the nature of this newly emerging field and discussing different approaches one could take towards realizing the ultimate goal of creating an ethical machine.
We argue that there are three norms of critical discussion in stark relief in Republic I. The first we see in the exchange with Cephalus---that we interpret each other and contribute to discussions in a maximally argumentative fashion. The second we seein the exchange with Polemarchus---that in order to cooperate in dialectic, interlocutors must maintain a distance between themselves and the theses they espouse. This way they can subject the views to serious scrutiny without the risk of personal loss. Third, (...) and finally, from Socrates’ exchange with Thrasymachus, it is clear that uncooperative discussants must be handled in a fashion that reinforces the goals of dialectic. So Thrasymachus is refuted and silenced not just for the sake of correcting his definition of justice, but also for the sake of those listening. (shrink)
Repression has remained controversial for nearly a century on account of the lack of well-controlled evidence validating it. Here we argue that the conceptual and methodological tools now exist for a rigorous scientific examination of repression, and that a nascent cognitive neuroscience of repression is emerging. We review progress in this area and highlight important questions for this field to address.
b>. Recent findings in cognitive science suggest that the epistemic subject is more complex and epistemically porous than is generally pictured. Human knowers are open to the world via multiple channels, each operating for particular purposes and according to its own logic. These findings need to be understood and addressed by the philosophical community. The current essay argues that one consequence of the new findings is to invalidate certain arguments for epistemic anti-realism.
Although I find Blair's case for arguing for the distinction between fluid cognitive functions and general intelligence less than compelling, I believe him. However, I also believe that what is required next is a theory of both general intelligence and fluid cognitive functions that articulates the distinction. In the absence of this, more data, particularly of the neuroscience variety, is likely to stall rather than advance progress. (Published Online April 5 2006).
As part of the ongoing attempt to fully naturalize the concept of human being--and, more specifically, to re-center it around the notion of agency--this essay discusses an approach to defining the content of representations in terms ultimately derived from their central, evolved function of providing guidance for action. This 'guidance theory' of representation is discussed in the context of, and evaluated with respect to, two other biologically inspired theories of representation: Dan Lloyd's dialectical theory of representation and Ruth Millikan's biosemantics.
b>. The current essay introduces the guidance theory of representation, according to which the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. The guidance theory offers a way of fixing representational content that gives the causal and evolutionary history of the subject only an indirect (non-necessary) role, and an account of representational error, based on failure of action, that does not rely on any such notions as proper functions, ideal (...) conditions, or normal circumstances. Moreover, because the notion of error is defined in terms of failure of action, the guidance theory meets the. (shrink)
Recent trends in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science can be fruitfully characterized as part of the ongoing attempt to come to grips with the very idea of homo sapiens--an intelligent, evolved, biological agent--and its signature contribution is the emergence of a philosophical anthropology which, contra Descartes and his thinking thing, instead puts doing at the center of human being. Applying this agency-oriented line of thinking to the problem of representation, this paper introduces the Guidance Theory, according to which (...) the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. We offer a brief account of the motivation for the theory, and a formal characterization. (shrink)
b>. The current essay introduces the guidance theory of representation, according to which the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. We offer a brief account of the biological origins of representation, a formal characterization of the guidance theory, some examples of its use, and show how the guidance theory handles some traditional problem cases for representation: the problems of error and of representation of fictional and abstract entities.
This article focuses on subtle energies (those energies that fall outside the four regularly recognized energy forces of gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces). Research and insights from the social, physical, and healing sciences are discussed. Key concepts from these disciplines are explored creating a cross-disciplinary analysis of recent research. A case is made for building upon the growing understanding of the influence and importance of the subtle energies in our daily lives as well as the ongoing (...) evolution of our species and planet. The author advocates for increased explorations in the use of these energies for positive social transformation and healing. (shrink)
The nature of scientific societies’ relationships with their members limits their ability to promote research integrity. They must therefore leverage their strengths as professional organizations to integrate ethical considerations into their ongoing support of their academic disciplines. This paper suggests five strategies for doing so.
The nature of cognition is being re-considered. Instead of emphasizing formal operations on abstract symbols, the new approach foregrounds the fact that cognition is, rather, a situated activity, and suggests that thinking beings ought therefore be considered first and foremost as acting beings. The essay reviews recent work in Embodied Cognition, provides a concise guide to its principles, attitudes and goals, and identifies the physical grounding project as its central research focus.
The representations formed by the ventral and dorsal streams of a prelinguistic agent will tend to be too qualitatively similar to support the distinct roles required by PREDICATE(x) structure. We suggest that the attachment of qualities to objects is not a product of the combination of these separate processing streams, but is instead a part of the processing required in each. In addition, we suggest that the formation of objective predicates is inextricably bound up with the emergence of language itself, (...) and so cannot be cleanly identified with any prelinguistic cognitive capacities. (shrink)
Doctoral students receive many kinds of assistance from faculty members, but much of this support falls short of mentoring. This paper takes the perspective that it is more important to find out what kinds of help students receive from faculty than to assume that students are taken care of by mentors, as distinct from advisors or role models. The findings here are based on both survey and interview data collected through the Acadia Institute’s project on Professional Values and Ethical Issues (...) in the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. The paper describes various kinds of assistance that students receive (or do not receive) from faculty members in their roles as teacher/coach, sponsor, and counselor, It concludes with a section on advisors assigned to doctoral students, notably the extent of their contact with and influence on students. (shrink)
Data from two national surveys of 4,000 faculty and doctoral students in chemistry, civil engineering, microbiology and sociology indicate that both faculty and students subscribe strongly to traditional norms but are more likely to see alternative counternorms enacted in their departments. They also show significant effects of departmental climate on normative orientations and suggest that many researchers express some degree of ambivalence about traditional norms.
One of the seminal constructs in 20th-century biosemiotics is G. Evelyn Hutchinson's 'niche'. This notion opened up and unpacked cartesian space and time to recognize self-organizing roles in open, dynamical systems - in n-dimensional hyperspace. Perhaps equally valuable to biosemiotics is Hutchinson's inclusive approach to inquiry and his willingness to venture into abductive territory, which have reaped rewards for a range of disciplines beyond biology, from art to anthropology. Hutchinson assumed the fertility of inquiry flowing from open, far-from-equilibrium systems to (...) be characterized by 'fabricational noise', followingSeilacher, or 'order out of chaos', following Prigogine. Serendipitous 'noise' can self-organize into information at other levels, as does the 'noise' of Hutchinson's contributions themselves. (shrink)