Dynamicalsystemstheory (DST) is gaining popularity in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. Recently several authors (e.g. J.A.S. Kelso, 1995; A. Juarrero, 1999; F. Varela and E. Thompson, 2001) offered a DST approach to mental causation as an alternative for models of mental causation in the line of Jaegwon Kim (e.g. 1998). They claim that some dynamicalsystems exhibit a form of global to local determination or downward causation in that the large-scale, global activity (...) of the system governs or constrains local interactions. This form of downward causation is the key to the DST model of mental causation. In this paper I evaluate the DST approach to mental causation. I will argue that the main problem for current DST approaches to mental causation is that they lack a clear metaphysics. I propose one metaphysical framework (Gillett, 2002a/b/c) that might deal with this deficiency. (shrink)
The concepts and powerful mathematical tools of DynamicalSystemsTheory (DST) yield illuminating methods of studying cognitive processes, and are even claimed by some to enable us to bridge the notorious explanatory gap separating mind and matter. This article includes an analysis of some of the conceptual and empirical progress DynamicalSystemsTheory is claimed to accomodate. While sympathetic to the dynamicist program in principle, this article will attempt to formulate a series of problems (...) the proponents of the approach in question will need to face if they wish to prolong their optimism. The main points to be addressed involve the reductive tendencies inherent in DynamicalSystemsTheory, its somewhat muddled position relative to connectionism, the metaphorical nature DST-C exhibits which hinders its explanatory potential, and DST-C's problematic account of causality. Brief discussions of the mathematical and philosophical backgrounds of DST, seminal experimental work and possible adaptations of the theory or alternative suggestions (dynamicist connectionism, neurophenomenology, R&D theory) are included. (shrink)
We define a mathematical formalism based on the concept of an ‘‘open dynamical system” and show how it can be used to model embodied cognition. This formalism extends classical dynamicalsystemstheory by distinguishing a ‘‘total system’’ (which models an agent in an environment) and an ‘‘agent system’’ (which models an agent by itself), and it includes tools for analyzing the collections of overlapping paths that occur in an embedded agent's state space. To illustrate the way (...) this formalism can be applied, several neural network models are embedded in a simple model environment. Such phenomena as masking, perceptual ambiguity, and priming are then observed. We also use this formalism to reinterpret examples from the embodiment literature, arguing that it provides for a more thorough analysis of the relevant phenomena. (shrink)
Human participants and recurrent (“connectionist”) neural networks were both trained on a categorization system abstractly similar to natural language systems involving irregular (“strong”) classes and a default class. Both the humans and the networks exhibited staged learning and a generalization pattern reminiscent of the Elsewhere Condition (Kiparsky, 1973). Previous connectionist accounts of related phenomena have often been vague about the nature of the networks’ encoding systems. We analyzed our network using dynamicalsystemstheory, revealing topological (...) and geometric properties that can be directly compared with the mechanisms of non-connectionist, rule-based accounts. The results reveal that the networks “contain” structures related to mechanisms posited by rule-based models, partly vindicating the insights of these models. On the other hand, they support the one mechanism (OM), as opposed to the more than one mechanism (MOM), view of symbolic abstraction by showing how the appearance of MOM behavior can arise emergently from one underlying set of principles. The key new contribution of this study is to show that dynamicalsystemstheory can allow us to explicitly characterize the relationship between the two perspectives in implemented models. (shrink)
It is often claimed (1) that levels of nature are related by supervenience, and (2) that processes occurring at particular levels of nature should be studied using dynamicalsystemstheory. However, there has been little consideration of how these claims are related. To address the issue, I show how supervenience relations give rise to ‘supervenience functions’, and use these functions to show how dynamicalsystems at different levels are related to one another. I then use (...) this analysis to describe a graded approach to non-reductive physicalism, and to critically assess Davidson’s arguments for psychological anomaly. I also show how this approach can inform empirical research in cognitive science. (shrink)
On an influential account, chaos is explained in terms of random behaviour; and random behaviour in turn is explained in terms of having positive Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy (KSE). Though intuitively plausible, the association of the KSE with random behaviour needs justification since the definition of the KSE does not make reference to any notion that is connected to randomness. I provide this justification for the case of Hamiltonian systems by proving that the KSE is equivalent to a generalized version of (...) Shannon's communication-theoretic entropy under certain plausible assumptions. I then discuss consequences of this equivalence for randomness in chaotic dynamicalsystems. Introduction Elements of dynamicalsystemstheory Entropy in communication theory Entropy in dynamicalsystemstheory Comparison with other accounts Product versus process randomness. (shrink)
A study of shifts in scientific strategies for measuring the living body, especially in dynamic systemstheory: (1) sheds light on Hegel's concept of measure in The Science of Logic, and the dialectical transition from categories of being to categories of essence; (2) shows how Hegel's speculative logic anticipates and analyzes key tensions in scientific attempts to measure and conceive the dynamic agency of the body. The study's analysis of the body as having an essentially dynamic (...) identity irreducible to measurement aims to contribute to reconceiving the body, in a way that may be helpful to overcoming dualism. (shrink)
Contemporary thought, whether it be in psychology, biology, immunology, philosophy of perception or philosophy of mind, is confronted with the breakdown of barriers between organism and environment, self and other, subject and object, perceiver and perceived. In this paper I show how Merleau-Ponty can help us think about this problem, by attending to a methodological theme in the background of his dialectical conception of embodiment. In La structure du comportement, Merleau-Ponty conceives life as extension folding back upon itself so as (...) to reveal Hegel’s ‘hidden mind of nature.’ In the Phénoménologie de la perception, radical reflection elucidates the body schema as an essence that reveals itself within embodied existence, qua shaping the natural perceptual dialogue in which the perceiver and the perceived permeate and separate from one another. In these two conceptions of embodiment, we progressively see how the dialectical principle of embodiment must reveal and conceive itself within embodiment itself. Science, on the other hand, follows the phenomena of the body to a certain point, but refuses to allow that embodiment is self-conceptual. I illustrate this using the example of dynamic systemstheory, an inheritor of the tradition of J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology. In this way, I show how Merleau-Ponty’s conception of the dialectic of embodiment as self-conceptual is important to problems in contemporary thought. (shrink)
Lewis's dynamicalsystems emotion theory continues a tradition including Merleau-Ponty, von Bertallanfy, and Aristotle. Understandably for a young theory, Lewis's new predictions do not follow strictly from the theory; thus their failure would not disconfirm the theory, nor their success confirm it – especially given that other self-organizational approaches to emotion (e.g., those of Ellis and of Newton) may not be inconsistent with these same predictions.
I propose a semi-eliminative reduction of Fodors concept of module to the concept of attractor basin which is used in Cognitive Dynamic SystemsTheory (DST). I show how attractor basins perform the same explanatory function as modules in several DST based research program. Attractor basins in some organic dynamic systems have even been able to perform cognitive functions which are equivalent to the If/Then/Else loop in the computer language LISP. I suggest directions for future research programs which (...) could find similar equivalencies between organic dynamic systems and other cognitive functions. This type of research could help us discover how (and/or if) it is possible to use Dynamic SystemsTheory to more accurately model the cognitive functions that are now being modeled by subroutines in Symbolic AI computer models. If such a reduction of subroutines to basins of attraction is possible, it could free AI from the limitations that prompted Fodor to say that it was impossible to model certain higher level cognitive functions. (shrink)
The concept of complementarity, originally defined for non-commuting observables of quantum systems with states of non-vanishing dispersion, is extended to classical dynamicalsystems with a partitioned phase space. Interpreting partitions in terms of ensembles of epistemic states (symbols) with corresponding classical observables, it is shown that such observables are complementary to each other with respect to particular partitions unless those partitions are generating. This explains why symbolic descriptions based on an ad hoc partition of an underlying phase (...) space description should generally be expected to be incompatible. Related approaches with different background and different objectives are discussed. (shrink)
The acronym Developmental systemstheory (DST) has been introduced into the literature on development in at least three different contexts in recent years – twice for DST, and before that, for DynamicalSystemsTheory – and in all cases, to designate a new perspective for understanding development. Subtle but significant differences in argument and aims distinguish these uses, and confound the difficulty of saying just what DST is. My aim in this paper is to disambiguate (...) these different terms – both to call attention to the difference of perspectives, and to carve out a conceptual space for the concrete issues at stake. (shrink)
From his earliest work forward, Merleau-Ponty attempted to develop a new ontology of nature that would avoid the antinomies of realism and idealism by showing that nature has its own endogenous sense which is prior to reflection. The key to this new ontology was the concept of form, which he appropriated from Gestalt psychology. However, Merleau-Ponty struggled to give a positive characterization of the phenomenon of form which would clarify its ontological status. Evan Thompson has recently taken up Merleau-Ponty’s ontology (...) as the basis for a new, “enactive” approach to cognitive science, synthesizing it with concepts from dynamic systemstheory and Francisco Varela’s theory of autopoiesis. However, Thompson does not quite succeed in resolving the ambiguities in Merleau-Ponty’s account of form. This article builds on an indication from Thompson in order to propose a new account of form as asymmetry, and of the genesis of form in nature as symmetry-breaking. These concepts help us to escape the antinomies of Modern thought by showing how nature is the autoproduction of a sense which can only be known by an embodied perceiver. (shrink)
A novel conceptual framework is introduced for the Complexity Levels Theory in a Categorical Ontology of Space and Time. This conceptual and formal construction is intended for ontological studies of Emergent Biosystems, Super-complex Dynamics, Evolution and Human Consciousness. A claim is defended concerning the universal representation of an item’s essence in categorical terms. As an essential example, relational structures of living organisms are well represented by applying the important categorical concept of natural transformations to biomolecular reactions and relational structures (...) that emerge from the latter in living systems. Thus, several relational theories of living systems can be represented by natural transformations of organismic, relational structures. The ascent of man and other living organisms through adaptation, is viewed in novel categorical terms, such as variable biogroupoid representations of evolving species. Such precise but flexible evolutionary concepts will allow the further development of the unifying theme of local-to-global approaches to highly complex systems in order to represent novel patterns of relations that emerge in super- and ultra-complex systems in terms of compositions of local procedures. Solutions to such local-to-global problems in highly complex systems with ‘broken symmetry’ might be possible to be reached with the help of higher homotopy theorems in algebraic topology such as the generalized van Kampen theorems (HHvKT). Categories of many-valued, Łukasiewicz-Moisil (LM) logic algebras provide useful concepts for representing the intrinsic dynamic ‘asymmetry’ of genetic networks in organismic development and evolution, as well as to derive novel results for (non-commutative) Quantum Logics. Furthermore, as recently pointed out by Baianu and Poli (Theory and applications of ontology, vol 1. Springer, Berlin, in press), LM-logic algebras may also provide the appropriate framework for future developments of the ontological theory of levels with its complex/entangled/intertwined ramifications in psychology, sociology and ecology. As shown in the preceding two papers in this issue, a paradigm shift towards non-commutative, or non-Abelian, theories of highly complex dynamics—which is presently unfolding in physics, mathematics, life and cognitive sciences—may be implemented through realizations of higher dimensional algebras in neurosciences and psychology, as well as in human genomics, bioinformatics and interactomics. (shrink)
We give a review of some works where it is shown that certain quantum-like features are exhibited by classical systems. Two kinds of problems are considered. The first one concerns the specific heat of crystals (the so called Fermi–Pasta–Ulam problem), where a glassy behavior is observed, and the energy distribution is found to be of Planck-like type. The second kind of problems concerns the self-interaction of a charged particle with the electromagnetic field, where an analog of the tunnel effect (...) is proven to exist, and moreover some nonlocal effects are exhibited, leading to a natural hidden variable theory which violates Bell's inequalities. (shrink)
Although we applaud the interactivist approach to language and communication taken in the target article, we notice that Shanker & King (S&K) give little attention to the theoretical frameworks developed by dynamical system theorists. We point out how the dynamical idea of causality, viewed as multidirectional across multiple scales of organization, could further strengthen the position taken in the target article.
This paper aims at a logico-mathematical analysis of the concept of chaos from the point of view of a constructivist philosophy of physics. The idea of an internal logic of chaos theory is meant as an alternative to a realist conception of chaos. A brief historical overview of the theory of dynamicalsystems is provided in order to situate the philosophical problem in the context of probability theory. A finitary probabilistic account of chaos amounts to (...) the theory of measurement in the line of a quantum-theoretical foundational perspective and the paper concludes on the non-classical internal logic of chaos theory. Finally, deterministic chaos points to a philosophy which asserts that chaotic systems are no less measurable than other physical systems where predictable and non–predictable phenomena intermingle in a constructive theory of measurement. (shrink)
Dynamo: Diagrams for Evolutionary Game Dynamics is free, open-source software used to create phase diagrams and other images related to dynamicalsystems from evolutionary game theory. We describe how to use the software’s default settings to generate phase diagrams quickly and easily. We then explain how to take advantage of the software’s intermediate and advanced features to create diagrams that highlight the key properties of the dynamical system under study. Sample code and output are provided to (...) help demonstrate the software’s capabilities. (shrink)
Husserl is well known for his critique of the “mathematizing tendencies” of modern science, and is particularly emphatic that mathematics and phenomenology are distinct and in some sense incompatible. But Husserl himself uses mathematical methods in phenomenology. In the first half of the paper I give a detailed analysis of this tension, showing how those Husserlian doctrines which seem to speak against application of mathematics to phenomenology do not in fact do so. In the second half of the paper I (...) focus on a particular example of Husserl’s “mathematized phenomenology”: his use of concepts from what is today called dynamicalsystemstheory. (shrink)
The recent move to naturalize phenomenology through a mathematical protocol is a significant advance in consciousness research. It enables a new and fruitful level of dialogue between the cognitive sciences and phenomenology of such a nuanced kind that it also prompts advancement in our phenomenological analyses. But precisely what is going on at this point of ‘dialogue’ between phenomenological descriptions and mathematical algorithms, the latter of which are based on dynamicalsystemstheory? It will be shown that (...) what is happening is something more than a mere ‘passing of the baton’ from phenomenology to mathematics. For this sophisticated naturalization to prove a worthy endeavour it must produce more than just correlation, it must prove some form of interrelation to the extent that phenomenology is deterministic. But such interrelational and deterministic requirements are the start of a slippery slope, and it will be argued that this slope only loses more friction once a further demand of formal and precise descriptions is made of phenomenology. Such deterministic and formally precise demands misconstrue phenomenology’s ideal goal of a unification of genuine/originary reason and truth. Not a deductive and definitive discipline, phenomenology is rather from the outset descriptive and critical. Phenomenology’s descriptive beginnings will thus be employed as an essential barrier to the naturalization of phenomenology. (shrink)
There is a growing realization in cognitive science that a theory of embodied intersubjectivity is needed to better account for social cognition. We highlight some challenges that must be addressed by attempts to interpret ‘simulation theory’ in terms of embodiment, and argue for an alternative approach that integrates phenomenology and dynamicalsystemstheory in a mutually informing manner. Instead of ‘simulation’ we put forward the concept of the ‘extended body’, an enactive and phenomenological notion that (...) emphasizes the socially mediated nature of embodiment. To illustrate the explanatory potential of this approach, we replicate an agent-based model of embodied social interaction. An analysis of the model demonstrates that the extended body can be explained in terms of mutual dynamical entanglement: inter-bodily resonance between individuals can give rise to self-sustaining interaction patterns that go beyond the behavioral capacities of isolated individuals by modulating their intra-bodily conditions of behavior generation. (shrink)
The dynamicalsystems approach in cognitive science offers a potentially useful perspective on both brain and behavior. Indeed, the importation of formal tools from dynamicalsystems research has already paid off for our field in many ways. However, like some other theoretical perspectives in cognitive science, the dynamicalsystems approach comes in both moderate or pragmatic and “fundamentalist” varieties (Jones & Love, 2011). In the latter form, dynamicalsystemstheory can rise (...) to some stirring rhetorical heights. However, as argued here, it also triggers a number of serious and specific reservations. (shrink)
Gibson developed the affordance concept to complement his theory of direct perception that stands in sharp contrast with the prevalent inferential theories of perception. A comparison of the two approaches shows that the distinction between them also has an ontological aspect. We trace the history and newer formalizations of the notion of affordance and discuss some competing opinions on its scope. Next, empirical work on the affordance concept is reviewed in brief and the relevance of dynamicalsystems (...)theory to affordance research is demonstrated. Finally, the striking but often neglected convergence of the ideas of Gibson and those of certain Continental philosophers is discussed. (shrink)
Abstract Although noting the importance of organization in mechanisms, the new mechanistic philosophers of science have followed most biologists in focusing primarily on only the simplest mode of organization in which operations are envisaged as occurring sequentially. Increasingly, though, biologists are recognizing that the mechanisms they confront are non-sequential and the operations nonlinear. To understand how such mechanisms function through time, they are turning to computational models and tools of dynamicalsystemstheory. Recent research on circadian rhythms (...) addressing both intracellular mechanisms and the intercellular networks in which these mechanisms are synchronized illuminates this point. This and other recent research in biology shows that the new mechanistic philosophers of science must expand their account of mechanistic explanation to incorporate computational modeling, yielding dynamical mechanistic explanations. Developing such explanations, however, is a challenge for both the scientists and the philosophers as there are serious tensions between mechanistic and dynamical approaches to science, and there are important opportunities for philosophers of science to contribute to surmounting these tensions. Content Type Journal Article Category Original paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s13194-012-0046-x Authors William Bechtel, Department of Philosophy, Center for Chronobiology, and Science Studies Program, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0119, USA Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912. (shrink)
The author discusses Niklas Luhmann's concept of ethics and morals. Therefore he sketches the main traits of Luhmann's theory of systems (e.g. the terms autopoiesis, system and environment, code and programme). From the system-theoretical point of view, ethics are characterized as the reflexive theory of morals. Morals are described as the communication of regard or disregard. The author shows which consequences follow from this concept by discussing problems concerning several subsystems at the same time. The problems of (...) Luhmann's theory of morals and ethics are demonstrated by analyzing the concepts of risk and responsibility. Finally, the author demands that ethics should be understood even more as social ethics which reflect upon their social foundation in a more consequent way. (shrink)
Developmental systemstheory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
Efforts to bridge emotion theory with neurobiology can be facilitated by dynamic systems (DS) modeling. DS principles stipulate higher-order wholes emerging from lower-order constituents through bidirectional causal processes cognition relations. I then present a psychological model based on this reconceptualization, identifying trigger, self-amplification, and self-stabilization phases of emotion-appraisal states, leading to consolidating traits. The article goes on to describe neural structures and functions involved in appraisal and emotion, as well as DS mechanisms of integration by which they interact. (...) These mechanisms include nested feedback interactions, global effects of neuromodulation, vertical integration, action-monitoring, and synaptic plasticity, and they are modeled in terms of both functional integration and temporal synchronization. I end by elaborating the psychological model of emotion–appraisal states with reference to neural processes. (shrink)
Millers Living SystemsTheory (LST) is known to be very comprehensive. It comprises eight nested hierarchical levels. It also includes twenty critical subsystems. While Millers approach has been analyzed and applied in great detail, some problematic features remain, requiring further explication. One of these is the relationship between reduction and emergence in LST. There are at least four relevant possibilities. One is that LST exhibits neither clear reductionism nor emergence, but is essentially neutral in this regard. Another is (...) that the apparent comprehensiveness of LST is illusory, as the approach remains vulnerable to reduction that could ultimately reduce it to a shadow of its present self. The charge of reductionism has been made by critics leading Miller to defend this theory vehemently as nonreductionist in nature. A third possibility is that LST is not reductionist, but is in fact an emergent theory. Miller makes this claim quite strongly. A fourth possibility, and in some ways the most analytically problematic, is that LST exhibits evidence of both reductionism and emergence simultaneously. Some critics might see this fourth situation as evidence of a troubling paradox or anomaly that must be resolved before further progress can be made in the explication and application of LST. The purpose of the paper is to remove this apparent anomaly. The paper removes this anomaly by differentiating between new-variable emergence and transformational emergence. No concrete evidence is found to contradict Milers claim of emergence in LST, and thus no true anomaly exists. (shrink)
The Visual World Paradigm (VWP) presents listeners with a challenging problem: They must integrate two disparate signals, the spoken language and the visual context, in support of action (e.g., complex movements of the eyes across a scene). We present Impulse Processing, a dynamicalsystems approach to incremental eye movements in the visual world that suggests a framework for integrating language, vision, and action generally. Our approach assumes that impulses driven by the language and the visual context impinge minutely (...) on a dynamical landscape of attractors corresponding to the potential eye-movement behaviors of the system. We test three unique predictions of our approach in an empirical study in the VWP, and describe an implementation in an artificial neural network. We discuss the Impulse Processing framework in relation to other models of the VWP. (shrink)
Using the concepts of chaotic dynamicalsystems, we present an interpretation of dynamic neural activity found in cortical and subcortical areas. The discovery of chaotic itinerancy in high-dimensional dynamicalsystems with and without a noise term has motivated a new interpretation of this dynamic neural activity, cast in terms of the high-dimensional transitory dynamics among “exotic” attractors. This interpretation is quite different from the conventional one, cast in terms of simple behavior on low-dimensional attractors. Skarda and (...) Freeman (1987) presented evidence in support of the conclusion that animals cannot memorize odor without chaotic activity of neuron populations. Following their work, we study the role of chaotic dynamics in biological information processing, perception, and memory. We propose a new coding scheme of information in chaos-driven contracting systems we refer to as Cantor coding. Since these systems are found in the hippocampal formation and also in the olfactory system, the proposed coding scheme should be of biological significance. Based on these intensive studies, a hypothesis regarding the formation of episodic memory is given. Key Words: Cantor coding; chaotic itinerancy; dynamic aspects of the brain; dynamic associative memory; episodic memory; high-dimensional dynamicalsystems; SCND attractors. (shrink)
Traditional approaches to modeling cognitive systems are computational, based on utilizing the standard tools and concepts of the theory of computation. More recently, a number of philosophers have argued that cognition is too subtle or complex for these tools to handle. These philosophers propose an alternative based on dynamicalsystemstheory. Proponents of this view characterize dynamicalsystems as (i) utilizing continuous rather than discrete mathematics, and, as a result, (ii) being computationally more (...) powerful than traditional computational automata. Indeed, the logical possibility of such super-powerful systems has been demonstrated in the form of analog artificial neural networks. In this paper I consider three arguments against the nomological possibility of these automata. While the first two arguments fail, the third succeeds. In particular, the presence of noise reduces the computational power of analog networks to that of traditional computational automata, and noise is a pervasive feature of information processing in biological systems. Consequently, as an empirical thesis, the proposed dynamical alternative is under-motivated: What is required is an account of how continuously valued systems could be realized in physical systems despite the ubiquity of noise. (shrink)
The idea that quantum randomness can be reduced to randomness of classical fields (fluctuating at time and space scales which are essentially finer than scales approachable in modern quantum experiments) is rather old. Various models have been proposed, e.g., stochastic electrodynamics or the semiclassical model. Recently a new model, so called prequantum classical statistical field theory (PCSFT), was developed. By this model a “quantum system” is just a label for (so to say “prequantum”) classical random field. Quantum averages can (...) be represented as classical field averages. Correlations between observables on subsystems of a composite system can be as well represented as classical correlations. In particular, it can be done for entangled systems. Creation of such classical field representation demystifies quantum entanglement. In this paper we show that quantum dynamics (given by Schrödinger’s equation) of entangled systems can be represented as the stochastic dynamics of classical random fields. The “effect of entanglement” is produced by classical correlations which were present at the initial moment of time, cf. views of Albert Einstein. (shrink)
We review some techniques and notions for quantum information theory. It is shown that the dynamical entropies is discussed and some numerical computations of these entropies are carried for several states.
Lewis describes the developmental core of dynamic systemstheory. I offer recent data from developmental neuroscience on the sequential experience-dependent maturation of components of the limbic system over the stages of infancy. Increasing interconnectivity within the vertically integrated limbic system allows for more complex appraisals of emotional value. The earliest organization of limbic structures has an enduring impact on all later emotional processing.
Dynamic systemstheory is a way of describing the patterns that emerge from relationships in the universe. In the study of interpersonal relationships, within and between species, the scientist is an active and engaged participant in those relationships. Separation between self and other, scientist and subject, runs counter to systems thinking and creates an unnecessary divide between humans and animals.
Dynamic systemstheory (DS) provides tools for exploring how simpler elements can interact to produce complex psychological configurations. It may, as Lewis demonstrates, provide means for explicating relationships between two reductionist approaches to overlapping sets of phenomena. The result is a description of psychological phenomena at a level that begins to achieve the richness we would hope to achieve in examining psychological life as it is experienced and explored in psychoanalysis.
Neural organization contains a wealth of facts from all areas of brain research and provides a useful overview of physiological data for those working outside the immediate field. Furthermore, it gives a good example that the approach of dynamical system theory together with the concepts of cooperative and competitive interaction can be fruitful for an interdisciplinary approach to cognition.
Many who advocate dynamicalsystems approaches to cognitive science believe themselves committed to the thesis of extended cognition and to the rejection of representation. I argue that this belief is false. In part, this misapprehension rests on a warrantless re-conception of cognition as intelligent behavior. In part also, it rests on thinking that conceptual issues can be resolved empirically. Once these issues are sorted out, the way is cleared for a dynamicalsystems approach to cognition that (...) is free to retain the standard conception of cognition as taking place in the head, and over representations. (shrink)
Bridging between psychological and neurobiological systems requires that the system components are closely specified at both the psychological and brain levels of analysis. We argue that in developing his dynamic systemstheory framework, Lewis has sidestepped the notion of a psychological level systems model altogether, and has taken a partisan approach to his exposition of a brain-level systems model.
Progress in the last few decades in what is widely known as “Chaos Theory” has plainly advanced understanding in the several sciences it has been applied to. But the manner in which such progress has been achieved raises important questions about scientific method and, indeed, about the very objectives and character of science. In this presentation, I hope to engage my audience in a discussion of several of these important new topics.
In this commentary, we question (1) how embodied Thelen et al.'s model is relative to their aims, and (2) how embodied the behavior of children is in particular response systems, relative to how much dynamic systemstheory emphasizes this idea. We close with corrections to mischaracterizations of an alternative, neural network perspective on infant behavior.
Cognitive science's basic premises are under attack. In particular, its focus on internal cognitive processes is a target. Intelligence is increasingly interpreted, not as a matter of reclusive thought, but as successful agent-environment interaction. The critics claim that a major reorientation of the field is necessary. However, this will only occur when there is a distinct alternative conceptual framework to replace the old one. Whether or not a serious alternative is provided is not clear. Among the critics there is some (...) consensus, however, that this role could be fulfilled by the concept of a 'behavioral system'. This integrates agent and environment into one encompassing general system. We will discuss two contexts in which the behavioral systems idea is being developed. Autonomous Agents Research is the enterprise of building behavior-based robots. DynamicalSystemsTheory provides a mathematical framework well suited for describing the interactions between complex systems. We will conclude that both enterprises provide important contributions to the behavioral systems idea. But neither turns it into a full conceptual alternative which will initiate a major paradigm switch in cognitive science. The concept will need a lot of fleshing out before it can assume that role. (shrink)
In Robert West’s talk last week, dynamicalsystemstheory (DST) was applied to a specific problem involving interacting symbolic systems, without much reference to how those systems are embodied or related to other types of systems. Despite this level of abstraction, DST can yield interesting results, though one might be left wondering if it really leads to understanding, or what it all means. In particular, Robert noted problems he has in convincing referees that the (...) sort of explanation he gave can give a useful understanding, and that it doesn’t invoke dubious notions with its references to emergence, holism, and mathematical openness. (shrink)
Shanker & King (S&K) trumpet the adoption of a “new paradigm” in communication studies, exemplified by ape language research. Though cautiously sympathetic, I maintain that their argument relies on a false dichotomy between “information” and “dynamicalsystems” theory, and that the resulting confusion prevents them from recognizing the main chance their line of thinking suggests.
Having entered into the problem structuring methods, system dynamics (SD) is an approach, among systems’ methodologies, which claims to recognize the main structures of socio-economic behaviors. However, the concern for building or discovering strong philosophical underpinnings of SD, undoubtedly playing an important role in the modeling process, is a long-standing issue, in a way that there is a considerable debate about the assumptions or the philosophical foundations of it. In this paper, with a new perspective, we have explored (...) class='Hi'>theory of knowledge in SD models and found strange similarities between classic epistemological concepts such as justification and truth, and the mechanism of obtaining knowledge in SD models. In this regard, we have discussed related theories of epistemology and based on this analysis, have suggested some implications for moderating common problems in the modeling process of SD. Furthermore, this research could be considered a reword of system dynamics modeling principles in terms of theory of knowledge. (shrink)