This paper explores some of the constructive dimensions and specifics of human theoreticcognition, combining perspectives from (Husserlian) genetic phenomenology and distributed cognition approaches. I further consult recent psychological research concerning spatial and numerical cognition. The focus is on the nexus between the theoretic development of abstract, idealized geometrical and mathematical notions of space and the development and effective use of environmental cognitive support systems. In my discussion, I show that the evolution of the (...) class='Hi'>theoreticcognition of space apparently follows two opposing, but in truth, intrinsically aligned trajectories. On the epistemic plane, which is the main focus of Husserl’s genetic phenomenological investigations, theoretic conceptions of space are progressively constituted by way of an idealizing emancipation of spatial cognition from the concrete, embodied intentionality underlying the human organism’s perception of space. As a result of this emancipation, it ultimately becomes possible for the human mind to theoretically conceive of and posit space as an ideal entity that is universally geometrical and mathematical. At the same time, by synthesizing a range of literature on spatial and mathematical cognition, I illustrate that for the theoretic mind to undertake precisely this emancipating process successfully, and further, for an ideal and objective notion of geometrical and mathematical space to first of all become fully scientifically operative, the cognitive support provided by a range of specific symbolic technologies is central. These include lettered diagrams, notation systems, and more generally, the technique of formalization and require for their functioning various cognitively efficacious types of embodiment. Ultimately, this paper endeavors to understand the specific symbolic-technological dimensions that have been instrumental to major shifts in the development of idealized, scientific conceptions of space. The epistemic characteristics of these shifts have been previously discussed in genetic phenomenology, but without devoting sufficient attention to the constructive role of symbolic technologies. At the same time, this paper identifies some of the irreducible phenomenological and epistemic dimensions that characterize the functioning of the historically situated, embodied and distributed theoretic mind. (shrink)
This paper aims to do three things: First, to provide a review of John Staddon's book Adaptive dynamics: The theoretical analysis of behavior. Second, to compare Staddon's behaviorist view with current ideas on embodied cognition. Third, to use this comparison to explicate some outlines for a theoretical analysis of behavior that could be useful as a behavioral foundation for cognitive phenomena. Staddon earlier defended a theoretical behaviorism, which allows internal states in its models but keeps these to a minimum (...) while remaining critical of any cognitive interpretation. In his latest book, Adaptive dynamics, he provides an overview and analysis of an extensive number of these current, behaviorist models. Theoretical behaviorism comes close to the view of embodied cognition, which also stresses the importance of behavior in contrast to high-level cognition. A detailed picture of the overlaps and differences between the two approaches will be sketched by comparing the two on four separate issues: the conceptualization of behavior, loopy structures, parsimonious explanations, and cognitive behavior. The paper will stress the need for a structural analysis of behavior to gain a better understanding of both behavior and cognition. However, for this purpose, we will need behavioral science rather than behaviorism. (shrink)
One of the liveliest debates about cognition concerns whether our cognition sometimes extends beyond our brains and bodies. One party says Yes, another No. This paper shows that debate between these parties has been epistemologically confused and requires reorienting. Both parties frequently appeal to empirical considerations and to extra-empirical theoretical virtues to support claims about where cognition is. These things should constrain their claims, but cannot do all the work hoped. This is because of the overlooked fact, (...) uncovered in this paper, that we could never distinguish the rival views empirically or by typical theoretical virtues. I show this by drawing on recent work on testing, predictive accuracy, and theoretical virtues. The recommendation to emerge is that we step back from debate about where cognition is, to the epistemology of what cognition is. (shrink)
For most of the major philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, human cognition was understood as involving the mind’s reflexive grasp of its own contents. But other important figures have described the very idea of a reflexive thought as incoherent. Ryle notably likened the idea of a reflexive thought to an arm that grasps itself. Recent work in philosophy, psychology, and the cognitive sciences has greatly clarified the special epistemic and semantic properties of reflexive thought. This article is (...) an attempt to give an explicit characterization of the structure of reflexive thoughts that explains those properties and avoids the complaints of its critics. (shrink)
The recent literature on epistemic virtues advances two general projects. The first is virtue epistemology, an attempt to explicate key epistemic notions in terms of epistemic virtue. The second is epistemic virtue theory, the conceptual and normative investigation of cognitive traits of character. While a great deal of work has been done in virtue epistemology, epistemic virtue theory still languishes in a state of neglect. Furthermore, the existing work is non-naturalistic. The present paper contributes to the development of a naturalistic (...) epistemic virtue theory by presenting a virtue-theoretic evaluation of need for cognition as informed by the relevant psychological studies. (shrink)
The standard philosophical and folk-psychological accounts of cognition and action credit us with too much spontaneity in our activities and projects. We are taken to be fundamentally active rather than reactive, to project our needs and aims and deploy our full supporting arsenal of cognitive instruments upon an essentially passive environment. The corrected point of view presented here balances this image of active agency with an appreciation of how we are also continually responding to the world, that is, to (...) the pragmatic situations that effectively select subsets of our cognitive resources to be at our disposal in generating responses. The result is a superseding of the standard Cognitive Integrationist picture by a model of a structurally divided mind, comprising a multiplicity of diverse and sometimes-conflicting standpoints, personas, and wills whose elicitation is a complex function of agent intentions and plans, the encountered environment, past experience, and temporal sequence. According to this model, the manifold stored representations constituting a person’s cognitive endowment do not form a single integrated network all equally ready for use. Cognition at any given moment is limited to drawing upon only a subset of one’s perspective, the perspect that is activated in accordance with the specific mental task or situation (the pragmatic context) that one perceives oneself to be facing. The system enlists the environmental context as trigger for practical and theoretical activity, based upon the agent’s prior experience. Though susceptible to certain kinds of error, and not inherently inclined toward innovative thinking, it enables the generally efficient use of our enormous cognitive endowments in conducting our lives in real time. (shrink)
If game theory is to be used as a negotiation support tool, it should be able to provide unambiguous recommendations for a target to aim at and for actions to reach this target. This need cannot be satisfied with the Nash equilibrium concept, based on the standard instrumental concept of rationality. These equilibria, as is well known, are generally multiple in a game. The concept of substantive or instrumental rationality has proved to be so pregnant, however, that researchers, instead of (...) re-evaluating its use in game theory, have simply tried to design concepts related to the Nash equilibrium, but with the property of being unique in a game — i.e., they have devised ways ofselecting among Nash equilibria. These concepts have been labeledrefined Nash equilibria.The purpose of this paper is to show the following.The different types of refined Nash equilibria, based on the principle of backward induction, can lead to severe contradictions within the framework itself. This makes these concepts utterly unsatisfactory and calls for a new appraisal of the reasoning process of the players.The degree of confidence in the principle of backward induction depends upon the evaluation of potential deviations with respect to the extended Nash equilibrium concept used and upon the possible interpretations of such deviations by the different players. Our goal is to show that the nature of these possible interpretations reinforces the argument that a serious conceptual reappraisal is necessary.Some form of forward induction should then become the real yardstick of rationality, extending Simonianprocedural rationality towards the concept ofcognitive rationality. This could open the way to a renewed game theoretic approach to negotiation support systems. Such a research program, which would be a revision of the basic game theoretic concepts, is dealt with in the end of the paper. (shrink)
This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extended cognition.
This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extended cognition.
I examine the role of mutual gaze in social cognition. I start by discussing recent studies of joint visual attention in order to show that social cognition is operative in infancy prior to the emergence of theoretical skills required to make judgments about other people's states of mind. Such social cognition depends on the communicative potential inherent in human bodies. I proceed to examine this embodied social cognition in the context of Merleau-Ponty's views on vision. I (...) expose some inner difficulties within Merleau-Ponty's position as well as to point out the ways of resolving them by means of combined insights from developmental psychology and the analyses of self-other relations from philosophies of dialogue. (shrink)
This paper discusses spatial cognition in the domain of minimally invasive surgery. It draws on studies from this domain to shed light on a range of spatial cognitive processes and to consider individual differences in performance. In relation to modeling, the aim is to identify potential opportunities for characterizing the complex interplay between perception, action, and cognition, and to consider how theoretical models of the relevant processes might prove valuable for addressing applied questions about surgical performance and training.
Embodied Cognition is the kind of view that is all trees, no forest. Mounting experimental evidence gives it momentum in fleshing out the theoretical problems inherent in Cognitivists’ separation of mind and body. But the more its proponents compile such evidence, the more the fundamental concepts of Embodied Cognition remain in the dark. This conundrum is nicely exemplified by Pecher and Zwaan’s (2005) book, Grounding Cognition, which is a programmatic attempt to rally together an array of empirical (...) results and linguistic data, and its successes in this endeavor nicely epitomize current directions among the various research provinces of Embodied Cognition. The untoward drawback, however, is that such successes are symptomatic of the growing imbalance between experimental progress and theoretical interrogation. In particular, one of the theoretical cornerstones of Embodied Cognition—namely, the very concept of grounding under investigation here—continues to go unilluminated. Hence, the advent of this volume indicates that—now more than ever—the concept of grounding is in dire need of some plain old-fashioned conceptual analysis. In that sense, Embodied Cognition is grounded until further notice. (shrink)
The human ability to represent, conceptualize, and reason about mind and behavior is one of the greatest achievements of human evolution and is made possible by a “folk theory of mind” — a sophisticated conceptual framework that relates different mental states to each other and connects them to behavior. This chapter examines the nature and elements of this framework and its central functions for social cognition. As a conceptual framework, the folk theory of mind operates prior to any particular (...) conscious or unconscious cognition and provides the “framing” or interpretation of that cognition. Central to this framing is the concept of intentionality, which distinguishes intentional action (caused by the agent’s intention and decision) from unintentional behavior (caused by internal or external events without the intervention of the agent’s decision). A second important distinction separates publicly observable from publicly unobservable (i.e., mental) events. Together, the two distinctions define the kinds of events in social interaction that people attend to, wonder about, and try to explain. A special focus of this chapter is the powerful tool of behavior explanation, which relies on the folk theory of mind but is also intimately tied to social demands and to the perceiver’s social goals. A full understanding of social cognition must consider the folk theory of mind as the conceptual underpinning of all (conscious and unconscious) perception and thinking about the social world. (shrink)
According to embodied cognition, the philosophical and empirical literature on theory of mind is misguided. Embodied cognition rejects the idea that social cognition requires theory of mind. It regards the intramural debate between the Theory Theory and the Simulation Theory as irrelevant, and it dismisses the empirical studies on theory of mind as ill conceived and misleading. Embodied cognition provides a novel deflationary account of social cognition that does not depend on theory of mind. In (...) this chapter, l describe embodied cognition’s alternative to theory of mind and discuss three challenges it faces. (shrink)
In a recent contribution to this journal, Andrew Fenton and Sheri Alpert have argued that the so-called “extended mind hypothesis” allows us to understand why Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) have the potential to change the self of patients suffering from Locked-in syndrome (LIS) by extending their minds beyond their bodies. I deny that this can shed any light on the theoretical, or philosophical, underpinnings of BCIs as a tool for enabling communication with, or bodily action by, patients with LIS: BCIs (...) are not a case of cognitive extension. I argue that Fenton and Alpert’s claim to the contrary is the result of a widespread confusion about some related, but significantly different, approaches to cognition that all fall under the heading of “situated cognition.” I first provide a short taxonomy of various situated approaches to cognition, highlighting (some of) their important commonalities and differences, which should dissolve some of the confusions surrounding them. Then I show why the extended mind hypothesis is unsuitable as a model of BCI enhancements of LIS patients’ capacity to interact with their surroundings, and I argue that the situated approach with obvious bearings on the sort of questions that were driving Fenton and Alpert is not the idea that cognition is extended , but the idea that cognition is enacted. (shrink)
Distributed cognition refers to processes which are (i) cognitive and (ii) distributed across multiple agents or devices rather than performed by a single agent. Distributed cognition has attracted interest in several fields ranging from sociology and law to computer science and the philosophy of science. In this paper, I discuss distributed cognition from a social-choice-theoretic perspective. Drawing on models of judgment aggregation, I address two questions. First, how can we model a group of individuals as a (...) distributed cognitive system? Second, can a group acting as a distributed cognitive system be ‘rational’ and ‘track the truth’ in the outputs it produces? I argue that a group’s performance as a distributed cognitive system depends on its ‘aggregation procedure’ – its mechanism for aggregating the group members’ inputs into collective outputs – and I investigate the properties of an aggregation procedure that matter. (shrink)
Some of the papers in this special issue distribute cognition between what is going on inside individual cognizers' heads and their outside worlds; others distribute cognition among different individual cognizers. Turing's criterion for cognition was individual, autonomous input/output capacity. It is not clear that distributed cognition could pass the Turing Test.
Metacognition is associated with planning, monitoring, evaluating and repairing performance Designers of elearning systems can improve the quality of their environments by explicitly structuring the visual and interactive display of learning contexts to facilitate metacognition. Typically page layout, navigational appearance, visual and interactivity design are not viewed as major factors in metacognition. This is because metacognition tends to be interpreted as a process in the head, rather than an interactive one. It is argued here, that cognition and metacognition are (...) part of a continuum and that both are highly interactive. The tenets of this view are explained by reviewing some of the core assumptions of the situated and distribute approach to cognition and then further elaborated by exploring the notions of active vision, visual complexity, affordance landscape and cue structure. The way visual cues are structured and the way interaction is designed can make an important difference in the ease and effectiveness of cognition and metacognition. Documents that make effective use of markers such as headings, callouts, italics can improve students' ability to comprehend documents and 'plan' the way they review and process content. Interaction can be designed to improve 'the proximal zone of planning' - the look ahead and apprehension of what is nearby in activity space that facilitates decisions. This final concept is elaborated in a discussion of how e-newspapers combine effective visual and interactive design to enhance user control over their reading experience. (shrink)
This monograph provides a new account of justified inference as a cognitive process. In contrast to the prevailing tradition in epistemology, the focus is on low-level inferences, i.e., those inferences that we are usually not consciously aware of and that we share with the cat nearby which infers that the bird which she sees picking grains from the dirt, is able to fly. Presumably, such inferences are not generated by explicit logical reasoning, but logical methods can be used to describe (...) and analyze such inferences. Part 1 gives a purely system-theoretic explication of belief and inference. Part 2 adds a reliabilist theory of justification for inference, with a qualitative notion of reliability being employed. Part 3 recalls and extends various systems of deductive and nonmonotonic logic and thereby explains the semantics of absolute and high reliability. In Part 4 it is proven that qualitative neural networks are able to draw justified deductive and nonmonotonic inferences on the basis of distributed representations. This is derived from a soundness/completeness theorem with regard to cognitive semantics of nonmonotonic reasoning. The appendix extends the theory both logically and ontologically, and relates it to A. Goldman's reliability account of justified belief. This text will be of interest to epistemologists and logicians, to all computer scientists who work on nonmonotonic reasoning and neural networks, and to cognitive scientists. (shrink)
According to cognitivist truth-theoretic accounts of semantic competence, aspects of our linguistic behavior can be explained by ascribing to speakers cognition of truth theories. It's generally assumed on this approach that, however much context sensitivity speakers' languages contain, the cognized truththeories themselves can be adequately characterized context insensitively—that is, without using in the metalanguage expressions whose semantic value can vary across occasions of utterance. In this paper, I explore some of the motivations for and problems and consequences of (...) dropping this assumption. (shrink)
Recent discussions of the nature of representation in science have tended to import pre-established decompositions from analyses of representation in the arts, language, cognition and so forth. Which of these analyses one favours will depend on how one conceives of theories in the first place. If one thinks of them in terms of an axiomatised set of logico-linguistic statements, then one might be naturally drawn to accounts of linguistic representation in which notions of denotation, for example, feature prominently. If, (...) on the other hand, one conceives of theories in non-linguistic terms, as in the model-theoretic approach, then one might look to analyses of representation in the arts where notions of resemblance tend to be brought to the fore. Thus van Fraassen, for example, has imported such an analysis into his discussion of representation in science and argued that an appropriate account of resemblance can be given in terms of the set-theoretic relation of isomorphism. This has been strongly criticised by Suarez, who argues that just as isomorphism cannot capture representation in art, so it is inappropriate in the scientific context as well. Similarly Hughes draws on Goodman`s rejection of resemblance in art in favour of denotation and, rather confusingly perhaps, favours the latter whilst also maintaining the model-theoretic view of theories. In this paper, I shall examine the debate in terms of four claims: 1. Isomorphism is not sufficient for representation; 2. Isomorphism is not necessary for representation; 3. Models represent but theories do not; 4. Models denote and do not resemble. Each of these claims will be questioned and I will conclude by suggesting that, through appropriate modifications, a form of isomorphism can serve to underpin representation in both the arts and science. (shrink)
In this paper I review some theoretical exchanges and empiricalresults from recent work on human behavior and cognition in thehope of indicating some productive avenues for critical engagement.I focus particular attention on methodological debates between Evolutionary Psychologists and behavioral ecologists. I argue for a broader and more encompassing approach to the evolutionarily based study of human behavior and cognition than either of these two rivals present.
Evaluative Semantics proposes a strongly postmodernist theory of cognition, ideology and discourse in which the structure and internal consistency of ideology resemble those of evaluative knowledge of the mind. The strength of this book is that it goes beyond purely theoretical claims to propose an original connectionist model of evaluative interpretation. Malrieu's new semantics makes a unique contribution to the literature of cognitive science, linguistics, and discourse analysis.
Embodied cognition has attracted significant attention within cognitive science and related fields in recent years. It is most noteworthy for its emphasis on the inextricable connection between mental functioning and embodied activity and thus for its departure from standard cognitive science's implicit commitment to the unembodied mind. This article offers a review of embodied cognition's recent empirical and theoretical contributions and suggests how this movement has moved beyond standard cognitive science. The article then clarifies important respects in which (...) embodied cognition has not departed fundamentally from the standard view. A shared commitment to representationalism, and ultimately, mechanism, suggest that the standard and embodied cognition movements are more closely related than is commonly acknowledged. Arguments against representationalism and mechanism are reviewed and an alternative position that does not entail these conceptual undergirdings is offered. (shrink)
Some researchers and autistic activists have recently suggested that because some ‘autism-related’ behavioural atypicalities have a function or purpose they may be desirable rather than undesirable. Examples of such behavioural atypicalities include hand-flapping, repeatedly ordering objects (e.g., toys) in rows, and profoundly restricted routines. A common view, as represented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV-TR (APA, 2000), is that many of these behaviours lack adaptive function or purpose, interfere with learning, and constitute the non-social behavioural (...) dysfunctions of those disorders making up the Autism Spectrum. As the DSM IV-TR continues to be the reference source of choice for professionals working with individuals with psychiatric difficulties, its characterization of the Autism Spectrum holds significant sway. We will suggest Extended Mind and Enactive Cognition Theories, which theorize that mind (or cognition) is embodied and environmentally embedded, as coherent conceptual and theoretical spaces within which to investigate the possibility that certain repetitive behaviours exhibited by autistics possess functions or purposes that make them desirable. As lenses through which to re-examine ‘autism-related’ behavioral atypicalities, these theories not only open up explanatory possibilities underdeveloped in the research literature, but also cohere with how some autistics describe their own experience. Our position navigates a middle way between the view of autism as understood in terms of impairment, deficit and dysfunction and one that seeks to de-pathologize the Spectrum. In so doing we seek to contribute to a continuing dialogue between researchers, clinicians and self- or parent advocates. (shrink)
A growing body of work in certain areas of cognitive science and related social sciences promises to resuscitate the “emergentist” idea that a group as a whole can have cognitive properties over and above those had by its members. For the naturalistically inclined philosopher of mind, there are good reasons to take close note of this development. First, if group processes can sometimes be profitably analyzed in terms of information-processing capacities such as memory or problem-solving typical of individual cognition, (...) this might constitute new evidence for the multiple realizability of at least certain cognitive kinds. Second, thinking about group cognition provides a fertile test-bed for thinking about the compatibility of different levels of cognitive explanation. In this paper, I draw on two relevantly related theoretical perspectives to defend the intelligibility of group cognition against several recent objections: first, the treatment of multi-level selection in evolutionary biology; and second, the treatment of multi-level mechanistic explanations in contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
This special issue targets two topics in social cognition that appear to increasingly structure the nature of interdisciplinary discourse but are themselves not very well understood. These are the notions of empathy and embodiment. Both have a history rooted in phenomenological philosophy and both have found extensive application in contemporary interdisciplinary theories of social cognition, at times to establish claims that are arguably contrary to the ones made by the phenomenologists credited with giving us these notions. But this (...) special issue is not about defending any philosophical tradition or theoretical stance against all others. It is about understanding some central aspects of the nature of our experience of other people. (shrink)
Evolving theories of schizophrenia emphasize a ‘disconnection’ in distributed fronto-striatal-limbic neural systems, which may give rise to breakdowns in cognition and emotional function. We discuss these diverse domains of function from the perspective of disrupted neural circuits involved in ‘cold’ cognitive vs. ‘hot’ affective operations and the interplay between these processes. We focus on three research areas that highlight cognition-emotion dysinteractions in schizophrenia: First, we discuss the role of cognitive deficits in the ‘maintenance’ of emotional information. We review (...) recent evidence suggesting that motivational abnormalities in schizophrenia may in part arise due to a disrupted ability to ‘maintain’ affective information over time. Here, dysfunction in a prototypical ‘cold’ cognitive operation may result in ‘affective’ deficits in schizophrenia. Second, we discuss abnormalities in the detection and ascription of salience, manifest as excessive processing of non-emotional stimuli and inappropriate distractibility. We review emerging evidence suggesting deficits in some, but not other, specific emotional processes in schizophrenia – namely an intact ability to perceive emotion ‘in the moment’ but poor prospective valuation of stimuli and heightened reactivity to stimuli that ought to be filtered. Third, we discuss abnormalities in learning mechanisms that may give rise to delusions, the fixed, false and often emotionally charged beliefs that accompany psychosis. We discuss the role of affect in aberrant belief formation, mostly ignored by current theoretical models. Together, we attempt to provide a consilient overview for how breakdowns in neural systems underlying affect and cognition in psychosis interact across symptom domains. We conclude with a brief treatment of the neurobiology of schizophrenia and the need to close our explanatory gap between cellular-level hypotheses and complex behavioral symptoms observed in schizophrenia. (shrink)
Spatial-numerical associations (SNAs) are prevalent yet their origin is poorly understood. We first consider the possible prime role of reading habits in shaping SNAs and list three observations that argue against a prominent influence of this role: (1) directional reading habits for numbers may conflict with those for non-numerical symbols, (2) short-term experimental manipulations can overrule the impact of decades of reading experience, (3) SNAs predate the acquisition of reading. As a promising alternative, we discuss behavioral, neuroscientific and neuropsychological evidence (...) in support of finger counting as the most likely initial determinant of SNAs. Theoretical implications of this “manumerical cognition” stance for the distinction between grounded, embodied, and situated cognition are discussed. (shrink)
Despite decades of research, some of the most basic issues concerning the extraordinarily complex brains and behaviour of birds and mammals, such as the factors responsible for the diversity of brain size and composition, are still unclear. This is partly due to a number of conceptual and methodological issues. Determining species and group differences in brain composition requires accounting for the presence of taxon-cerebrotypes and the use of precise statistical methods. The role of allometry in determining brain variables should be (...) revised. In particular, bird and mammalian brains appear to have evolved in response to a variety of selective pressures influencing both brain size and composition. “Brain” and “cognition” are indeed meta-variables, made up of the variables that are ecologically relevant and evolutionarily selected. External indicators of species differences in cognition and behaviour are limited by the complexity of these differences. Indeed, behavioural differences between species and individuals are caused by cognitive and affective components. Although intra- species variability forms the basis of species evolution, some of the mechanisms underlying individual differences in brain and behaviour appear to differ from those between species. While many issues have persisted over the years because of a lack of appropriate data or methods to test them; several fallacies, particularly those related to the human brain, reflect scientists’ preconceptions. The theoretical framework on the evolution of brain, cognition and behaviour in birds and mammals should be reconsidered with these biases in mind. (shrink)
Marr and Poggio's levels of description are one of the most well-known theoretical constructs of 20th century cognitive science. It entails that behavior can and should be considered at three different levels: computation, algorithm, and implementation. In this contribution focus is on the top level in Marr and Poggio's scheme: the computational level of description, the level that describes the 'why' of cognition. I argue that the computational level should be taken as a starting point in devising experiments in (...) cognitive science. Instead, the starting point in empirical practice often is a focus on the stimulus or on some capacity of the cognitive system. The 'why' of cognition tends to be ignored when designing research, and is not considered in subsequent inference from experimental results. The overall aim of this manuscript is to show how re-appreciation of the computational level of description as a starting point for experiments can lead to more informative experimentation. (shrink)
Embodied cognition is sweeping the planet. On a non-embodied approach, the sensory system informs the cognitive system and the motor system does the cognitive system’s bidding. There are causal relations between the systems but the sensory and motor systems are not constitutive of cognition. For embodied views, the relation to the sensori-motor system to cognition is constitutive, not just causal. This paper examines some recent empirical evidence used to support the view that cognition is embodied and (...) raises questions about some of the claims being made by supporters. (shrink)
This paper introduces a new, expanded range of relevant cognitive psychological research on collaborative recall and social memory to the philosophical debate on extended and distributed cognition. We start by examining the case for extended cognition based on the complementarity of inner and outer resources, by which neural, bodily, social, and environmental resources with disparate but complementary properties are integrated into hybrid cognitive systems, transforming or augmenting the nature of remembering or decision-making. Adams and Aizawa, noting this distinctive (...) complementarity argument, say that they agree with it completely: but they describe it as “a non-revolutionary approach” which leaves “the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems.” In response, we carve out, on distinct conceptual and empirical grounds, a rich middle ground between internalist forms of cognitivism and radical anti-cognitivism. Drawing both on extended cognition literature and on Sterelny’s account of the “scaffolded mind” (this issue), we develop a multidimensional framework for understanding varying relations between agents and external resources, both technological and social. On this basis we argue that, independent of any more “revolutionary” metaphysical claims about the partial constitution of cognitive processes by external resources, a thesis of scaffolded or distributed cognition can substantially influence or transform explanatory practice in cognitive science. Critics also cite various empirical results as evidence against the idea that remembering can extend beyond skull and skin. We respond with a more principled, representative survey of the scientific psychology of memory, focussing in particular on robust recent empirical traditions for the study of collaborative recall and transactive social memory. We describe our own empirical research on socially distributed remembering, aimed at identifying conditions for mnemonic emergence in collaborative groups. Philosophical debates about extended, embedded, and distributed cognition can thus make richer, mutually beneficial contact with independently motivated research programs in the cognitive psychology of memory. (shrink)
Although the enactive approach has been very successful in explaining many basic social interactions in terms of embodied practices, there is still much work to be done when it comes to higher forms of social cognition. In this article, we discuss and evaluate two recent proposals by Shaun Gallagher and Daniel Hutto that try to bridge this ‘cognitive gap’ by appealing to the notion of narrative practice. Although we are enthusiastic about these proposals, we argue that (i) it is (...) difficult to see them as continuous with the enactivist notion of direct coupling, and (ii) the failure to account for folk psychological action interpretation suggests that the enactive approach should adopt a broader notion of coupling. (shrink)
To know is to cognize, to cognize is to be a culturally bounded, rationality-bounded and environmentally located agent. Knowledge and cognition are thus dual aspects of human sociality. If social epistemology has the formation, acquisition, mediation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge in complex communities of knowers as its subject matter, then its third party character is essentially stigmergic. In its most generic formulation, stigmergy is the phenomenon of indirect communication mediated by modifications of the environment. Extending this notion one (...) might conceive of social stigmergy as the extra-cranial analog of an artifcial neural network providing epistemic structure. This paper recommends a stigmergic framework for social epistemology to account for the supposed tension between individual action, wants and beliefs and the social corpora. We also propose that the so-called "extended mind" thesis offers the requisite stigmergic cognitive analog to stigmergic knowledge. Stigmergy as a theory of interaction within complex systems theory is illustrated through an example that runs on a particle swarm optimization algorithm. (shrink)
A central finding in experimental research identified with Embodied Cognition (EC) is that understanding actions involves their embodied simulation, i.e. executing some processes involved in performing these actions. Extending these findings, I argue that reenactment – the overt embodied simulation of actions and practices, including especially communicative actions and practices, within utterances – makes it possible to forge an integrated EC-based account of linguistic meaning. In particular, I argue: (a) that remote entities can be referred to by reenacting actions (...) performed with them; (b) that the use of grammatical constructions can be conceived of as the reenactment of linguistic action routines; (c) that complex enunciational structures (reported speech, irony, etc.) involve a separate level of reenactment, on which characters are presented as interacting with one another within the utterance; (d) that the segmentation of long utterances into shorter units involves the reenactment of brief audience interventions between units; and (e) that the overall meaning of an utterance can be stated in reenactment terms. The notion of reenactment provides a conceptual framework for accounting for aspects of language that are usually thought to be outside the reach of EC in an EC framework, thus supporting a view of meaning and linguistic content as thoroughly grounded in action and interaction. (shrink)
One of the central insights of the embodied cognition (EC) movement is that cognition is closely tied to action. In this paper, I formulate an EC-inspired hypothesis concerning social cognition. In this domain, most think that our capacity to understand and interact with one another is best explained by appeal to some form of mindreading. I argue that prominent accounts of mindreading likely contain a significant lacuna. Evidence indicates that what I call an agent’s actional processes and (...) states—her goals, needs, intentions, desires, and so on—likely play important roles in and for mindreading processes. If so, a full understanding of mindreading processes and their role in cognition more broadly will require an understanding of how actional mental processes interact with, influence, or take part in mindreading processes. (shrink)
Thirty years ago, grounded cognition had roots in philosophy, perception, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuropsychology. During the next 20 years, grounded cognition continued developing in these areas, and it also took new forms in robotics, cognitive ecology, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychology. In the past 10 years, research on grounded cognition has grown rapidly, especially in cognitive neuroscience, social neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. Currently, grounded cognition appears to be achieving (...) increased acceptance throughout cognitive science, shifting from relatively minor status to increasing importance. Nevertheless, researchers wonder whether grounded mechanisms lie at the heart of the cognitive system or are peripheral to classic symbolic mechanisms. Although grounded cognition is currently dominated by demonstration experiments in the absence of well-developed theories, the area is likely to become increasingly theory driven over the next 30 years. Another likely development is the increased incorporation of grounding mechanisms into cognitive architectures and into accounts of classic cognitive phenomena. As this incorporation occurs, much functionality of these architectures and phenomena is likely to remain, along with many original mechanisms. Future theories of grounded cognition are likely to be heavily influenced by both cognitive neuroscience and social neuroscience, and also by developmental science and robotics. Aspects from the three major perspectives in cognitive science—classic symbolic architectures, statistical/dynamical systems, and grounded cognition—will probably be integrated increasingly in future theories, each capturing indispensable aspects of intelligence. (shrink)
0. Platitudinously, cognitive science is the science of cognition. Cognition is usually defined as something like the process of acquiring, retaining and applying knowledge. To a first approximation, therefore, cognitive science is the science of knowing. Knowing is a relation between the knower and the known. Typically, although not always, what is known involves the environment external to the knower. Thus knowing typically involves a relation between the agent and the external environment. It is not internal to the (...) agent, for the internal may be the same whether or not it is related to the external in a way that constitutes knowing. Cognition enables agents to achieve their goals by adjusting their actions appropriately to the environment. Such adjustment requires what is internal to the agent to be in some sense in line with what is external; that matching depends on both internal and external sides. Thus if cognitive science were restricted to what is internal to the agent, it would lose sight of its primary object of study. Although cognition depends on both the internal and the external, one can try to analyse it into internal and external factors. Call a state S narrow if and only if whether an agent is in S at a time t depends only on the total internal qualitative state of S at t, so that if one agent in one possible situation is internally an exact duplicate of another agent.. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has presented several arguments that seek to cast doubt on the idea that cognition can be factorized into internal and external components. In the first section of this paper, I attempt to evaluate these arguments. My conclusion will be that these arguments establish several highly important points, but in the end these arguments fail to cast any doubt either on the idea that cognitive science should be largely concerned with internal mental processes, or on the idea that (...)cognition can be analysed in terms of the existence of a suitable connection between internal and external components. I shall present an argument for the conclusion that cognition involves certain causal processes that are entirely internal. (shrink)
Abstract In this article, we investigate the merits of an enactive view of cognition for the contemporary debate about social cognition. If enactivism is to be a genuine alternative to classic cognitivism, it should be able to bridge the “cognitive gap”, i.e. provide us with a convincing account of those higher forms of cognition that have traditionally been the focus of its cognitivist opponents. We show that, when it comes to social cognition, current articulations of enactivism (...) are—despite their celebrated successes in explaining some cases of social interaction—not yet up to the task. This is because they (1) do not pay sufficient attention to the role of offline processing or “decoupling”, and (2) obscure the cognitive gap by overemphasizing the role of phenomenology. We argue that the main challenge for the enactive view will be to acknowledge the importance of both coupled (online) and decoupled (offline) processes for basic and advanced forms of (social) cognition. To meet this challenge, we articulate a dynamic embodied view of cognition. We illustrate the fruitfulness of this approach by recourse to recent findings on false belief understanding. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9223-1 Authors Leon C. de Bruin, Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Lena Kästner, Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759. (shrink)
The Hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC)—that many cognitive processes are carried out by a hybrid coalition of neural, bodily and environmental factors—entails that the intentional states that are reasons for action might best be ascribed to wider entities of which individual persons are only parts. I look at different kinds of extended cognition and agency, exploring their consequences for concerns about the moral agency and personal responsibility of such extended entities. Can extended entities be moral agents and bear (...) responsibility for actions, in addition to or in place of the individuals typically held responsible? What does it mean to be autonomous when one’s cognition is influenced and supported by a milieu of environmental factors? To answer these questions, I explore strong parallels between HEC’s critique of individualism in cognition, and feminist critiques of individualist accounts of self, agency, and autonomy. This relational and social conception of autonomous agency, as scaffolded and supported (or undermined and impaired) by a milieu of social, relational, and normative factors, has important lessons for HEC. Drawing together these two visions of distributed and decentralized aspects of personhood highlights how cognition, action, and responsibility are inextricably linked. It also encourages a reconceptualization of all cognition and all concerns about responsibility for actions, not simply as sometimes extended around individuals, but as fundamentally communal, social, and normative, with individual cognition and individual moral responsibility being derivative special cases, not the paradigm examples. Individuals are merely one of many possible loci of cognition, action, and responsibility. (shrink)
Researchers in the enactivist tradition have recently argued that social interaction can constitute social cognition, rather than simply serve as the context for social cognition. They contend that a focus on social interaction corrects the overemphasis on mechanisms inside the individual in the explanation of social cognition. I critically assess enactivism’s claims about the explanatory role of social interaction in social cognition. After sketching the enactivist approach to cognition in general and social cognition in (...) particular, I identify problems with an enactivist taxonomy of roles for social interaction in the explanation of social cognition (contextual, enabling, and constitutive). In particular, I show that this enactivist taxonomy does not clearly distinguish between enabling conditions and constitutive elements, which would make them in danger of committing the coupling-constitution fallacy found in some attempts to extend cognition. I explore resources enactivism has to more clearly demarcate constitutive parts of a cognitive system, but identify problems in applying them to some of the main cases of social cognition enactivists characterize as being constituted by social interaction. I offer the mechanistic approach to explanation as an alternative that captures much of what enactivists want to say about the relations between social and individual levels, but views social interactions from the perspective of embedded cognition rather than as being constitutive of social cognition. (shrink)
Embodied social cognition (ESC) aims to explicate how our embodiment shapes our knowledge of others, and in what this knowledge of others consists. Although there is much diversity amongst ESC accounts, common to all these accounts is the idea that our normal everyday interactions consist in non-mentalistic embodied engagements. In recent years, several theorists have developed and defended innovative and controversial accounts of ESC. These accounts challenge, and offer deflationary alternatives to, the standard cognitivist accounts of social cognition. (...) As ESC accounts grow in number and prominence, the time has come for a dedicated, sustained debate on ESC and its most controversial and innovative elements. The goal of this special issue is to host such a debate with the aim of bringing clarity to the discussion of social cognition. (shrink)
We define a mathematical formalism based on the concept of an ‘‘open dynamical system” and show how it can be used to model embodied cognition. This formalism extends classical dynamical systems theory by distinguishing a ‘‘total system’’ (which models an agent in an environment) and an ‘‘agent system’’ (which models an agent by itself), and it includes tools for analyzing the collections of overlapping paths that occur in an embedded agent's state space. To illustrate the way this formalism can (...) be applied, several neural network models are embedded in a simple model environment. Such phenomena as masking, perceptual ambiguity, and priming are then observed. We also use this formalism to reinterpret examples from the embodiment literature, arguing that it provides for a more thorough analysis of the relevant phenomena. (shrink)