The cultural transmission of theological concepts remains an underexplored topic in the cognitivescience of religion (CSR). In this paper, I examine whether approaches from CSR, especially the study of content biases in the transmission of beliefs, can help explain the cultural success of some theological concepts. This approach reveals that there is more continuity between theological beliefs and ordinary religious beliefs than CSR authors have hitherto recognized: the cultural transmission of theological concepts is influenced by content (...) biases that also underlie the reception of ordinary religious concepts. (shrink)
The last 15 years or so has seen the development of a fascinating new area of cognitivescience: the cognitivescience of religion (CSR). Scientists in this field aim to explain religious beliefs and various other religious human activities by appeal to basic cognitive structures that all humans possess. The CSR scientific theories raise an interesting philosophical question: do they somehow show that religious belief, more specifically belief in a god of some kind, is (...) irrational? In this paper I investigate this question and argue that CSR does not show that belief in god is irrational. (shrink)
The cognitivescience of religion is a multi-disciplinary research program that attempts to integrate the study of religion with behavioural sciences such as cognitive sciences. Such integration raises several methodological questions that concern, for example, the nature of the relationship between psychology and social life, the autonomy of the study of religion and the role of causal explanations in social sciences. This article examines the methodological assumptions of the cognitivescience of (...) class='Hi'>religion and analyses possible drawbacks as well as advantages of a naturalistic study of religion. Finally, this article argues that we should allow different kinds of methodological frameworks in the study of religion. (shrink)
Reformed epistemology and cognitivescience have remarkably converged on belief in God. Reformed epistemology holds that belief in God is basic—that is, belief in God is a natural, non-inferential belief that is immediately produced by a cognitive faculty. Cognitivescience of religion also holds that belief in gods is (often) non-reflectively and instinctively produced—that is, non-inferentially and automatically produced by a cognitive faculty or system. But there are differences. In this paper, we will (...) show some remarkable points of convergence, and a few points of divergence, between Reformed epistemology and the cognitivescience of religion. (shrink)
Abstract. Although the CognitiveScience of Religion (CSR), a current approach to the scientific study of religion, has exerted an influence in the study of religion for almost twenty years, the question of its compatibility or incompatibility with theism has not been the subject of serious discussion until recently. Some critics of religion have taken a lively interest in the CSR because they see it as useful in explaining why religious believers consistently make costly (...) commitments to false beliefs. Conversely, some theists have argued for the compatibility of religious belief with basic CSR results. In this article, we contribute to the incipient discussion about the worldview relevance of the CSR by arguing that while a theistic reading of the field only represents one interpretative option at most, antitheistic claims about the incompatibility of the CSR with theism look like they may be harder to maintain than first appearances might suggest. (shrink)
The article chronicles the different panels devoted tothe cognitivescience of religion at the meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) in Tampa, Florida, in November 2007. The aim is to verify the state of this subdiscipline and to check how much this work-in-progress affects the present state of the dialogue between science and religion. Several signs point to a positive development in this scientific branch and favor a sound reception (...) in theology, which should not ignore the new research. (shrink)
Specifically designed to make the philosophy of mind intelligible to those not trained in philosophy, this book provides a concise overview for students and researchers in the cognitive sciences. Emphasizing the relevance of philosophical work to investigations in other cognitive sciences, this unique text examines such issues as the meaning of language, the mind-body problem, the functionalist theories of cognition, and intentionality. As he explores the philosophical issues, Bechtel draws connections between philosophical views and theoretical and experimental work (...) in such disciplines as cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology. (shrink)
Under the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona toil those who would rob humankind of its humanity. These gray, soulless monsters methodically tear away at our meaning, our subjectivity, our essence as transcendent beings. With each advance, they steal our freedom and dignity. Who are these denizens of darkness, these usurpers of all that is good and holy? None other than humanity’s arch-foe: The Cognitive Scientists -- AI researchers, fallen philosophers, psychologists, and other benighted lovers of computers. Unless they are (...) stopped, humanity -- you and I -- will soon be nothing but numbers and algorithms locked away on magnetic tape. (shrink)
Neuroethology is a branch of biology that studies the neural basis of naturally occurring animal behavior. This science, particularly a recent program called computational neuroethology, has a similar structure to the interdisciplinary endeavor of cognitivescience. I argue that it would be fruitful to conceive of cognitivescience as the computational neuroethology of humans. However, there are important differences between the two sciences, including the fact that neuroethology is much more comparative in its perspective. Neuroethology (...) is a biological science and as such, evolution is a central notion. Its target organisms are studied in the context of their evolutionary history. The central goal of this paper is to argue that cognitivescience can and ought to be more comparative in its approach to cognitive phenomena in humans. I show how the domain of cognitive phenomena can be divided up into four different classes, individuated by the relative phylogenetic uniqueness of the behavior. I then describe how comparative evidence can enrich our understanding in each of these different arenas. (shrink)
In the past decade, the cognitivescience of religion has worked to find an evolutionary explanation for supernatural belief. The explanations are convincing, but have created the stereotype that atheism is unnatural. In a similar way studies linking religious belief and health have vilified atheism as unhealthy. But belief is too complex, health is too nuanced, and the data are too varied to draw such a generalization. Catherine Caldwell-Harris has developed a psychological profile to understand nonbelief as (...) an expected outcome of individual difference and therefore natural. In a similar manner I argue that we should study the relationship between belief and health through the lens of individual differences. This approach is especially promising given recent research which indicates personality fully accounts for the relationship with well-being previously attributed to belief. This approach has the added benefit of neutralizing the conversation by understanding atheism as the healthy expression of a natural personality. (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 cognitivescience 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 cognitivescience. 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 cognitivescience has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
This chapter examines the core explanatory strategies of cognitivescience and their application to the study of psychopathology. In addition to providing a taxonomy of different strategies, we illustrate their application, with special attention to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. We conclude by considering two challenges to the prospects of a developed cognitivescience of psychopathology.
Cognitivescience is an interdisciplinary research endeavor focusing on human cognitive phenomena such as memory, language use, and reasoning. It emerged in the second half of the 20th century and is charting new directions at the beginning of the 21st century. This chapter begins by identifying the disciplines that contribute to cognitivescience and reviewing the history of the interdisciplinary engagements that characterize it. The second section examines the role that mechanistic explanation plays in (...) class='Hi'>cognitivescience, while the third focuses on the importance of mental representations in specifically cognitive explanations. The fourth section considers the interdisciplinary nature of cognitivescience and explores how multiple disciplines can contribute to explanations that exceed what any single discipline might accomplish. The conclusion sketches some recent developments in cognitivescience and their implications for philosophers. (shrink)
This is a revised version of the introductory essay in C. Eschenbach, C. Habel and B. Smith (eds.), Topological Foundations of CognitiveScience, Hamburg: Graduiertenkolleg Kognitionswissenschaft, 1994, the text of a talk delivered at the First International Summer Institute in CognitiveScience in Buffalo in July 1994.
underpinning of the cognitive sciences. I argue, however, that it often fails to provide adequate explanations, in particular in conjunction with competence theories. This failure originates in the idealizations in competence descriptions, which either ?block? the cascade, or produce a successful cascade which fails to explain cognition.
The notion of levels has been widely used in discussions of cognitivescience, especially in discussions of the relation of connectionism to symbolic modeling of cognition. I argue that many of the notions of levels employed are problematic for this purpose, and develop an alternative notion grounded in the framework of mechanistic explanation. By considering the source of the analogies underlying both symbolic modeling and connectionist modeling, I argue that neither is likely to provide an adequate analysis of (...) processes at the level at which cognitive theories attempt to function: One is drawn from too low a level, the other from too high a level. If there is a distinctly cognitive level, then we still need to determine what are the basic organizational principles at that level. (shrink)
The concept of emergence is widely used in both the philosophy of mind and in cognitivescience. In the philosophy of mind it serves to refer to seemingly irreducible phenomena, in cognitivescience it is often used to refer to phenomena not explicitly programmed. There is no unique concept of emergence available that serves both purposes.
This article critically examines the views that psychology ?rst came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology ?nally became scienti?c through the in?uence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitivescience and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, (...) that philosophers and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the ?rst two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively in?uenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psy- chology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of arti?cial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitivescience, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitivescience and neuroscience. (shrink)
Psychology is the study of thinking, and cognitivescience is the interdisciplinary investigation of mind and intelligence that also includes philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. In these investigations, many philosophical issues arise concerning methods and central concepts. The Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and CognitiveScience contains 16 essays by leading philosophers of science that illuminate the nature of the theories and explanations used in the investigation of minds. Topics discussed include representation, mechanisms, (...) reduction, perception, consciousness, language, emotions, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. Key Features - Comprehensive coverage of philosophy of psychology and cognitivescience - Distinguished contributors: leading philosophers in this area - Contributions closely tied to relevant scientific research. (shrink)
When the various disciplines participating in cognitivescience are listed, philosophy almost always gets a guernsey. Yet, a couple of years ago at the conference of the CognitiveScience Society in Boulder (USA), there was no philosophy or philosopher with any prominence on the program. When queried on this point, the organizer (one of the "superstars" of the field) claimed it was partly an accident, but partly also due to an impression among members of the committee (...) that philosophy is basically a waste of time. Philosophy, they thought, is mostly obscure bullshit that does little to help, and much to hinder, real progress in cognitivescience. (shrink)
I sketch an explanatory framework that fits a variety of contemporary research programs in cognitivescience. I then investigate the scope and the implications of this framework. The framework emphasizes (a) the explanatory role played by the semantic content of cognitive representations, and (b) the important mechanistic, non-intentional dimension of cognitive explanations. I show how both of these features are present simultaneously in certain varieties of cognitive explanation. I also consider the explanatory role played by (...) grounded representational content, that is, content evaluated by appeal to its truth, falsity, accuracy, inaccuracy and other relational properties. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the interdisciplinary project of investigating the true nature of color vision. In recent times, research into color vision has been one of the main success stories of cognitivescience. Each discipline in the field--neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and philosophy--has contributed significantly to our understanding of color. Evan Thompson provides an accessible review of current scientific and philosophical discussions of color vision. He steers a course between the subjective and objective (...) positions on color, arguing for a relational account. Thompson develops a novel "ecological" approach to color vision in cognitivescience and the philosophy of perception. The book is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
A translation of the renowned French reference book, Vocabulaire de sciences cognitives , the Dictionary of CognitiveScience presents comprehensive definitions of more than 120 terms. The editor and advisory board of specialists have brought together 60 internationally recognized scholars to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of the most current and dynamic thinking in cognitivescience. Topics range from Abduction to Writing, and each entry covers its subject from as many perspectives as possible within the (...) domains of psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics. This multidisciplinary work is an invaluable resource for all collections. (shrink)
Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of CognitiveScience invites readers to join in up-to-the-minute conceptual discussions of the fundamental issues, problems, and opportunities in cognitivescience. Written by one of the most renowned scholars in the field, this vivid and engaging introductory text relates the story of the search for a cognitive scientific understanding of mind. This search is presented as a no-holds-barred journey from early work in artificial intelligence, through connectionist (artificial neural network) (...) counter-visions, and on to neuroscience, artificial life, dynamics, and robotics. The journey ends with some wide-ranging and provocative speculation about the complex coadaptive dance between mind, culture, and technology. Each chapter opens with a brief sketch of a major research tradition or perspective, followed by short yet substantial critical discussions dealing with key topics and problems. Ranging across both standard philosophical territory and the landscape of cutting-edge cognitivescience, Clark highlights challenging issues in an effort to engage readers in active debate. Topics covered include mental causation; machine intelligence; the nature and status of folk psychology; the hardware/software distinction; emergence; relations between life and mind; the nature of perception, cognition, and action; and the continuity (or otherwise) of high-level human intelligence with other forms of adaptive response. Numerous illustrations, text boxes, and extensive suggestions for further reading enhance the text's utility. Helpful appendices provide background information on dualism, behaviorism, identity theory, consciousness, and more. An exceptional text for introductory and more advanced courses in cognitivescience and the philosophy of mind, Mindware is also essential reading for anyone interested in these fascinating and ever-changing fields. (shrink)
One of the most fruitful interdisciplinary boundaries in contemporary scholarship is that between philosophy and cognitivescience. Now that solid empirical results about the activities of the human mind are available, it is no longer necessary for philosophers to practice armchair psychology.In this short, accessible, and entertaining book, Alvin Goldman presents a masterly survey of recent work in cognitivescience that has particular relevance to philosophy. Besides providing a valuable review of the most suggestive work in (...)cognitive and social psychology, Goldman demonstrates conclusively that the best work in philosophy in a surprising number of different fields—including philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics as well as philosophy of mind—must take into account empirical breakthroughs in psychology.One of those rare texts that will also be useful for professionals, Philosophical Applications of CognitiveScience is appropriate for students in a wide range of philosophy courses. It will also interest researchers and students in psychology who are intrigued by the wider theoretical implications of their work. (shrink)
Connectionism provides hope for unifying work in neuroscience, computer science, and cognitive psychology. This promise has met with some resistance from Classical Computionalists, which may have inspired Connectionists to retaliate with bold, inflationary claims on behalf of Connectionist models. This paper demonstrates, by examining three intimately connected issues, that these inflationary claims made on behalf of Connectionism are wrong. This should not be construed as an attack on Connectionism, however, since the inflated claims made on its behalf have (...) the look of cures for which there are no ailments. There is nothing wrong with Connectionism for its failure to solve illusory problems. (shrink)
Biological theories of religious belief are sometimes understood to undermine the very beliefs they are describing, proposing an alternative explanation for the causes of belief different from that given by religious believers themselves. This article surveys three categories of biological theorizing derived from evolutionary biology, cognitivescience of religion, and neuroscience. Although each field raises important issues and in some cases potential challenges to the legitimacy of religious belief, in most cases the significance of these theories for (...) the holding of religious beliefs is not very great. (shrink)
Todd argues for the integration of science and religion to form a new paradigm for the third millennium. He counters both the arguments made by fundamentalist Christians against science and the rejection of religion by the New Atheists, in particular Richard Dawkins and his followers. Drawing on the work of scientists, psychologists, philosophers, and theologians, Todd challenges the materialistic reductionism of our age and offers an alternative grounded in the visionary work taking place in a wide (...) array of disciplines including Jungian archetypal psychology, quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology,epistemology, neuroscience and an incarnational theology implicit in the evolutionary process. (shrink)
Despite their divergent metaphysical assumptions, Reformed and evolutionary epistemologists have converged on the notion of proper basicality. Where Reformed epistemologists appeal to God, who has designed the mind in such a way that it successfully aims at the truth, evolutionary epistemologists appeal to natural selection as a mechanism that favors truth-preserving cog- nitive capacities. This paper investigates whether Reformed and evolutionary epistemological accounts of theistic belief are compatible. We will argue that their chief incompatibility lies in the noetic effects of (...) sin and what may be termed the noetic effects of evolution, systematic tendencies wherein human cognitive faculties go awry. We propose a reconceptualization of the noetic effects of sin to mitigate this tension. (shrink)
. For moral guidance we human beings may be tempted to turn toward the past (scripture, tradition), toward present science, or toward future consequences. Each of these approaches has strengths and limitations. To address those limitations, we need to consider how these various perspectives can be brought togetherâand âreligion and scienceâ is an area in which this may happen. That makes the question of where to look for guidance potentially a central one for religion and science, (...) setting the agenda differently from apologetic questions with respect to religion or to science. However, âreligion and scienceâ does not solve the issues, leading to a single normative perspective; the way that current knowledge is integrated with past wisdom is highly dependent upon ideals that relate to the future. Thus, rather than resolving the need for guidance, the religion-and-science conversation becomes one way of addressing our need for guidance, bringing into the conversation past, present, and future. (shrink)
The cognitive sciences may be understood to contribute to religion-and-science as a metadisciplinary discussion in ways that can be organized according to the three persons of narrative, encoding the themes of consciousness, relationality, and healing. First-person accounts are likely to be important to the understanding of consciousness, the "hard problem" of subjective experience, and contribute to a neurophenomenology of mind, even though we must be aware of their role in human suffering, their epistemic limits, and their indirect (...) causal role in human behavior and subsequent experience. Second-person discussions are important for understanding the empathic and embodied relationality upon which an externalist account of mind is likely to depend, increasingly uncovered and supported by social neuroscience. Third-person accounts can be better understood in uncovering the us/them distinctions that they encode and healing the dangerous tribalisms that put an interdependent and communal world increasingly at risk. (shrink)
No one has explored the implications of cognitive theories and findings about religion for understanding its history with any more enthusiasm or insight than Luther Martin. Although my focus here is not historical, I assume that I will be employing cognitive tools in ways that he finds congenial. In the paper’s first section, I will make some general comments about standard comparisons of science and religion and criticize one strategy for making peace between them. In (...) the second section of the paper, I will delineate two cognitive criteria for comparing science, religion, theology, and commonsense explanations. Finally, in the third section, I will suggest that such a comparison supplies grounds for thinking that our longstanding interest in the comparison of science and religion is, oddly, somewhat misbegotten from a cognitive perspective. (shrink)
Aristotle's observation that all human beings by nature desire to know aptly captures the spirit of "intellectualist" research in psychology and anthropology. Intellectualists in these fields agree that humans' have fundamental explanatory interests (which reflect their rationality) and that the idioms in which their explanations are couched can differ considerably across places and times (both historical and developmental). Intellectualists in developmental psychology (e.g., Gopnik and Meltzoff, 1997) maintain that young children's conceptual structures, like those of scientists, are theories and that (...) their conceptual development--like the development of science--is a process of theory formation and change. They speculate that our explanatory preoccupations result, at least in part, from a natural drive to develop theories. Intellectualists in the anthropology of religion (e.g., Horton, 1970 and 1993) hold that, although it may do many other things as well, religion is primarily concerned with providing explanatory theories. They maintain that religion and science have the same explanatory goals; only the idioms of their explanations differ. The connections between the concern for explanation, the pursuit of science, the persistence of religion, and the cognitive processes underlying each clearly merit further examination. By considering both their cultural manifestations and their cognitive foundations, I hope to clarify not only how science and religion are related but some of the ways their explanatory projects differ. I shall argue that, despite their centuries' old antagonisms, no development in science will ever seriously threaten the persistence of religion or the forms of explanation religion employs or the emergence of new religions. (I strongly suspect that science will never seriously threaten the persistence of particular religions either, but I only aim to defend the weaker, collective claim here.) In this paper's fourth section I shall show that religion and its characteristic forms of explanation 1 are a natural outgrowth of the character and content of human association and cognition.. (shrink)
Turning Images in Philosophy, Science, and Religion: A New Book of Nature brings together new essays addressing the role of images and imagination recruited in the perennial debates surrounding nature, mind, and God. -/- The debate between "new atheists" and religious apologists today is often hostile. This book sets a new tone by locating the debate between theism and naturalism (most "new atheists" are self-described "naturalists") in the broader context of reflection on imagination and aesthetics. The eleven essays (...) will be of interest to anyone who is fascinated by the power of imagination and the role of aesthetics in deciding between worldviews or philosophies of nature. Representing a variety of points of view, authors include outstanding philosophers of religion and of science, a distinguished art historian, and a visual artist. -/- The book begins with Martin Kemp's essay on the work of the biologist, mathematician and classical scholar D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson in which Kemp develops the idea of "structural intuitions and a critique of reductive thinking about the natural world. This is followed by Geoffrey Gorham's overview and analysis of images of nature and God found in early modern science and philosophy. Anthony O'Hear questions a reductive, naturalist account of the origin of mind and values. Dale Jacquette offers a thoroughgoing naturalistic philosophy of the emergence of intentionality and a unique argument about the emergence of art and the aesthetic appreciation of nature. E.J. Lowe brings to light some challenges facing naturalistic approaches to human imaginative sensibility. Douglas Hedley articulates and defends a cognitive account of imagination, highlighting some of the difficulties confronting naturalism. Daniel N. Robinson offers a sweeping treatment of nature and naturalism, historically engaging Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and others. Conor Cunningham provides an aggressive critique of contemporary naturalism. Gordon Graham investigates the resources of naturalism in accounting for our sense of the sacred. Mark Wynn provides a subtle understanding of imagination and perception, suggesting how these may play into the theism - naturalism debate. The book concludes with Jil Evans' reflections on how images of the Galapagos Islands have been employed philosophically to picture either a naturalist or theistic image of nature. (shrink)
Have evolution, science and the trappings of the modern world killed off God irrevocably? And what do we lose if we choose not to believe in him? From Newton and Descartes to Darwin and the discovery of the genome, religion has been pushed back further and further while science has gained ground. But what fills the void that religion leaves behind? This book is an attempt to look at these questions and to suggest a third way (...) between the easy consolations of religion and the persuasive force of science that the everyday modern reader can engage with. (shrink)
There is a growing chorus of voices in the scientific community calling for greater openness in the sharing of raw data that lead to a publication. In this commentary, we discuss the merits of sharing, common concerns that are raised, and practical issues that arise in developing a sharing policy. We suggest that the cognitivescience community discuss the topic and establish a data-sharing policy.
It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological (...) theories of the origin of religion as an example. I show that philosophy is both a discipline in its own right as well as one that has interesting implications for the understanding and practice of science. While the goal is certainly not to turn science students into philoso- phers, the idea is that both disciplines cannot but benefit from a mutual dialogue that starts as soon as possible, in the classroom. (shrink)
The primacy of practice in the development of knowledge is one of materialism’s fundamental tenets. Most arguments supporting it have been strictly philosophical. However, over the past thirty years cognitivescience has provided mounting evidence supporting the primacy of practice. Particularly striking is its finding that thought is fundamentally metaphoric—that images emerging from everyday embodied activities not only make ordinary experiences intelligible, but also underpin our more abstract engagements with the world, elaborated in disciplines such as ethics and (...)science. Cognitivescience’s implications must now be absorbed into critical realism. Cognitivescience bolsters critical realism by providing a scientifically-grounded analysis of the passage from body to mind and the fundamental unity between them, while sustaining their distinctiveness. Its implications for critical realism ripple out in four waves: first, critical realism’s understanding of the mind/body relationship; second, its concepts of the process that connects theory and practice, and what that means for critical realism’s view of intellectual production, the place of metaphor in scientific theorization, and cultural development; its view of culture as a complexwhole; and finally, its theory of human agency as embodied and intentional. (shrink)
Cognitivescience has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitivescience should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel’s (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitivescience, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitivescience, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitivescience, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp & Turvey, 2009). (...) We then propose a philosophy of science appropriate to nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitivescience. (shrink)
Anthropology and the other cognitivescience (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility (...) between (1) CS and (2) anthropology with regard to methodology and (3) research strategies, (4) the importance of anthropology for CS, and (5) the need for disciplinary diversity. Given this set of challenges, a reconciliation seems unlikely to follow on the heels of good intentions alone. (shrink)
Beller, Bender, and Medin argue that a reconciliation between anthropology and cognitivescience seems unlikely. We disagree. In our view, Beller et al.’s view of the scope of what anthropology can offer cognitivescience is too narrow. In focusing on anthropology’s role in elucidating cultural particulars, they downplay the fact that anthropology can reveal both variation and universals in human cognition, and is in a unique position to do so relative to the other subfields of (...) class='Hi'>cognitivescience. Indeed, without cross-cultural research, the universality of any aspect of human cognition cannot truly be established. Therefore, if the goal of cognitivescience is to understand the cognitive capacities of our species as a whole, then it cannot do without anthropology. We briefly review a growing body of anthropological work aimed at answering questions about human cognition and offer suggestions for future work. (shrink)
Classical cognitivescience was launched on the premise that the architecture of human cognition is uniform and universal across the species. This premise is biologically impossible and is being actively undermined by, for example, imaging genomics. Anthropology (including archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology) is, in contrast, largely concerned with the diversification of human culture, language, and biology across time and space—it belongs fundamentally to the evolutionary sciences. The new cognitive sciences that will emerge from the (...) interactions with the biological sciences will focus on variation and diversity, opening the door for rapprochement with anthropology. (shrink)
This paper reviews 30 years of progress in U.S. cognitivescience research related to education and training, as seen from the perspective of a research manager who was personally involved in many of these developments.
Two widely accepted assumptions within cognitivescience are that (1) the goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for cognitive performances and (2) computational modeling is a major tool for understanding these mechanisms. The particular approaches to computational modeling adopted in cognitivescience, moreover, have significantly affected the way in which cognitive mechanisms are understood. Unable to employ some of the more common methods for conducting research on mechanisms, cognitive scientists’ guiding ideas about (...) mechanism have developed in conjunction with their styles of modeling. In particular, mental operations often are conceptualized as comparable to the processes employed in classical symbolic AI or neural network models. These models, in turn, have been interpreted by some as themselves intelligent systems since they employ the same type of operations as does the mind. For this paper, what is significant about these approaches to modeling is that they are constructed specifically to account for behavior and are evaluated by how well they do so—not by independent evidence that they describe actual operations in mental mechanisms. (shrink)
The rise of cognitivescience in the last half-century has been accompanied by a considerable amount of philosophical activity. No other area within analytic philosophy in the second half of that period has attracted more attention or produced more publications. Philosophical work relevant to cognitivescience has become a sprawling field (extending beyond analytic philosophy) which no one can fully master, although some try and keep abreast of the philosophical literature and of the essential scientific developments. (...) Due to the particular nature of its subject, it touches on a multitude of distinct special branches in philosophy and in science. It has also become quite a difficult, complicated and technical field, to the point of being nearly impenetrable for philosophers or scientists coming from other fields or traditions. Finally, it is contentious: Cognitivescience is far from having reached stability, it is still widely regarded with suspicion, philosophers working within its confine have sharp disagreements amongst themselves, and philosophers standing outside, especially (but not only) of non-analytic persuasion, are often inclined to see both cognitivescience and its accompanying philosophy as more or less confused or even deeply flawed. The sensible way to go under the circumstances, or so one might judge, would be to pick a sample of salient topics, in the present case, philosophical discussions of some central foundational issues, in the hope thereby of giving the reader a sense of what the field is about. This however is not the path I propose to take. There are two reasons for choosing another tack. The negative reason is that there is now available a plethora of excellent expositions, of any length one might desire, from one-page summaries to chapter- or volume-length introductions, of central topics in philosophy of mind (which constitutes in turn the core of what most philosophers think of as philosophy of cognitivescience: more on this in a moment)1.. (shrink)
There are currently considerable confusion and disarray about just how we should view computationalism, connectionism and dynamicism as explanatory frameworks in cognitivescience. A key source of this ongoing conflict among the central paradigms in cognitivescience is an equivocation on the notion of computation simpliciter. ‘Computation’ is construed differently by computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism and computational neuroscience. I claim that these central paradigms, properly understood, can contribute to an integrated cognitivescience. Yet, before this (...) claim can be defended, a better understanding of ‘computation’ is required. ‘Digital computation’ is an ambiguous concept. It is not just the classical dichotomy between analogue and digital computation that is the basis for the equivocation on ‘computation’ simpliciter in cognitivescience, but also the diversity of extant accounts of digital computation. There are many answers on what it takes for a system to perform digital computation. Answers to this problem range from Turing machine computation, through the formal manipulation of symbols, the execution of algorithms and others, to the strong-pancomputational thesis, according to which every physical system computes every Turing-computable function. Despite some overlap among them, extant accounts of concrete digital computation are non-equivalent, thus, rendering ‘digital computation’ ambiguous. The objective of this dissertation is twofold. First, it is to promote a clearer understanding of concrete digital computation. Accordingly, my main thesis is that not only are extant accounts of concrete digital computation non-equivalent, but most of them are inadequate. I show that these accounts are not just intensionally different (this is quite trivially the case), but also extensionally distinct. In the course of examining several key accounts of concrete digital computation, I propose the instructional information processing account, according to which digital computation is the processing of discrete data in accordance with finite instructional information. The second objective is to establish the foundational role of computation in cognitivescience whilst rejecting the purported representational nature of computation. (shrink)
Cognitive activity, which essentially consistsof the use of signs, does not only depend onthe internal (mental, or brain) processes. Thefirst part of the paper presents severalversions of the idea of the external andcultural organization of individual''s mentalprocesses. The second part of the paperconsiders a future development of cognitivescience as a science of the extended andsocially constructed mind. KazimierzTwardowski''s theory of intentionality and histheory of actions and products provide theconceptual framework of the undertaken analysis.
Machine generated contents note: Part 1 - The Constituent Disciplines of CognitiveScience -- Philosophical Epistemology -- Glossary -- 1.0 What is Philosophical Epistemology? -- 1.1 The reduced history of Philosophy Part I - The Classical Age -- 1.2 Mind and World - The problem of objectivity -- 1.3 The reduced history of Philosophy Part II - The twentieth century -- 1.4 The philosophy of CognitiveScience -- 1.5 Mind in Philosophy: summary -- 1.6 The Nolanian (...) Framework (so far) -- Psychology -- 2.0 Why is Psychology so difficult? -- 2.1 A brief history of Experimental Psychology -- 2.2 Methodologies in Psychology -- 2.3 Perception -- 2.4 Memory -- 2.5 Mind in Psychology -- Linguistics -- 3.0 Introduction -- 3.1 Why Linguistics? -- 3.2 Computation and Linguistics -- 3.3 The main grammatical theories -- 3.4 Language development and linguistics -- 3.5 Toward a definition of context -- 3.6 The multifarious uses of Language -- 3.7 Linguistics and Computational Linguistics -- 3.8 Language and other symbol systems -- 3.9 On the notion of context -- 3.10 Mind in Linguistics: summary -- Neuroscience -- 4.0 The constituent disciplines of Neuroscience -- 4.1 The methodology of Neuroscience -- 4.2 Gross Neuroanatomy -- 4.3 Some relevant findings -- 4.4 Connectionism (PDP) -- 4.5 The victory of Neuroscience? -- 4.6 Mind in Neuroscience: summary -- Artificial Intelligence -- 5.0 Introduction -- 5.1 Al and CognitiveScience -- 5.2 Skeptics and their techniques -- 5.3 Al as Computer Science -- 5.4 Al as software -- 5.5 The current methodological debate -- 5.6 Context, syntax and semantics -- 5.7 Mind in Al -- 5.8 Texts on Al -- Etholoqy and Ethnoscience -- 6.1 Etology -- 6.2 Ethnoscience -- 6.3 Mind in Ethology arid Ethnoscience -- Part II - A New Foundation for CognitiveScience -- - Symbol Systems -- 7.1 Characteristics of symbol systems -- 7.2 Context and the layers of symbol systems -- 7.3 Mind and symbol systems -- Consciousness and Selfhood -- 8.0 Introduction -- 8.1 Cognitive views -- 8.2 What is at stake? -- 8.3 Consciousness as treated in Philosophy -- 8.4 The Development of Selfhood -- 8.5 The minimal requirements for this theory -- 8.6 Self as a filter -- 8.7 Self and motivation -- 8.8 Conclusions -- 8.9 Recent developments -- CognitiveScience and the Search for Mind -- 9.1 Introduction -- 9.2 Review -- 9.3 A Theory of Mind anyone? -- 9.4 Foundational considerations -- 9.5 Coda: the Nolanian Framework. (shrink)
I begin by tracing some of the confusions regarding levels and reduction to a failure to distinguish two different principles according to which theories can be viewed as hierarchically arranged — epistemic authority and ontological constitution. I then argue that the notion of levels relevant to the debate between symbolic and connectionist paradigms of mental activity answers to neither of these models, but is rather correlative to the hierarchy of functional decompositions of cognitive tasks characteristic of homuncular functionalism. Finally, (...) I suggest that the incommensurability of the intentional and extensional vocabularies constitutes a strongprima facie reason to conclude that there is little likelihood of filling in the story of Bechtel''s missing level in such a way as to bridge the gap between such homuncular functionalism and his own model of mechanistic explanation. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Part I. Foundations: 1. History and core themes; 2. The representational theory of mind; 3. Cognitive architectures; Part II. Aspects of Cognition: 4. Perception; 5. Action; 6. Human learning and memory; 7. Reasoning and decision making; 8. Concepts; 9. Language; 10. Emotion; 11. Consciousness; Part III. Research Programs: 12. Cognitive neuroscience; 13. Evolutionary psychology; 14. Embodied, embedded, and extended cognition; 15. Animal cognition; Glossary.
This thesis has two main goals: (1) to argue that myths are natural products of human cognition; and (2) that structuralism, as introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss, provides an over-arching theory of myth when supplemented and supported by current research in philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, and cognitive anthropology. With regard to (1), we argue that myths are naturally produced by the human mind through individuals’ interaction with their natural and social environments. This interaction is constrained by both the (...) type of body the individual has and the environment in which the individual is situated. From this interaction, we argue, is produced the human-body metaphor which plays an essential role in forming analogical mental models which humans use to navigate, predict, and think about their environment(s). With regard to (2), we argue that these analogical mental models are the structures from which myths are created, just as structural anthropology suggests. (shrink)
In their article “The Concept of Voluntary Consent,” Robert Nelson and colleagues (2011) argue for two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for voluntary action: intentionality, and substantial freedom from controlling influences. They propose an instrument to empirically measure voluntariness, the Decision Making Control Instrument. I argue that (1) their conceptual analysis of intentionality and controlling influences needs expansion in light of the growing use of behavioral economics principles to change individual and public health behaviors (growing in part by the designation (...) of “The Science of Behavior Change” as a new National Institutes of Health [NIH] Roadmap Activity); and (2) that their measure of voluntariness that relies on self-perceived intentionality and extent of control is unreliable, given findings from behavioral economics and cognitivescience that show that our perceptions about the intentionality and control of our own and others’ decisions and actions are remarkably skewed and un-insightful. (shrink)
Does recent work in the cognitive sciences have any implications for theories or methods employed within the philosophy of science itself? It does if one takes a naturalistic approach in which understanding the nature of representations or judgments of representational success in science requires reference to the cognitive capacities or activities of individual scientists. Here I comment on recent contributions from three areas of the cognitive sciences represented respectively by Paul Churchland's neurocomputational perspective, Nancy Nersessian's (...)cognitive-historical approach, and Paul Thagard's computational philosophy of science. The main general conclusion is that we need to replace traditional linguistic notions of representation in science. (shrink)
Humankind : a limited company? -- From volume to point: 1. Philosophy, 2. Religion -- Science : specialised but not special -- Cosmic hierarchies -- Consciousness -- Cognition -- In theory -- Back to Genesis -- The beautiful union.
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.
David Henderson and Terence Horgan set out a broad new approach to epistemology, which they see as a mixed discipline, having both a priori and empirical elements. They defend the roles of a priori reflection and conceptual analysis in philosophy, but their revisionary account of these philosophical methods allows them a subtle but essential empirical dimension. They espouse a dual-perspective position which they call iceberg epistemology, respecting the important differences between epistemic processes that are consciously accessible and those that are (...) not. Reflecting on epistemic justification, they introduce the notion of transglobal reliability as the mark of the cognitive processes that are suitable for humans. Which cognitive processes these are depends on contingent facts about human cognitive capacities, and these cannot be known a priori. (shrink)
This is the first major response to the new challenge of neuroscience to religion. There have been limited responses from a purely Christian point of view, but this takes account of eastern as well as western forms of religious experience. It challenges the prevailing naturalistic assumption of our culture, including the idea that the mind is either identical with or a temporary by-product of brain activity. It also discusses religion as institutions and religion as inner experience of (...) the Transcendent, and suggests a form of spirituality for today. (shrink)
This paper provides a general defense of the idea that the cognitive sciences provide models that are useful for exploring issues that have traditionally occupied philosophers of science. Questions about the nature of theories, for example, are assimilated into studies of the nature of cognitive representations, while questions concerning the choice of theories fall under studies of human judgment and decision making. The implications of adopting "a cognitive approach" are explored, particularly the rejection of foundationist epistemologies (...) which might provide a philosophical justification of science. Instead I suggest a scientific foundation provided by evolutionary biology and the scientific goal of explaining science as a human phenomenon. (shrink)
Miracle and Machine is a sort of "reader's guide" to Jacques Derrida's 1994 essay "faith and knowledge," his most important work on the nature of religion in general and on the unprecedented forms it is taking today through science and the ...
In this discussion, the author asks the question if Oakeshott’s famous depiction of a practice might be understood in relation to contemporary cognitivescience, in particular connectionism (the contemporary cognitivescience approach concerned with the problem of skills and skilled knowing) and in terms of the now conventional view of "normativity" in Anglo-American philosophy. The author suggests that Oakeshott meant to contrast practices to an alternative "Kantian" model of a shared tacit mental frame or set of (...) rules. If cognitivescience, in its connectionist forms, allows us to give a naturalistic though nonreductive sense to his words, Oakeshott, like other philosophers who have employed the concept of tradition, expanded his discussion into a broader reconsideration of the nature of theorizing, a metaphilosophy. And this extension can be understood in relation to such recent thinkers as McDowell and, in particular, to the problem of the acquisition of the normative. Key Words: idealism • Oakeshott • connectionism • normativity. (shrink)
The Cognitive Basis of Science concerns the question 'What makes science possible?' Specifically, what features of the human mind and of human culture and cognitive development permit and facilitate the conduct of science? The essays in this volume address these questions, which are inherently interdisciplinary, requiring co-operation between philosophers, psychologists, and others in the social and cognitive sciences. They concern the cognitive, social, and motivational underpinnings of scientific reasoning in children and lay persons (...) as well as in professional scientists. The editors' introduction lays out the background to the debates, and the volume includes a consolidated bibliography that will be a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great importance to all researchers and students interested in the philosophy or psychology of scientific reasoning, as well as those, more generally, who are interested in the nature of the human mind. (shrink)
All normal human beings alive in the last fifty thousand years appear to have possessed, in Mark Turner's phrase, "irrepressibly artful minds." Cognitively modern minds produced a staggering list of behavioral singularities--science, religion, mathematics, language, advanced tool use, decorative dress, dance, culture, art--that seems to indicate a mysterious and unexplained discontinuity between us and all other living things. This brute fact gives rise to some tantalizing questions: How did the artful mind emerge? What are the basic mental operations (...) that make art possible for us now, and how do they operate? These are the questions that occupy the distinguished contributors to this volume, which emerged from a year-long Getty-funded research project hosted by the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. These scholars bring to bear a range of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives on the relationship between art (broadly conceived), the mind, and the brain. Together they hope to provide directions for a new field of research that can play a significant role in answering the great riddle of human singularity. (shrink)
This paper surveys applications of logical methods in the cognitive sciences. Special attention is paid to non-monotonic logics and complexity theory. We argue that these particular tools have been useful in clarifying the debate between symbolic and connectionist models of cognition.
The commentaries are a promising sign that a research programme on the cognitivescience of souls will continue to move toward empirical and theoretical rigor. Most of the commentators agree that beliefs in personal immortality, in the intelligent design of souls, and in the symbolic meaning of natural events can provide new insight into human social evolution. In this response I clarify and extend the evolutionary model, further emphasizing the adaptiveness of the cognitive system that underlies these (...) beliefs. (shrink)
From a religious studies perspective, Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) succeed in arguing for the influence of evolved cognitive functions in religious phenomena. To develop their argument further, four suggestions are offered: (1) Look beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary; (2) culture matters more than ever; (3) theists need not despair, atheists ought not celebrate; and (4) dreaming is a primal wellspring of religion.
This is the first book to explore the cognitivescience of effortless attention and action. Attention and action are generally understood to require effort, and the expectation is that under normal circumstances effort increases to meet rising demand. Sometimes, however, attention and action seem to flow effortlessly despite high demand. Effortless attention and action have been documented across a range of normal activities--from rock climbing to chess playing--and yet fundamental questions about the cognitivescience of effortlessness (...) have gone largely unasked. -/- This book draws from the disciplines of cognitive psychology, neurophysiology, behavioral psychology, genetics, philosophy, and cross-cultural studies. Starting from the premise that the phenomena of effortless attention and action provide an opportunity to test current models of attention and action, leading researchers from around the world examine topics including effort as a cognitive resource, the role of effort in decision making, the neurophysiology of effortless attention and action, the role of automaticity in effortless action, expert performance in effortless action, and the neurophysiology and benefits of attentional training. -/- Contributors: Joshua M. Ackerman, James H. Austin, John A. Bargh, Roy F. Baumeister, Sian L. Beilock, Chris Blais, Matthew M. Botvinick, Brian Bruya, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Marci S. DeCaro, Arne Dietrich, Yuri Dormashev, László Harmat, Bernhard Hommel, Rebecca Lewthwaite, Örjan de Manzano, Joseph T. McGuire, Brian P. Meier, Arlen C. Moller, Jeanne Nakamura, Evgeny N. Osin, Michael I. Posner, Mary K. Rothbart, M. R. Rueda, Brandon J. Schmeichel, Edward Slingerland, Oliver Stoll, Yiyuan Tang, Töres Theorell, Fredrik Ullén, Robert D. Wall, Gabriele Wulf. (shrink)
This paper questions and criticizes the employment of critical realism in the field of ‘science and religion’. Referring to the texts of four main actors in this field, I demonstrate how the choice of critical realism is justified by a (disguised) apologetic interest in defending the epistemic privilege of the theological enterprise against that of the natural sciences. I argue that this is possible thanks to the reactivation of ‘theological potential’ latent in some under-examined assumptions and conceptual structures (...) still at work within philosophy of science and scientific epistemology. (shrink)
A relatively new and exciting area of collaboration has begun between philosophy of mind and ethics. This paper attempts to explore aspects of this collaboration and how they bear upon traditional ethics. It is the author's contention that much of Western moral philosophy has been guided by largely unrecognized assumptions regarding reason, knowledge and conceptualization, and that when examined against empirical research in cognitivescience, these assumptions turn out to be false -- or at the very least, unrealistic (...) for creatures with our cognitive structures. The fundamental tension between the Western idea of morality (as basically rule-following) and the way in which people actually confront and experience moral dilemmas is a result of our failure to take the insights of cognitive psychology seriously. This failure has had a dramatic impact on not only how we teach ethics, but how we attempt to live out lives. (shrink)
Cognitive values are the charactenstics that are constitutive of "good" theories, the criteria to which we appeal when choosing among compeang theories. I argue that, in order to count as a cognitive value, a characteristic must be needed to expiam actually made theory choices, and its cognitive significance must be well defended espectally in view of considerations derived from the objective of science. A number of proposed objectives of science are entertained, and it is argued (...) that adopting a particular objective is dialectically intertwined with commitment to certain social values. Then, the ways in which science is, and is not value free is explored briefly, leading to the identification of a level of analysis where values may influence theory choice without causing paradox or threatening the impartiality of soundly-made scientific judgments. (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)
The vast majority of experimental studies of music to date have explored music in terms of the processes involved in the perception and cognition of complex sonic patterns that can elicit emotion. This paper argues that this conception of music is at odds both with recent Western musical scholarship and with ethnomusicological models, and that it presents a partial and culture-specific representation of what may be a generic human capacity. It argues that the cognitive sciences must actively engage with (...) the problems of exploring music as manifested and conceived in the broad spectrum of world cultures, not only to elucidate the diversity of music in mind but also to identify potential commonalities that could illuminate the relationships between music and other domains of thought and behavior. (shrink)
Is the science of moral cognition usefully modeled on aspects of Universal Grammar? Are human beings born with an innate "moral grammar" that causes them to analyze human action in terms of its moral structure, with just as little awareness as they analyze human speech in terms of its grammatical structure? Questions like these have been at the forefront of moral psychology ever since John Mikhail revived them in his influential work on the linguistic analogy and its implications for (...) jurisprudence and moral theory. In this seminal book, Mikhail offers a careful and sustained analysis of the moral grammar hypothesis, showing how some of John Rawls' original ideas about the linguistic analogy, together with famous thought experiments like the trolley problem, can be used to improve our understanding of moral and legal judgment. The book will be of interest to philosophers, cognitive scientists, legal scholars, and other researchers in the interdisciplinary field of moral psychology. (shrink)
Advances in cognitivescience are relevant to the debate between moral pluralism and absolutism. Parametric structure, which plausibly underlies syntax, gives some idea of how pluralism might be true. The cognitive mechanisms underlying mathematical intelligence give some idea of how far absolutism is right. Advances in cognitivescience should help us better understand the extent to which we are divided and how far we are potentially harmonious in our values.
Abstract Stephen Jay Gould's NOMA (nonoverlapping magisteria) theory was meant to be an alternative to the traditional “conflict model” regarding the relationship between science and religion. But NOMA has been plagued with problems from the beginning. The problem most acutely felt was that of demarcating the disciplines of science and theology. This paper is an attempt to retain the insights of NOMA and the conflict model, while eliminating their shortcomings. It acknowledges with the conflict model that the (...) conflict is real, but not necessarily a fight unto death. It agrees with the NOMA that the two are different kinds of disciplines, and it goes on to spell out the difference in some detail. They turn out to be so radically different that the two cannot be reconciled by keeping one away from the other's turf, as NOMA suggests, but may be reconciled through a fusion of horizons in the Gadamerian sense. (shrink)
The model of memory as a store, from which records can be retrieved, is taken for granted by many contemporary researchers. On this view, memories are stored by memory traces, which represent the original event and provide a causal link between that episode and one's ability to remember it. I argue that this seemingly plausible model leads to an unacceptable conception of the relationship between mind and brain, and that a non-representational, connectionist, model offers a promising alternative. I also offer (...) a new reading of Wittgenstein's paradoxical remarks about thought and brain processes: as a critique of the cognitivist thesis that information stored in the brain has a linguistic structure and a particular location. On this reading, Wittgenstein's criticism foreshadows some of the most promising contemporary work on connectionist models of neural functioning. (shrink)
What van Gelder calls the dynamical hypothesis is only a special case of what we here dub the general dynamical hypothesis. His terminology makes it easy to overlook important alternative dynamical approaches in cognitivescience. Connectionist models typically conform to the general dynamical hypothesis, but not to van Gelder's.
The Phenomenological Mind, by Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zahavi, is part of a recent initiative to show that phenomenology, classically conceived as the tradition inaugurated by Edmund Husserl and not as mere introspection, contributes something important to cognitivescience. (For other examples, see “References” below.) Phenomenology, of course, has been a part of cognitivescience for a long time. It implicitly informs the works of Andy Clark (e.g. 1997) and John Haugeland (e.g. 1998), and Hubert Dreyfus (...) explicitly uses it (e.g. 1992). But where the former use phenomenology in the background as broad context and Dreyfus uses it primarily (though not exclusively) as a critique of conventional AI, Gallagher and Zahavi wish to indicate a positive and constructive place for it within cognitivescience. They do not recommend that we simply accept pronouncements of thinkers like Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau‐Ponty and apply them to questions of cognition, but that we use revised forms of phenomenology to illuminate dimensions of cognitive experience that are missing in current research. The book is presented as an “introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitivescience” written from a phenomenological perspective. It seeks to justify the use of phenomenology in cognitivescience by showing what kinds of questions it asks and answers, the variety of uses to which it has recently been put and the fruitfulness of some of its findings. The catalog of topics, for the most part, matches other introductions to the philosophy of mind, such as questions of method, consciousness, perception, intentionality, embodiment, action, agency and other minds. One issue presented here that is not generally dealt with in existing philosophy of mind and cognitivescience texts is temporality, a mainstay of the continental tradition. After an introductory chapter that places phenomenology in the context of other approaches, the book lays out the main tenets of phenomenological method. Here, one encounters expected components of phenomenology: the epoché (described below), phenomenological reduction, eidetic variation, and so on. This traditional fare is soon followed by some potential surprises, namely, attempts to “naturalize” phenomenology, a few attempts to formalize it, and the emergence of ‘neurophenomenology’. Each of these is a bit surprising because Husserl was a vocal critic of naturalism, seeing transcendental phenomenology as an alternative to the empirical study of consciousness. He was also skeptical about the possibilities of mathematizing phenomenology. Gallagher and Zahavi acknowledge these points, but since they are not repeating history or undertaking exegesis, strict adherence to canonical phenomenology is not required. Naturalizing phenomenology means recognizing that “the phenomena it studies are part of nature and are therefore also open to empirical investigation” (p.. (shrink)
Although philosophy has often been an outlier in cognitivescience to date, this paper describes two projects in naturalistic philosophy of mind and one in naturalistic philosophy of science that have been pursued during the past 30 years and that can make theoretical and methodological contributions to cognitivescience. First, stances on the mind-body problem (identity theory, functionalism, and heuristic identity theory) are relevant to cognitivescience as it negotiates its relation to neuroscience (...) and cognitive neuroscience. Second, analyses of mental representation address both their vehicle and their content; new approaches to characterizing how representations have content are particularly relevant to understanding the relation of cognitive agents to their environments. Third, the recently formulated accounts of mechanistic explanation in philosophy of science both provide perspective on the explanatory project of cognitivescience and may offer normative guidance to cognitivescience (e.g., by providing perspective on how multiple disciplinary perspectives can be integrated in understanding a given mechanism). (shrink)
Philosophy interfaces with cognitivescience in three distinct but related areas. First, there is the usual set of issues that fall under the heading of philosophy of science (explanation, reduction, etc.), applied to the special case of cognitivescience. Second, there is the endeavor of taking results from cognitivescience as bearing upon traditional philosophical questions about the mind, such as the nature of mental representation, consciousness, free will, perception, emotions, memory, etc. Third.
The use of brain scanning now dominates the cognitive sciences, but important questions remain to be answered about what, exactly, scanning can tell us. One corner of cognitivescience that has been transformed by the use of neuroimaging, and that a scanning enthusiast might point to as proof of scanning's importance, is the study of face perception. Against this view, we argue that the use of scanning has, in fact, told us rather little about the information processing (...) underlying face perception and that it is not likely to tell us much more. (shrink)
Cognitivescience has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitivescience should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel's (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitivescience, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitivescience, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically-oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of non-representational, dynamical cognitivescience, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp and Turvey 2009). We (...) then propose a philosophy of science appropriate to non-representational, dynamical cognitivescience. (shrink)
John Searle believes that computational properties are purely formal and that consequently, computational properties are not intrinsic, empirically discoverable, nor causal; and therefore, that an entity’s having certain computational properties could not be sufficient for its having certain mental properties. To make his case, Searle’s employs an argument that had been used before him by Max Newman, against Russell’s structuralism; one that Russell himself considered fatal to his own position. This paper formulates a not-so-explored version of Searle’s problem with computational (...)cognitivescience, and refutes it by suggesting how our understanding of computation is far from implying the structuralism Searle vitally attributes to it. On the way, I formulate and argue for a thesis that strengthens Newman’s case against Russell’s structuralism, and thus raises the apparent risk for computational cognitivescience too. (shrink)
While the influential analytical philosopher Hilary Putnam has made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and philosophy of science, he isn't generally regarded as a philosopher of religion or a theologian. Nonetheless, I argue that his work should be of great interest to philosophers of religion and theologians. Focusing on the relationship between science and religion, this paper explores the importance of Putnam's attempt to reconcile his anti-metaphysical stance and his commitment to (...) a religious form of life for theology. I first demonstrate why an anti-metaphysical stance and a commitment to Judaism can be deemed contradictory, and then characterize Putnam's anti-metaphysical stance as a modus vivendi to avoid both of what I call analytic and scientistic metaphysics. In a third step I offer my interpretation of Putnam's way of relating science and religion without metaphysics in the qualified sense, and subsequently spell out some important consequences of the emerging picture for theology. In my conclusion I give an account of Putnam as a transitional thinker, and draw a parallel between some of his work and Kierkegaard's “leap of faith”. (shrink)