In the book, I argue that the mind can be explained computationally because it is itself computational—whether it engages in mental arithmetic, parses natural language, or processes the auditory signals that allow us to experience music. All these capacities arise from complex information-processing operations of the mind. By analyzing the state of the art in cognitive science, I develop an account of computational explanation used to explain the capacities in question.
The paper proposes an empirical method to investigate linguistic prescriptions as inherent corrective behaviors. The behaviors in question may but need not necessarily be supported by any explicit knowledge of rules. It is possible to gain insight into them, for example by extracting information about corrections from revision histories of texts (or by analyzing speech corpora where users correct themselves or one another). One easily available source of such information is the revision history of Wikipedia. As is shown, the most (...) frequent and short corrections are limited to linguistic errors such as typos (and editorial conventions adopted in Wikipedia). By perusing an automatically generated revision corpus, one gains insight into the prescriptive nature of language empirically. At the same time, the prescriptions offered are not reducible to descriptions of the most frequent linguistic use. (shrink)
Naturalism is currently the most vibrantly developing approach to philosophy, with naturalised methodologies being applied across all the philosophical disciplines. One of the areas naturalism has been focussing upon is the mind, traditionally viewed as a topic hard to reconcile with the naturalistic worldview. A number of questions have been pursued in this context. What is the place of the mind in the world? How should we study the mind as a natural phenomenon? What is the significance of cognitive science (...) research for philosophical debates? In this book, philosophical questions about the mind are asked in the context of recent developments in cognitive science, evolutionary theory, psychology, and the project of the naturalisation. Much of the focus is upon what we have learned by studying natural mental mechanisms as well as designing artificial ones. In the case of natural mental mechanisms, this includes consideration of such issues as the significance of deficits in these mechanisms for psychiatry. The significance of the evolutionary context for mental mechanisms as well as questions regarding rationality and wisdom is also explored. Mechanistic and functional models of the mind are used to throw new light on discussions regarding issues of explanation, reduction and the realisation of mental phenomena. Finally, naturalistic approaches are used to look anew at such traditional philosophical issues as the correspondence of mind to world and presuppositions of scientific research. (shrink)
I argue that influential purely syntactic views of computation, shared by such philosophers as John Searle and Hilary Putnam, are mistaken. First, I discuss common objections, and during the discussion I mention additional necessary conditions of implementation of computations in physical processes that are neglected in classical philosophical accounts of computation. Then I try to show why realism in regards of physical computations is more plausible, and more coherent with any realistic attitude towards natural science than the received view, and (...) distinguish computational simulation, implementation, and re-engineering. I also point out the sources of confusion about what computation is that seem to stem from disregarding the use/mention distinction. (shrink)
In this chapter, I argue that some aspects of cognitive phenomena cannot be explained computationally. In the first part, I sketch a mechanistic account of computational explanation that spans multiple levels of organization of cognitive systems. In the second part, I turn my attention to what cannot be explained about cognitive systems in this way. I argue that information-processing mechanisms are indispensable in explanations of cognitive phenomena, and this vindicates the computational explanation of cognition. At the same time, it has (...) to be supplemented with other explanations to make the mechanistic explanation complete, and that naturally leads to explanatory pluralism in cognitive science. The price to pay for pluralism, however, is the abandonment of the traditional autonomy thesis asserting that cognition is independent of implementation details. (shrink)
In this article, after presenting the basic idea of causal accounts of implementation and the problems they are supposed to solve, I sketch the model of computation preferred by Chalmers and argue that it is too limited to do full justice to computational theories in cognitive science. I also argue that it does not suffice to replace Chalmers’ favorite model with a better abstract model of computation; it is necessary to acknowledge the causal structure of physical computers that is not (...) accommodated by the models used in computability theory. Additionally, an alternative mechanistic proposal is outlined. (shrink)
It would be hard to find a more fervent advocate of the position that computers are of profound significance to philosophy than Aaron Sloman. Yet, he is not a stereotypical proponent of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Far from it; in his writings, he undermines several popular convictions of functionalists. Through his drafts and polemics, Sloman definitely exerts quite substantial influence on the philosophy of Artificial Intelligence. Sloman's paper “Evolution: The Computer Systems Engineer Designing Minds” presents a bold hypothesis that the evolution (...) of the human mind actually involved the development of a several dozen of virtual machines that support various forms of self-monitoring. This, in turn, helps explain different features of our cognitive functioning. (shrink)
The standard objection against naturalised epistemology is that it cannot account for normativity in epistemology (Putnam 1982; Kim 1988). There are different ways to deal with it. One of the obvious ways is to say that the objection misses the point: It is not a bug; it is a feature, as there is nothing interesting in normative principles in epistemology. Normative epistemology deals with norms but they are of no use in prac-tice. They are far too general to be guiding (...) principles of research, up to the point that they even seem vacuous (see Knowles 2003). In this chapter, my strategy will be different and more in spirit of the founding father of naturalized epistemology, Quine, though not faithful to the letter. I focus on methodological prescriptions supplied by cogni-tive science in re-engineering of cognitive architectures. Engineering norms based on mechanism design weren’t treated as seriously as they should in epistemology, and that is why I will develop a sketch of a framework for researching them, starting from analysing cognitive sci-ence as engineering in section 3, then showing functional normativity in section 4, to eventually present functional engineering models of cogni-tive mechanisms as normative in section 5. Yet before showing the kind of engineering normativity specific for these prescriptions, it is worth-while to review briefly the role of normative methodology and the levels of norm complexity in it, and show how it follows Quine’s steps. (shrink)
The contributors to this volume engage with issues of normativity within naturalised philosophy. The issues are critical to naturalism as most traditional notions in philosophy, such as knowledge, justification or representation, are said to involve normativity. Some of the contributors pursue the question of the correct place of normativity within a naturalised ontology, with emergentist and eliminativist answers offered on neighbouring pages. Others seek to justify particular norms within a naturalised framework, the more surprising ones including naturalist takes on the (...) a priori and intuitions. Finally, yet others examine concrete examples of the application of norms within particular epistemic endeavours, such as psychopathology and design. The overall picture is that of an intimate engagement with issues of normativity on the part of naturalist philosophers – questioning some of the fundamentals at the same time as they try to work out many of the details. (shrink)
In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Daniel Dennett claims that evolution is algorithmic. On Dennett’s analysis, evolutionary processes are trivially algorithmic because he assumes that all natural processes are algorithmic. I will argue that there are more robust ways to understand algorithmic processes that make the claim that evolution is algorithmic empirical and not conceptual. While laws of nature can be seen as compression algorithms of information about the world, it does not follow logically that they are implemented as algorithms by physical (...) processes. For that to be true, the processes have to be part of computational systems. The basic difference between mere simulation and real computing is having proper causal structure. I will show what kind of requirements this poses for natural evolutionary processes if they are to be computational. (shrink)
Autor artykułu broni tezy, że niektóre systemy obliczeniowe mogą mieć własności semantyczne. Wskazana została klasa systemów obliczeniowych, w których reprezentacje mogą mieć przynajmniej dwie własności: własność odnoszenia się do obiektów (desygnowanie) i własność wspomagania rozpoznawania obiektów oznaczanych przez daną reprezentację (konotowanie). Autor argumentuje także, że własności semantyczne reprezentacji nie zależą wyłącznie od architektury systemów obliczeniowych, w których te reprezentacje występują. Konkretna architektura obliczeniowa nie jest czynnikiem kluczowym, a bodaj najmniej istotne są same rodzaje struktur danych, które mają mieć własności desygnowania (...) czy konotowania. Własność desygnowania czy konotowania nie musi być zlokalizowana w samych reprezentacjach, może być własnością wyższego rzędu, powstającą w mechanizmie wyższego poziomu. Własności semantyczne reprezentacji mogą być wielorako realizowane. Systemy klasyczne, koneksjonistyczne czy też hybrydowe mogą równie dobrze mieć własności semantyczne, jak ich nie mieć. (shrink)
Many philosophers use “physicalism” and “naturalism” interchangeably. In this paper, I will distinguish ontological naturalism from physicalism. While broad versions of physicalism are compatible with naturalism, naturalism doesn't have to be committed to strong versions of physical reductionism, so it cannot be defined as equivalent to it. Instead of relying on the notion of ideal physics, naturalism can refer to the notion of ideal natural science that doesn't imply unity of science. The notion of ideal natural science, as well as (...) the notion of ideal physics, will be vindicated. I will shortly explicate the notion of ideal natural science, and define ontological naturalism based on it. (shrink)
In this paper, I suggest that the notion of module explicitly defined by Peter Carruthers in The Architecture of The Mind (Carruthers 2006) is not really In use in the book. Instead, a more robust notion seems to be actually in play. The more robust notion, albeit implicitly assumed, seems to be far more useful for making claims about the modularity of mind. Otherwise, the claims would become trivial. This robust notion will be reconstructed and improved upon by putting it (...) into a more general framework of mental architecture. I defend the view that modules are the outcome of structural rather than functional decomposition and that they should be conceived as near decomposable systems. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to deal with the triviality threat to computationalism. On one hand, the controversial and vague claim that cognition involves computation is still denied. On the other, contemporary physicists and philosophers alike claim that all physical processes are indeed computational or algorithmic. This claim would justify the computationalism claim by making it utterly trivial. I will show that even if these two claims were true, computationalism would not have to be trivial.