Vigorous debate over the moral propriety of cognitive enhancement exists, but the views of the public have been largely absent from the discussion. To address this gap in our knowledge, four experiments were carried out with contrastive vignettes in order to obtain quantitative data on public attitudes towards cognitive enhancement. The data collected suggest that the public is sensitive to and capable of understanding the four cardinal concerns identified by neuroethicists, and tend to cautiously accept cognitive (...) enhancement even as they recognize its potential perils. The public is biopolitically moderate, endorses both meritocratic principles and the intrinsic value of hard work, and appears to be sensitive to the salient moral issues raised in the debate. Taken together, these data suggest that public attitudes toward enhancement are sufficiently sophisticated to merit inclusion in policy deliberations, especially if we seek to align public sentiment and policy. (shrink)
We argue that the analysis of cognitiveattitudes should play a central role in developing more sophisticated accounts of the proper roles for values in science. First, we show that the major recent efforts to delineate appropriate roles for values in science would be strengthened by making clearer distinctions among cognitiveattitudes. Next, we turn to a specific example and argue that a more careful account of the distinction between the attitudes of belief and acceptance (...) can contribute to a better understanding of the proper roles for values in a case study from paleoanthropology. (shrink)
Many philosophers think, or used to think, that normative judgements are non-cognitiveattitudes. Some of these philosophers now think that normative judgements are beliefs of which we can give a minimalist account, and others think that normative judgements are beliefs that do not purport to represent the world. In this paper, I argue that these philosophers’ views all face the same objection, and that this objection shows that their views are false. I conclude that normative judgements are beliefs (...) of which we cannot give a minimalist account and that purport to represent the world. (shrink)
Discrete choice experiments—selecting the best and/or worst from a set of options—are increasingly used to provide more efficient and valid measurement of attitudes or preferences than conventional methods such as Likert scales. Discrete choice data have traditionally been analyzed with random utility models that have good measurement properties but provide limited insight into cognitive processes. We extend a well-established cognitive model, which has successfully explained both choices and response times for simple decision tasks, to complex, multi-attribute discrete (...) choice data. The fits, and parameters, of the extended model for two sets of choice data (involving patient preferences for dermatology appointments, and consumer attitudes toward mobile phones) agree with those of standard choice models. The extended model also accounts for choice and response time data in a perceptual judgment task designed in a manner analogous to best–worst discrete choice experiments. We conclude that several research fields might benefit from discrete choice experiments, and that the particular accumulator-based models of decision making used in response time research can also provide process-level instantiations for random utility models. (shrink)
Forty-four high school students took part in focus-type group that used an induced hypocrisy paradigm developed from cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) to reduce cheating behavior. Posttesting following the intervention showed that, contrary to expectations, these students' attitudes toward cheating and self-reported cheating behaviors did not decrease relative to those of 65 control participants who did not participate in the group intervention. All participants reported a greater intention to cheat in the future at posttest as well as an (...) increase in cheating behavior. Although participants did not view cheating favorably, a large majority admitted cheating and indicated that they had never been caught. (shrink)
Research has shown that men and women are similar in their capabilities and management competence; however, there appears to be a glass ceiling which poses invisible barriers to their promotion to management positions. One explanation for the existence of these barriers lies in stereotyped, biased attitudes toward women in executive positions. This study supports earlier findings that attitudes of men toward women in executive positions are generally negative, while the attitudes of women are generally positive. Additionally, we (...) found that an individual's level of cognitive moral development correlates significantly with attitudes toward women executives. Limitations of the present study and implications for ethics and diversity training in organizations are discussed. (shrink)
This research examines how the fit between employees moral development and the ethical work climate of their organization affects employee attitudes. Person-organization fit was assessed by matching individuals' level of cognitive moral development with the ethical climate of their organization. The influence of P-O fit on employee attitudes was assessed using a sample of 304 individuals from 73 organizations. In general, the findings support our predictions that fit between personal and organizational ethics is related to higher levels (...) of commitment and job satisfaction and lower levels of turnover intent. Ethical P-O fit was related to higher levels of affective commitment across all three ethical climate types. Job satisfaction was only associated with ethical P-O fit for one of the three P-O fit variables and turnover intentions were significantly associated with two of the ethical P-O fit variables. The most consistent effect was found for the Conventional - Caring fit variable, which was significantly related to all three attitudes assessed. The weakest effect was found for the Preconventional - Instrumental fit variable, which was only predictive of affective commitment. The pattern of findings and implications for practice and future research are discussed. (shrink)
There is currently little empirical information about attitudes towards cognitive enhancement - the use of pharmaceutical drugs to enhance normal brain functioning. It is claimed this behaviour most commonly occurs in students to aid studying. We undertook a qualitative assessment of attitudes towards cognitive enhancement by conducting 19 semi-structured interviews with Australian university students. Most students considered cognitive enhancement to be unacceptable, in part because they believed it to be unethical but there was a lack (...) of consensus on whether it was similar or different to steroid use in sport. There was support for awareness campaigns and monitoring of cognitive enhancement use of pharmaceutical drugs. An understanding of student attitudes towards cognitive enhancement is important in formulating future policy. (shrink)
This study examines the direct impact of three dimensions of the institutional environment on managerial attitudes toward the natural environment and the direct influence of the latter on the environmental sustainability orientation (ESO) of small firms. We contend that when the institutional environment is perceived by owner–managers as supportive of sound natural environment management practices, they are more likely to develop a positive attitude toward natural environment issues and concerns. Such owner–manager attitudes are likely to lead to a (...) positive and proactive orientation of their firms toward environmental sustainability. The study uses survey data from 166 small manufacturing firms located in three Philippine cities. First, the study develops and tests the measurement models to examine the validity of the constructs representing the firm’s institutional environment, managerial attitudes toward the natural environment and the ESO of firms. Second, the study develops and tests the structural models examining the institutional environment–managerial attitudes–ESO linkages. Multi-sample invariance structural model analysis shows the mediating role of managerial attitudes in the institutional environment–ESO nexus. The findings show that ESO is a construct comprising three dimensions: knowledge of environmental issues, sustainable practices and commitment toward environmental sustainability. The cognitive, regulatory and normative elements of the institutional environment are strongly linked to positive managerial attitudes toward environmental sustainability, which in turn, positively influences the firm’s overall ESO. Managerial attitudes play a mediating role in the institutional environment–ESO linkages. The managerial, practical, research and policy implications of the research findings are discussed. (shrink)
Recent research has demonstrated broad benefits of video game play to perceptual and cognitive abilities. These broad improvements suggest that video game-based cognitive interventions may be ideal to combat the many perceptual and cognitive declines associated with advancing age. Furthermore, game interventions have the potential to induce higher rates of intervention compliance compared to other cognitive interventions as they are assumed to be inherently enjoyable and motivating. We explored these issues in an intervention that tested the (...) ability of an action game and a “brain fitness” game to improve a variety of abilities. Cognitive abilities did not significantly improve, suggesting caution when recommending video game interventions as a means to reduce the effects of cognitive aging. However, the game expected to produce the largest benefit based on previous literature (an action game) induced the lowest intervention compliance. We explain this low compliance by participants’ ratings of the action game as less enjoyable and by their prediction that training would have few meaningful benefits. Despite null cognitive results, data provide valuable insights into the types of video games older adults are willing to play and why. (shrink)
This book argues that words and thoughts are typically about whatever they are about necessarily rather than contingently. The argument proceeds by articulating a requisite modal background and then bringing this background to bear on cognitive matters, notably the intentionality of cognitive episodes and states. The modal picture that emerges from the first two chapters is a strongly particularist one whereby possibilities reduce to possibilities for particular things (or pluralities thereof) where the latter are determined by the natures (...) of the particular things (or pluralities) involved. The next three chapters are devoted to the aboutness of referring terms in language and thought. The approach espoused is, again, strongly particularist in allotting explanatory priority to cognitive episodes and states regarding particular things (aka de re attitudes). (shrink)
An account of the contents of the propositional attitudes is fundamental to the success of the cognitive sciences if, as seems correct, the cognitive sciences do presuppose propositional attitudes. Fodor has recently pointed the way towards a naturalistic explication of mental content in his Psychosemantics (1987). Fodor's theory is a version of the causal theory of meaning and thus inherits many of its virtues, including its intrinsic plausibility. Nevertheless, the proposal may suffer from two deficiencies: (1) (...) It seems not to provide an adequate explanation of misrepresentation. (2) It may also fail, as a species of empiricism, to provide a correct explication of the content of observational concepts and those non-observational concepts whose meaning is to be traced to their causal connections with observational concepts. (shrink)
This article concerns itself with the relationship between implicit moral cognitions and decisions in the realm of business ethics. Traditionally, business ethics research emphasized the effects of overt or explicit attitudes on ethical decision-making and neglected intuitive or implicit attitudes. Therefore, based on an implicit social cognition approach it is important to know whether implicit moral attitudes may have a substantial impact on managerial ethical decision-making processes. To test this thesis, a study with 50 participants was conducted. (...) In this study the participants were asked to work on a deliberative managerial ethical decision-making task, in which they had to decide on one of two options. Implicit moral attitudes towards the two options were measured using the implicit association test (IAT). A semantic differential scale was used to diagnose explicit moral attitudes towards the two options. Each step taken within the deliberative decision-making process, as well the decision itself, was assessed using a scoring model-based decision analysis and a decision-making questionnaire. The results of this study show that implicit moral attitude has a great influence on the deliberative ethical decision-making process. The derived conclusion is that complex and deliberative decision-making processes in the context of business ethics can be affected by implicit social cognitions such as implicit moral attitudes. (shrink)
The type of cognitive theory of emotion traditionally espoused by philosophers of mind makes two central claims. First, that the occurrence of propositional attitudes is essential to the occurrence of emotions. Second, that the identity of a particular emotional state depends upon the propositional attitudes that it involves. In this paper I try to show that there is little hope of developing a theory of emotion which makes these claims true. I examine the underlying defects of the (...) programme, and show that several recent variants fail to repair these defects. Furthermore, even if such a theory could be developed, it would not achieve many of the things that we look to a theory of emotion for. I argue that philosophers should turn their attention to new and more promising approaches. These have been developed by various of the special sciences, while philosophy has remained enthralled by traditional, propositional attitude psychology. (shrink)
Argumentation involves offering and/or exchanging reasons – either reasons for adopting various attitudes towards specific propositional contents or else reasons for acting in various ways. This paper develops the idea that the force of reasons is through and through a normative force because what good reasons accomplish is precisely to give one a certain sort of entitlement to do what they are reasons for. The paper attempts to shed light on what it is to have a reason, how the (...) sort of entitlement arising from reasons differs from other species of entitlement and how the norms by which such entitlement is assessed obtain their status as norms. (shrink)
The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between understandings of association as a theory of learning, a theory of cognitive structure, a theory of mental processes, and as an implementation base for cognition. I then argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure (...) and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning or extinction but should not be modulated by rational argumentation. This hypothesis is false; implicit biases are not, at heart, predicated on any associative structures or associative processes but instead arise because of unconscious propositionally structured beliefs. I conclude by discussing how the case study of implicit bias illuminates problems with popular dual process models of cognitive architecture. (shrink)
Frege’s ‘differential dubitability’ test is a test for differences in cognitive value: if one can rationally believe that p while simultaneously doubting that q, then the contents p and q amount to different ‘cognitive values’. If subject S is rational, does her simultaneous adoption of different attitudes towards p and q require that the difference between p and q (as cognitive values) be transparent to her? It is natural to think so. But I argue that, if (...) attitude anti-individualism is true, then rational differential dubitability does not presuppose that differences in cognitive value are transparent. The significance of this argument lies in what it tells us, both about the notion of cognitive value and its relation to the differential dubitability test, but also about the prospects for a Burge-type position which aims to combine attitude anti-individualism with a (qualified) reliance on the differential dubitability test. (shrink)
Abstract Cognitive Science, it is argued, comprises two distinct projects. One is an Engineering project whose goal is understanding the in?the?head computational activities which ground intelligent behaviour. The other is a Descriptive project whose goal is the mapping of relations between thoughts as ascribed using the (sentential) apparatus of the propositional attitudes. Some theorists (e.g. Fodor, 1987) insist that the two projects are (in a sense to be explained) deeply related. This view is contested, and the consequences of (...) its abandonment examined. Such consequences are seen to include (i) the irrelevance of scientific arguments for Eliminative Materialism, (ii) a view concerning the proper roles of classical and connectionist work in Artificial Intelligence and (iii) the failure of an allegedly damning argument against connectionism (the so?called systematicity argument). (shrink)
The collection addresses a range of topics in philosophical semantics and philosophy of mind, and is accompanied by a new Introduction which discusses attitudes realized by dispositions and other non-linguistic cognitive structures.
A controlled experiment was conducted with a cohort of graduate accounting students, which involved a mild form of deception during a class ethics quiz. One of the answers to a difficult question was inadvertently revealed by a visiting scholar, which allowed students an opportunity to use the answer in order to maximise test scores and qualify for a reward. Despite an attempt to sensitize students prior to the test to the importance of moral codes of conduct, a high incidence of (...) cheating was reported. Students who took the opportunity to cheat were more condoning of the behaviour compared to control group members and this difference in attitudes was consistent regardless of the intensity of the issue specified in the survey. The cognitive dissonance associated with the academic dishonesty is believed to reveal behavioural orientations that reflect conscious and unconscious desires to alleviate the discomfort associated with the behaviour by attempting to condone it. This inappropriate behaviour appears to attract students professing no religious faith and is significantly influenced by the reported level of religious commitment. (shrink)
This study examines cross-national differences in relation to software piracy between a Zambian and a South Africa student sample on components of Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory. The sample was selected based on the vastly different software piracy rates between Zambia (82%) and South Africa (35%) and the fact that software piracy rates are higher amongst student groups. The questionnaire was composed of previously developed scales measuring attitudes, social norms, intentions, incentives, deterrents, self-efficacy, and moral disengagement within the context (...) of software piracy. The sample was gathered from one University in Zambia (N = 69) and one in South Africa (N = 71) in the students' final and penultimate years of study. Statistical differences were found between the two samples on the attitudes and social norms scales, with the South African sample having more positive attitudes and more favourable social norms towards software piracy than the Zambian sample. In terms of the theoretical model, attitudes, social norms and self-efficacy predicted software piracy intentions in both samples. (shrink)
Moral non-cognitivists hope to explain the nature of moral agreement and disagreement as agreement and disagreement in non-cognitiveattitudes. In doing so, they take on the task of identifying the relevant attitudes, distinguishing the non-cognitiveattitudes corresponding to judgments of moral wrongness, for example from attitudes involved in aesthetic disapproval or the sports fan’s disapproval of her team’s performance. We begin this paper by showing that there is a simple recipe for generating apparent counterexamples (...) to any informative specification of the moral attitudes. This may appear to be a lethal objection to non-cognitivism, but a similar recipe challenges attempts by non-cognitivism’s competitors to specify the conditions underwriting the contrast between genuine and merely apparent moral disagreement. Because of its generality, this specification problem requires a systematic response, which, we argue, is most easily available for the non-cognitivist. Building on premisses congenial to the non-cognitivist tradition, we make the following claims: (1) In paradigmatic cases, wrongness-judgements constitute a certain complex but functionally unified state, and paradigmatic wrongness-judgments form a functional kind, preserved by homeostatic mechanisms. (2) Because of the practical function of such judgements, we should expect judges’ intuitive understanding of agreement and disagreement to be accommodating, treating states departing from the paradigm in various ways as wrongness-judgements. (3) This explains the intuitive judgements required by the counterexample-generating recipe, and more generally why various kinds of amoralists are seen as making genuine wrongness-judgements. (shrink)
Cognitive systems research has predominantly been guided by the historical distinction between emotion and cognition, and has focused its efforts on modelling the “cognitive” aspects of behaviour. While this initially meant modelling only the control system of cognitive creatures, with the advent of “embodied” cognitive science this expanded to also modelling the interactions between the control system and the external environment. What did not seem to change with this embodiment revolution, however, was the attitude towards affect (...) and emotion in cognitive science. This paper argues that cognitive systems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitive systems into cognitive science proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitive science”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitive systems. (shrink)
John McDowell claims that the propositional attitudes, and our conceptual abilities in general, are not appropriate topics for inquiry of the sort that is done in natural science. He characterizes the natural sciences as making phenomena intelligible in terms of their place in the realm of laws of nature. He claims that this way of making phenomena intelligible contrasts crucially with essential features of our understanding of propositional attitudes and conceptual abilities. In this article I show that scientific (...) work of the sort McDowell claims cannot be done is in fact being done, and that this work presents strong evidence that there are psychological laws. The research I discuss is that by the psychologist Norman H. Anderson and his colleagues. I also argue that the considerations McDowell presents in defense of his claims do not constitute a significant challenge to the research that Anderson and his colleagues have done. It will be noted in the article that Anderson's work is relevant not just to McDowell's writings, but also to several much discussed issues in philosophy of cognitive science: the above two issues of whether there can be a science of ordinary psychological phenomena, higher cognition, comparable to that of the natural sciences and whether such a science would present laws, and also the issue of whether in such a science, and its laws, notions of folk psychology would play crucial constitutive roles. Anderson's work presents strong grounds for affirmative answers to all of these questions. (shrink)
There is much good work for philosophers to do in cognitive science if they adopt the constructive attitude that prevails in science, work toward testable hypotheses, and take on the task of clarifying the relationship between the scientiﬁc concepts and the everyday concepts with which we conduct our moral lives.
In "Freedom and Resentment," P. F. Strawson argues that the "profound opposition" between the objective and reactive stances is quite compatible with our rationally retaining the latter as important elements in a recognizably human life. Unless he can establish this, he has no hope of establishing his version of compatibilism in the free will debate. But, because objectivity is associated so intimately with the rationally conducted explanation of action, it is not clear how the opposition of these stances is compatible (...) with the rationality of the reactive attitudes. More to the point, it is not clear how an intellectual activity like shifting from the reactive to the objective stance can dispel reactive attitudes without thereby also rationally disqualifying them. I solve this puzzle by drawing on the idea that one cognitive component of emotions is the rationally optional "shift of attention," a feature which in turn helps to explain a lot about the role reactive emotions can play in the fixation of belief. (shrink)
The view that moral cognition is subserved by a two-tieredarchitecture is defended: Moral reasoning is the result both ofspecialized, informationally encapsulated modules which automaticallyand effortlessly generate intuitions; and of general-purpose,cognitively penetrable mechanisms which enable moral judgment in thelight of the agent's general fund of knowledge. This view is contrastedwith rival architectures of social/moral cognition, such as Cosmidesand Tooby's view that the mind is wholly modular, and it is argued thata two-tiered architecture is more plausible.
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
This article clarifies three principles that should guide the development of any cognitive ontology. First, that an adequate cognitive ontology depends essentially on an adequate task ontology; second, that the goal of developing a cognitive ontology is independent of the goal of finding neural implementations of the processes referred to in the ontology; and third, that cognitive ontologies are neutral regarding the metaphysical relationship between cognitive and neural processes.
In this paper, we will consider the neuro-cognitive systems involved in mediating morality. Five main claims will be made. First, that there are multiple, partially separable neuro-cognitive architectures that mediate specific aspects of morality: social convention, care-based morality, disgust-based morality and fairness/justice. Second, that all aspects of morality, including social convention, involve affect. Third, that the neural system particularly important for social convention, given its role in mediating anger and responding to angry expressions, is ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Fourth, (...) that the neural systems particularly important for care-based morality are the amygdala and medial orbital frontal cortex. Fifth, that while Theory of Mind is not a prerequisite for the development of affect-based 'automatic moral attitudes', it is critically involved in many aspects of moral reasoning. (shrink)
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitive science concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended from (...) the work of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate a plausible (...) theory of general ideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
Cognitive science is, more than anything else, a pursuit of cognitive mechanisms. To make headway towards a mechanistic account of any particular cognitive phenomenon, a researcher must choose among the many architectures available to guide and constrain the account. It is thus fitting that this volume on contemporary debates in cognitive science includes two issues of architecture, each articulated in the 1980s but still unresolved:
• Just how modular is the mind? (section 1) – a (...) debate initially pitting encapsulated mechanisms (Fodorian modules that feed their ultimate outputs to a nonmodular central cognition) against highly interactive ones (e.g., connectionist networks that continuously feed streams of output to one another). • Does the mind process language-like representations according to formal rules? (this section) – a debate initially pitting symbolic architectures (such as Chomsky’s generative grammar or Fodor’s language of thought) against less language-like architectures (such as connectionist or dynamical ones).
Our project here is to consider the second issue within the broader context of where cognitive science has been and where it is headed. The notion that cognition in general—not just language processing—involves rules operating on language-like representations actually predates cognitive science. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental life is construed as involving propositional attitudes—that is, such attitudes towards propositions as believing, fearing, and desiring that they be true—and logical inferences from them. On this view, if a person desires that a proposition be true and believes that if she performs a certain action it will become true, she will make the inference and (absent any overriding consideration) perform the action. (shrink)
The past 25 years have witnessed an increasing awareness of the importance of cognitive control in the regulation of complex behavior. It now sits alongside attention, memory, language, and thinking as a distinct domain within cognitive psychology. At the same time it permeates each of these sibling domains. This introduction reviews recent work on cognitive control in an attempt to provide a context for the fundamental question addressed within this topic: Is cognitive control to be understood (...) as resulting from the interaction of multiple distinct control processes, or are the phenomena of cognitive control emergent? (shrink)
Philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists have recently taken renewed interest in cognitive penetration, in particular, in the cognitive penetration of perceptual experience. The question is whether cognitive states like belief influence perceptual experience in some important way. Since the possible phenomenon is an empirical one, the strategy for analysis has, predictably, proceeded as follows: define the phenomenon and then, definition in hand, interpret various psychological data. However, different theorists offer different and apparently inconsistent definitions. And (...) so in addition to the usual problems (e.g., definitions being challenged by counterexample), an important result is that different theorists apply their definitions and accordingly get conflicting answers to the question “Is this a genuine case of cognitive penetration?”. This hurdle to philosophical and scientific progress can be remedied, I argue, by returning attention to the alleged consequences of the possible phenomenon. There are three: theory-ladenness of perception in contexts of scientific theory choice, a threat to the general epistemic role of perception, and implications for mental architecture. Any attempt to characterize or define, and then empirically test for, cognitive penetration should be constrained by these consequences. This is a method for interpreting and acquiring experimental data in a way that is agreeable to both sides of the cognitive penetration debate. Put crudely, the question shifts to “Is this a cognitive-perceptual relation that results in (or constitutes) one or more of the relevant consequences?” In answering this question, relative to various data, it may turn out that there is no single unified phenomenon of cognitive penetration. But this should be no matter, since it is the consequences that are of central importance to philosophers and scientists alike. (shrink)
We discuss the development of cognitive neuroscience in terms of the tension between the greater sophistication in cognitive concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences and the increasing power of more standard biological approaches to understanding brain structure and function. There have been major technological developments in brain imaging and advances in simulation, but there have also been shifts in emphasis, with topics such as thinking, consciousness, and social cognition becoming fashionable within the brain sciences. The discipline (...) has great promise in terms of applications to mental health and education, provided it does not abandon the cognitive perspective and succumb to reductionism. (shrink)
Recent theories in cognitive science have begun to focus on the active role of organisms in shaping their own environment, and the role of these environmental resources for cognition. Approaches such as situated, embedded, ecological, distributed and particularly extended cognition look beyond ‘what is inside your head’ to the old Gibsonian question of ‘what your head is inside of’ and with which it forms a wider whole—its internal and external cognitive niche. Since these views have been treated as (...) a radical departure from the received view of cognition, their proponents have looked for support to similar extended views within (the philosophy of) biology, most notably the theory of niche construction. This paper argues that there is an even closer and more fruitful parallel with developmental systems theory and developmental niche construction. These ask not ‘what is inside the genes you inherited’, but ‘what the inherited genes are inside of’ and with which they form a wider whole—their internal and external ontogenetic niche, understood as the set of epigenetic, social, ecological, epistemic and symbolic legacies inherited by the organism as necessary developmental resources. To the cognizing agent, the epistemic niche presents itself not just as a partially self-engineered selective niche, as the niche construction paradigm will have it, but even more so as a partially self-engineered ontogenetic niche, a problem-solving resource and scaffold for individual development and learning. This move should be beneficial for coming to grips with our own (including cognitive) nature: what is most distinctive about humans is their developmentally plastic brains immersed into a well-engineered, cumulatively constructed cognitive–developmental niche. (shrink)
Allen Newell (1973) once observed that psychology researchers were playing “twenty questions with nature,” carving up human cognition into hundreds of individual phenomena but shying away from the difficult task of integrating these phenomena with unifying theories. We argue that research on cognitive control has followed a similar path, and that the best approach toward unifying theories of cognitive control is that proposed by Newell, namely developing theories in computational cognitive architectures. Threaded cognition, a recent theory developed (...) within the ACT-R cognitive architecture, offers promise as a unifying theory of cognitive control that addresses multitasking phenomena for both laboratory and applied task domains. (shrink)
Theories concerning the structure, or format, of mental representation should (1) be formulated in mechanistic, rather than metaphorical terms; (2) do justice to several philosophical intuitions about mental representation; and (3) explain the human capacity to predict the consequences of worldly alterations (i.e., to think before we act). The hypothesis that thinking involves the application of syntax-sensitive inference rules to syntactically structured mental representations has been said to satisfy all three conditions. An alternative hypothesis is that thinking requires the construction (...) and manipulation of the cognitive equivalent of scale models. A reading of this hypothesis is provided that satisfies condition (1) and which, even though it may not fully satisfy condition (2), turns out (in light of the frame problem) to be the only known way to satisfy condition (3). (shrink)