The paper presents a paradoxical feature of computational systems that suggests that computationalism cannot explain symbol grounding. If the mind is a digital computer, as computationalism claims, then it can be computing either over meaningful symbols or over meaningless symbols. If it is computing over meaningful symbols its functioning presupposes the existence of meaningful symbols in the system, i.e. it implies semantic nativism. If the mind is computing over meaningless symbols, no intentional cognitive processes are available prior to (...) class='Hi'>symbol grounding. In this case, no symbol grounding could take place since any grounding presupposes intentional cognitive processes. So, whether computing in the mind is over meaningless or over meaningful symbols, computationalism implies semantic nativism. (shrink)
Abstract The view that mirror self-recognition (MSR) is a definitive demonstration of self-awareness is far from universally accepted, and those who do support the view need a more robust argument than the mere assumption that self-recognition implies a self-concept (e.g. Gallup in Socioecology and Psychology of Primates, Mouton, Hague, 1975 ; Gallup and Suarez in Psychological Perspectives on the Self, vol 3, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1986 ). In this paper I offer a new argument in favour of the view that MSR (...) shows self-awareness by examining the nature of the mirror image itself. I argue, using the results of ‘symbol-mindedness’ experiments by Deloache (Trends Cogn Sci 8(2):66–70, 2004) , that where self-recognition exists, the mirror image must be functioning as a symbol from the perspective of the subject and the subject must therefore be ‘symbol-minded’ and hence concept possessing. Further to this, according to the Concept Possession Hypothesis of Self-Consciousness (Savanah in Conscious Cogn 2011 ), concept possession alone is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of self-awareness. Thus MSR as a demonstration of symbol-mindedness implies the existence of self-awareness. I begin by defending the ‘mark test’ protocol as a robust methodology for determining self-recognition. Then follows a critical examination of the extreme views both for and against the interpretation of MSR as an indication of self-awareness: although the non-mentalistic interpretation of MSR is unconvincing, the argument presented by Gallup is also inadequate. I then present the symbol-mindedness argument to fill in the gaps in the Gallup approach. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9318-2 Authors Stephane Savanah, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867. (shrink)
One holistic thesis about symbols is that a symbol cannot exist singly, but only as apart of a symbol system. There is also the plausible view that symbol systems emerge gradually in an individual, in a group, and in a species. The problem is that symbol holism makes it hard to see how a symbol system can emerge gradually, at least if we are considering the emergence of a first symbol system. The only way (...) it seems possible is if being a symbol can be a matter of degree, which is initially problematic. This article explains how being a cognitive symbol can be a matter of degree after all. The contrary intuition arises from the way a process of interpretation forces an all-or-nothing character on symbols, leaving room for underlying material to realize symbols to different degrees in a way that Daniel Dennett’s work can help illuminate. Holism applies to symbols as interpreted, while gradualism applies to how the underlying material realizes symbols.Selon une thèse holistique sur les symboles, un symbole ne peut exister isolément mais doit faire partie d’un systéme symbolique. Une opinion, elle aussi plausible, veut que les systèmes symboliques émergent graduellement chez un individu, un groupe ou une espèce. Le problème c’est qu’on voit mal, si le holisme des systèmes symboliques tient, comment un système symbolique peut émerger graduellement, du moins pour la première fois. Ce n’est possible, semble-t-il, que si être un symbole est affaire de degré, thèse au départ problématique. Cet article explique comment être un symbole cognitif peut après tout être affaire de degré. L’intuition contraire vient de ce que le processus d’interprétation nous force au tout ou rien, ce qui laisse un jeu dans la façon dont le matériel sous-jacent réalise les symboles à des degrés divers. Les travaux de Daniel Dennett sont à cet égard éclairants. Le holisme vaut pour les symboles tels qu’ils sont interprétés, tandis que le gradualisme vaut pour la façon dont le matériel sous-jacent réalise les symboles. (shrink)
What language allows us to do is to "steal" categories quickly and effortlessly through hearsay instead of having to earn them the hard way, through risky and time-consuming sensorimotor "toil" (trial-and-error learning, guided by corrective feedback from the consequences of miscategorisation). To make such linguistic "theft" possible, however, some, at least, of the denoting symbols of language must first be grounded in categories that have been earned through sensorimotor toil (or else in categories that have already been "prepared" for us (...) through Darwinian theft by the genes of our ancestors); it cannot be linguistic theft all the way down. The symbols that denote categories must be grounded in the capacity to sort, label and interact with the proximal sensorimotor projections of their distal category-members in a way that coheres systematically with their semantic interpretations, both for individual symbols, and for symbols strung together to express truth-value-bearing propositions. (shrink)
Symbols should be grounded, as has been argued before. But we insist that they should be grounded not only in subsymbolic activities, but also in the interaction between the agent and the world. The point is that concepts are not formed in isolation (from the world), in abstraction, or "objectively." They are formed in relation to the experience of agents, through their perceptual/motor apparatuses, in their world and linked to their goals and actions. This paper takes a detailed look at (...) this relatively old issue, with a new perspective, aided by our work of computational cognitive model development. To further our understanding, we also go back in time to link up with earlier philosophical theories related to this issue. The result is an account that extends from computational mechanisms to philosophical abstractions. (shrink)
In "Why brains matter: an integrational perspective on The Symbolic Species" Cowley (2002) [Language Sciences 24, 73-95] suggests that Deacon pictures brains as being able to process words qua tokens, which he identifies as the theory's Achilles' heel. He goes on to argue that Deacon's thesis on the co-evolution of language and mind would benefit from an integrational approach. This paper argues that Cowley's criticism relies on an invalid understanding of Deacon's use the concept of "symbolic reference", which he appropriates (...) from Peirce's semiotic. Peirce's analysis as well as Deacon's appropriation will be examined in detail. Consequently it will be argued that an integrationist reading would add very little to Deacon's core thesis. (shrink)
A new reduction class is presented for the satisfiability problem for well-formed formulas of the first-order predicate calculus. The members of this class are closed prenex formulas of the form ∀ x∀ yC. The matrix C is in conjunctive normal form and has no disjuncts with more than three literals, in fact all but one conjunct is unary. Furthermore C contains but one predicate symbol, that being unary, and one function symbol which symbol is binary.
What is the relation between the material, conventional symbol structures that we encounter in the spoken and written word, and human thought? A common assumption, that structures a wide variety of otherwise competing views, is that the way in which these material, conventional symbol-structures do their work is by being translated into some kind of content-matching inner code. One alternative to this view is the tempting but thoroughly elusive idea that we somehow think in some natural language (such (...) as English). In the present treatment I explore a third option, which I shall call the "complementarity" view of language. According to this third view the actual symbol structures of a given language add cognitive value by complementing (without being replicated by) the more basic modes of operation and representation endemic to the biological brain. The "cognitive bonus" that language brings is, on this model, not to be cashed out either via the ultimately mysterious notion of "thinking in a given natural language" or via some process of exhaustive translation into another inner code. Instead, we should try to think in terms of a kind of coordination dynamics in which the forms and structures of a language qua material symbol system play a key and irreducible role. Understanding language as a complementary cognitive resource is, I argue, an important part of the much larger project (sometimes glossed in terms of the "extended mind") of understanding human cognition as essentially and multiply hybrid: as involving a complex interplay between internal biological resources and external non-biological resources. (shrink)
There has been much discussion recently about the scope and limits of purely symbolic models of the mind and about the proper role of connectionism in cognitive modeling. This paper describes the symbol grounding problem: How can the semantic interpretation of a formal symbol system be made intrinsic to the system, rather than just parasitic on the meanings in our heads? How can the meanings of the meaningless symbol tokens, manipulated solely on the basis of their (arbitrary) (...) shapes, be grounded in anything but other meaningless symbols? The problem is analogous to trying to learn Chinese from a Chinese/Chinese dictionary alone. A candidate solution is sketched: Symbolic representations must be grounded bottom-up in nonsymbolic representations of two kinds: (1) iconic representations, which are analogs of the proximal sensory projections of distal objects and events, and (2) categorical representations, which are learned and innate feature-detectors that pick out the invariant features of object and event categories from their sensory projections. Elementary symbols are the names of these object and event categories, assigned on the basis of their (nonsymbolic) categorical representations. Higher-order (3) symbolic representations, grounded in these elementary symbols, consist of symbol strings describing category membership relations (e.g., An X is a Y that is Z). Connectionism is one natural candidate for the mechanism that learns the invariant features underlying categorical representations, thereby connecting names to the proximal projections of the distal objects they stand for. In this way connectionism can be seen as a complementary component in a hybrid nonsymbolic/symbolic model of the mind, rather than a rival to purely symbolic modeling. Such a hybrid model would not have an autonomous symbolic module, however; the symbolic functions would emerge as an intrinsically dedicated symbol system as a consequence of the bottom-up grounding of categories' names in their sensory representations. Symbol manipulation would be governed not just by the arbitrary shapes of the symbol tokens, but by the nonarbitrary shapes of the icons and category invariants in which they are grounded. (shrink)
"Symbol Grounding" is beginning to mean too many things to too many people. My own construal has always been simple: Cognition cannot be just computation, because computation is just the systematically interpretable manipulation of meaningless symbols, whereas the meanings of my thoughts don't depend on their interpretability or interpretation by someone else. On pain of infinite regress, then, symbol meanings must be grounded in something other than just their interpretability if they are to be candidates for what is (...) going on in our heads. Neural nets may be one way to ground the names of concrete objects and events in the capacity to categorize them (by learning the invariants in their sensorimotor projections). These grounded elementary symbols could then be combined into symbol strings expressing propositions about more abstract categories. Grounding does not equal meaning, however, and does not solve any philosophical problems. (shrink)
The Chinese room argument has presented a persistent headache in the search for Artificial Intelligence. Since it first appeared in the literature, various interpretations have been made, attempting to understand the problems posed by this thought experiment. Throughout all this time, some researchers in the Artificial Intelligence community have seen Symbol Grounding as proposed by Harnad as a solution to the Chinese room argument. The main thesis in this paper is that although related, these two issues present different problems (...) in the framework presented by Harnad himself. The work presented here attempts to shed some light on the relationship between John Searle’s intentionality notion and Harnad’s Symbol Grounding Problem. (shrink)
One of the most significant political philosophers of the twentieth century, Carl Schmitt is a deeply controversial figure who has been labeled both Nazi sympathizer and modern-day Thomas Hobbes. First published in 1938, The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes used the Enlightenment philosopher’s enduring symbol of the protective Leviathan to address the nature of modern statehood. A work that predicted the demise of the Third Reich and that still holds relevance in today’s security-obsessed society, this volume (...) will be essential reading for students and scholars of political science. “Carl Schmitt is surely the most controversial German political and legal philosopher of this century. . . . We deal with Schmitt, against all odds, because history stubbornly persists in proving many of his tenets right.”— Perspectives on Political Science “[A] significant contribution. . . . The relation between Hobbes and Schmitt is one of the most important questions surrounding Schmitt: it includes a distinct, though occasionally vacillating, personal identification as well as an association of ideas.”— Telos. (shrink)
This article is the second step in our research into the Symbol Grounding Problem (SGP). In a previous work, we defined the main condition that must be satisfied by any strategy in order to provide a valid solution to the SGP, namely the zero semantic commitment condition (Z condition). We then showed that all the main strategies proposed so far fail to satisfy the Z condition, although they provide several important lessons to be followed by any new proposal. Here, (...) we develop a new solution of the SGP. It is called praxical in order to stress the key role played by the interactions between the agents and their environment. It is based on a new theory of meaning—Action-based Semantics (AbS)—and on a new kind of artificial agents, called two-machine artificial agents (AM²). Thanks to their architecture, AM2s implement AbS, and this allows them to ground their symbols semantically and to develop some fairly advanced semantic abilities, including the development of semantically grounded communication and the elaboration of representations, while still respecting the Z condition. (shrink)
Connectionism and computationalism are currently vying for hegemony in cognitive modeling. At first glance the opposition seems incoherent, because connectionism is itself computational, but the form of computationalism that has been the prime candidate for encoding the "language of thought" has been symbolic computationalism (Dietrich 1990, Fodor 1975, Harnad 1990c; Newell 1980; Pylyshyn 1984), whereas connectionism is nonsymbolic (Fodor & Pylyshyn 1988, or, as some have hopefully dubbed it, "subsymbolic" Smolensky 1988). This paper will examine what is and is not (...) a symbol system. A hybrid nonsymbolic/symbolic system will be sketched in which the meanings of the symbols are grounded bottom-up in the system's capacity to discriminate and identify the objects they refer to. Neural nets are one possible mechanism for learning the invariants in the analog sensory projection on which successful categorization is based. "Categorical perception" (Harnad 1987a), in which similarity space is "warped" in the service of categorization, turns out to be exhibited by both people and nets, and may mediate the constraints exerted by the analog world of objects on the formal world of symbols. (shrink)
The image of the presence of symbols in an inner code pervades recent debates in cognitive science. Classicists worship in the presence. Connectionists revel in the absence. However, the very ideas of code and symbol are ill understood. A major distorting factor in the debates concerns the role of processing in determining the presence or absence of a stuctured inner code. Drawing on work by David Kirsh and David Chambers , the present paper attempts to re-define such notions to (...) begin to reflect the inextrictability of code and presence. (shrink)
This essay presents a phenomenological analysis of the functioning of symbols as elements of the life-world with the purpose of demonstrating the interrelationship of individual and society. On the basis of Alfred Schutz''s theory of the life-world, signs and symbols are viewed as mechanisms by means of which the individual can overcome the transcendences posed by time, space, the world of the Other, and multiple realities which confront him or her. Accordingly, the individual''s life-world divides itself into the dimensions of (...) time, space, the social world and various reality spheres which form the boundaries or transcendences that the I has to understand and integrate. Signs and symbols are described as appresentational modes which stand for experiences originating in the different spheres of the life-world within the world of everyday life, within which they can be communicated, thereby establishing intersubjectivity. Schutz''s theory of the symbol explains how social entities – such as nations, states or religious groups – are symbolically integrated to become components of the individual''s life-world. The following paper reconstructs Schutz''s concept of the symbol as a crucial component of his theory of the life-world, which is seen as an outstanding phenomenological contribution to the theory of the sign and the symbol in general. (shrink)
A symbol is a pattern (of physical marks, electromagnetic energy, etc.) which denotes, designates, or otherwise has meaning. The notion that intelligence requires the use and manipulation of symbols, and that humans are therefore symbol systems, has been extremely in uential in arti cial intelligence.
Although Barsalou is right in identifying the importance of perceptual symbols as a means of carrying certain kinds of content, he is wrong in playing down the inferential resources available to amodal symbols. I argue that the case for perceptual symbol systems amounts to a false dichotomy and that it is feasible to help oneself to both kinds of content as extreme ends on a content continuum. The continuum thesis I advance argues for the inferential content at one end (...) and perceptual content at the other. In between the extremes, symbols might have aspects that are either perceptual or propositional-linguistic in character. I argue that this way of characterising the issue preserves the good sense of Barsalou's recognition of perceptual representations and yet avoids the tendency to minimise the gains won with symbolic representations vital to contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
Computation is interpretable symbol manipulation. Symbols are objects that are manipulated on the basis of rules operating only on theirshapes, which are arbitrary in relation to what they can be interpreted as meaning. Even if one accepts the Church/Turing Thesis that computation is unique, universal and very near omnipotent, not everything is a computer, because not everything can be given a systematic interpretation; and certainly everything can''t be givenevery systematic interpretation. But even after computers and computation have been successfully (...) distinguished from other kinds of things, mental states will not just be the implementations of the right symbol systems, because of the symbol grounding problem: The interpretation of a symbol system is not intrinsic to the system; it is projected onto it by the interpreter. This is not true of our thoughts. We must accordingly be more than just computers. My guess is that the meanings of our symbols are grounded in the substrate of our robotic capacity to interact with that real world of objects, events and states of affairs that our symbols are systematically interpretable as being about. (shrink)
The notion of a ‘symbol’ plays an important role in the disciplines of Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, and Cognitive Science. However, there is comparatively little agreement on how this notion is to be understood, either between disciplines, or even within particular disciplines. This paper does not attempt to defend some putatively ‘correct’ version of the concept of a ‘symbol.’ Rather, some terminological conventions are suggested, some constraints are proposed and a taxonomy of the kinds of issue (...) that give rise to disagreement is articulated. The goal here is to provide something like a ‘geography’ of the various notions of ‘symbol’ that have appeared in the various literatures, so as to highlight the key issues and to permit the focusing of attention upon the important dimensions. In particular, the relationship between ‘tokens’ and ‘symbols’ is addressed. The issue of designation is discussed in some detail. The distinction between simple and complex symbols is clarified and an apparently necessary condition for a system to be potentially symbol, or token bearing, is introduced. (shrink)
This article reviews eight proposed strategies for solving the Symbol Grounding Problem (SGP), which was given its classic formulation in Harnad (1990). After a concise introduction, we provide an analysis of the requirement that must be satisfied by any hypothesis seeking to solve the SGP, the zero semantical commitment condition. We then use it to assess the eight strategies, which are organised into three main approaches: representationalism, semi-representationalism and non-representationalism. The conclusion is that all the strategies are semantically committed (...) and hence that none of them provides a valid solution to the SGP, which remains an open problem. (shrink)
A metaphor can often create novel features in an object or a situation. This phenomenon has been particularly hard to account for using amodal symbol systems: although highlighting and downplaying can explain the shift of focus, it cannot explain how entirely new features can come about. We suggest here that the dynamism of perceptual symbol systems, particularly the notion of simulator, provides an elegant account of the creativity of metaphor. The elegance lies in the idea that the creation (...) of new features by a metaphor proceeds in the same way as the creation of regular features in a perceptual symbol. (shrink)
Scholars studying the origins and evolution of language are also interested in the general issue of the evolution of cognition. Language is not an isolated capability of the individual, but has intrinsic relationships with many other behavioral, cognitive, and social abilities. By understanding the mechanisms underlying the evolution of linguistic abilities, it is possible to understand the evolution of cognitive abilities. Cognitivism, one of the current approaches in psychology and cognitive science, proposes that symbol systems capture mental phenomena, and (...) attributes cognitive validity to them. Therefore, in the same way that language is considered the prototype of cognitive abilities, a symbol system has become the prototype for studying language and cognitive systems. Symbol systems are advantageous as they are easily studied through computer simulation (a computer program is a symbol system itself), and this is why language is often studied using computational models. (shrink)
Classical cognitive science assumes that intelligently behaving systems must be symbol processors that are implemented in physical systems such as brains or digital computers. By contrast, connectionists suppose that symbol manipulating systems could be approximations of neural networks dynamics. Both classicists and connectionists argue that symbolic computation and subsymbolic dynamics are incompatible, though on different grounds. While classicists say that connectionist architectures and symbol processors are either incompatible or the former are mere implementations of the latter, connectionists (...) reply that neural networks might be incompatible with symbol processors because the latter cannot be implementations of the former. In this contribution, the notions of 'incompatibility' and 'implementation' will be criticized to show that they must be revised in the context of the dynamical system approach to cognitive science. Examples for implementations of symbol processors that are incompatible with respect to contextual topologies will be discussed. (shrink)
Human cognition is striking in its brilliance and its adaptability. How do we get that way? How do we move from the nearly helpless state of infants to the cognitive proficiency that characterizes adults? In this paper I argue, first, that analogical ability is the key factor in our prodigious capacity, and, second, that possession of a symbol system is crucial to the full expression of analogical ability.
Perspective, Symbol, and Symbolic Form: Concerning the Relationship between Cassirer and Panofsky During the last two decades of the twentieth century, there was a sudden surge of interest in Ernst Cassirer’s major work, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1923–29), and Erwin Panofsky’s essay, ‘Perspective as Symbolic Form’ (1927), an interest that has continued uninterrupted to the present day. Particularly amongst art historians, however, a serious misunderstanding remains evident here – the confusing of ‘symbolic form’ with ‘symbol’. Cultural and (...) perceptual mediations, in which objects (and subjects) are only just in the process of forming, are carelessly turned into arbitrary, isolated objects of art history or pictorial history. Every work, in this view, is regarded as a ‘symbolic form’ to the extent that a representation of the world is ‘expressed’ in it. This article initially reviews Panofsky’s essay in order to establish the context in which the art historian uses the term ‘symbolic form’. His use of it is then compared with Cassirer’s original understanding of the term. A careful distinction is made between ‘symbol’, ‘symbolic pregnance’, and ‘symbolic form’, and this is followed by an analysis of scattered remarks in Cassirer’s writings, and particularly in his posthumous manuscripts and notes, on ‘art’ as symbolic form and on the spatial form that is prior to all perception and art production, as well as his call for a kind of art history that conceives of itself as a scholarly discipline. The article concludes with the recognition that Panofsky not only deliberately, but justifiably – that is, in the spirit of Cassirer, at least – transferred the expression ‘symbolic form’ to ‘perspective’. (shrink)
In his target article, Barsalou cites current work on emotion theory but does not explore its relevance for this project. The connection is worth pursuing, since there is a plausible case to be made that emotions form a distinct symbolic information processing system of their own. On some views, that system is argued to be perceptual: a direct connection with Barsalou's perceptual symbol systems theory. Also relevant is the hypothesis that there may be different modular subsystems within emotion and (...) the perennial tension between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion. (shrink)
Stereotypically, computation involves intrinsic changes to the medium of representation: writing new symbols, erasing old symbols, turning gears, flipping switches, sliding abacus beads. Perspectival computation leaves the original inscriptions untouched. The problem solver obtains the output by merely alters his orientation toward the input. There is no rewriting or copying of the input inscriptions; the output inscriptions are numerically identical to the input inscriptions. This suggests a loophole through some of the computational limits apparently imposed by physics. There can be (...)symbol manipulation without inscription manipulation because symbols are complex objects that have manipulatable elements besides their inscriptions. Since a written symbol is an ordered pair of consisting of a shape and the reader''s orientation to that inscription, the symbol can be changed by changing the orientation rather than inscription. Although there are the usual physical limits associated with reading the answer, the computation is itself instantaneous. This is true even when the sub-calculations are algorithmically complex, exponentially increasing or even infinite. (shrink)
We present here a digital scenario to simulate the emergence of self-organized symbol-based communication among artificial creatures inhabiting a virtual world of predatory events. In order to design the environment and creatures, we seek theoretical and empirical constraints from C.S.Peirce Semiotics and an ethological case study of communication among animals. Our results show that the creatures, assuming the role of sign users and learners, behave collectively as a complex system, where self-organization of communicative interactions plays a major role in (...) the emergence of symbol-based communication. We also strive for a careful use of the theoretical concepts involved, including the concepts of symbol, communication, and emergence, and we use a multi-level model as a basis for the interpretation of inter-level relationships in the semiotic processes we are studying. (shrink)
La celebración de fiestas en honor a los santos patronos de las comunidades andinas es una de las manifestaciones de religiosidad más extendidas desde Colonia. Másallá de entenderla como una manifestación en continuidad directa con las prácticas cúlticas del Tawantinsuyo o la ritualidad católica española, consideramos que esta festividad es un fenómeno emergente que debe ser analizado en su especificidad. El objetivo de este artículo es analizar la figura del santo y su eficacia simbólico-ritual en la fiesta patronal andina desarrollada (...) durante el periodo colonial (XVI-XVII). A partir del análisis de una serie de crónicas coloniales, intentaremos mostrar que las especificidades rituales de la fiesta y de la operación del santo como símbolo icónico dominante permiten comprender su eficacia simbólica, así como también la co-existencia de diversas interpretaciones y escenificaciones rituales que darían cuenta de la agencialidad ritual de la comunidad. The celebration of festivities in honor of the patron saints of the Andean communities is one of the most widespread manifestations of religiosity from the Colony. Beyond understood as a manifestation in direct continuity with the cultic practices of the Catholic ritual Tawantinsuyo or Spanish, we believe that this festival is an emerging phenomenon that must be analyzed in its specificity. The aim of this paper is to analyze the figure of the saint and their efficacy in symbolic ritual Andean fiesta developed during the colonial period (XVI-XVII). From the analysis of a series of colonial chronicles, try to show that the specific rituals of celebration and operation saint as provide insight dominant iconic symbol symbolic effectiveness, as well as the co-existence of different interpretations and stagings rituals give account of agency community ritual. (shrink)
Introduction -- Undermining the hermeneutics of suspicion -- The historical emergence of psychological man -- The "religious" therapeutics -- Rieff on Jung's "language of faith" -- Rieff and the hermeneutics of suspicion -- An alternative hermeneutic -- Applying this hermeneutic to depth psychology -- Concluding remarks -- The historical sources of Jung's psychology -- The young metaphysician -- Tempering metaphysical inclinations with a pragmatic standpoint -- The resurgence of metaphysics in Jung's psychology -- Jung's subjectivist argument -- The influence of (...) vitalism -- Individuation and the prospective method -- From the prospective method to a metaphysics of archetypes -- Jung and the Paracelsian theory of knowledge -- The persistence of metaphysical questions -- Hermeneutics and Jung's psychology -- The re-discovery of the psychogenic -- Towards a more adequate understanding of the psychogenic -- The methodological problems facing depth psychology -- The symbolic life -- The "realism of the East" -- The symbol of the self -- The "two kinds of thinking" -- "The transcendent function" -- From signs to symbols -- The practice of the transcendent function -- Definitions from psychological types (1921) -- The symbolic attitude -- Transcendent presence -- Alignment with the self -- Projective psychology and divine transcendence -- The relevance of the dispute between Jung and Buber -- The still point -- The beyond -- Contemporary psychoanalysis and the still point -- Ogden on potential space. (shrink)
After people learn to sort objects into categories they see them differently. Members of the same category look more alike and members of different categories look more different. This phenomenon of within-category compression and between-category separation in similarity space is called categorical perception (CP). It is exhibited by human subjects, animals and neural net models. In backpropagation nets trained first to auto-associate 12 stimuli varying along a onedimensional continuum and then to sort them into 3 categories, CP arises as a (...) natural side-effect because of four factors: (1) Maximal interstimulus separation in hidden-unit space during autoassociation learning, (2) movement toward linear separability during categorization learning, (3) inverse-distance repulsive force exerted by the between-category boundary, and (4) the modulating effects of input iconicity, especially in interpolating CP to untrained regions of the continuum. Once similarity space has been "warped" in this way, the compressed and separated "chunks" have symbolic labels which could then be combined into symbol strings that constitute propositions about objects. The meanings of such symbolic representations would be "grounded" in the system's capacity to pick out from their sensory projections the object categories that the propositions were about. (shrink)
Cognitive theories based on a fixed feature set suffer from frame and symbol grounding problems. Flexible features and other empirically acquired constraints (e.g., analog-to-analog mappings) provide a framework for letting extrinsic relations influence symbol manipulation. By offering a biologically plausible basis for feature learning, nonorthogonal multiresolution analysis and dimensionality reduction, informed by functional constraints, may contribute to a solution to the symbol grounding problem.
Barsalou's theory of perceptual symbol systems is considered from a metacognitive perspective. Two examples are discussed in terms of the proposed perceptual symbol theory. First, recent results in research on feeling-of-knowing judgement are used to argue for a representation of familiarity with input cues. This representation should support implicit memory. Second, the ability of maintaining a theory of other people's beliefs (theory of mind) is considered and it is suggested that a purely simulation-based view is insufficient to explain (...) the available evidence. Both examples characterize areas where Barsalou's theory would benefit from additional detail. (shrink)
No one need deny the importance of language to thought and cognition. At the same time, there is a tendency in studies of mind and mental functioning to assume that properties and principles of linguistic, or language-like, forms of representation must hold of forms of thought and representation in general. Consideration of a wider range of symbol systems shows that this is not so. In turn, various claims and arguments in cognitive theory that depend on assumptions applicable only to (...) linguistic systems, do not go through or become difficult to state in a manner that makes them both interesting and plausible. (shrink)
It is very tempting to try to reconcile perception and cognition perceptual symbol systems may be a good way to achieve this; but is there actually a perception-cognition continuum? We offer several arguments for and against the existence of such a continuum and in favor of the choice of perceptual symbol systems. One of these arguments is purely theoretical, some are based on PET-scan observations and others are based on research with handicapped subjects who have communication problems associated (...) with cerebral lesions. These arguments suggest that modal perceptual symbols do indeed exist and that perception and cognition might have a common neuronal basis; but perceptual and cognitive activities require the activation of different neuronal structures. (shrink)
In this article I use Baudrillard’s claim that systems of exchange are ontologically and historically prior to systems of production, and Arendt’s understanding of birth as the arrival of something both quite familiar and quite new into the world as the starting-points for a theory of labour as relation. Such a theory has the virtue of avoiding the problem, found in Marx, Arendt and elsewhere, that labour is both a vital feature of being human and yet a drudgery that will (...) be absent from post-revolutionary society (in the case of Marx) or strictly relegated to the private realm (for Arendt). It also involves repositioning the work of social reproduction – of which women’s labour in giving birth is exemplary – as paradigmatic. Key Words: Hannah Arendt • Jean Baudrillard • labour • natality • production • symbol. (shrink)
Vera & Simon (1993a) have argued that the theories and methods known as situated action or situativity theory are compatible with the assumptions and methodology of the physical symbol systems hypothesis and do not require a new approach to the study of cognition. When the central criterion of computational universality is added to the loose definition of a symbol system which Vera and Simon provide, it becomes apparent that there are important incompatibilities between the two approaches such that (...) situativity theory cannot be subsumed within the symbol systems approach. Symbol systems and situativity theoretic approaches are, and should be seen to be, competing approaches to the study of cognition. (shrink)
The first three sections of this study explain the debt that Karl Rahner’s metaphysics of symbol owes to the influence of Maurice Blondel and Joseph Maréchal. The concluding section suggests that a Blondel-inspired renewal of the metaphysics of symbol could challenge the restricted claim for reason offered by secular and religious post-modernity.
Despite its widely acknowledged importance in and beyond the thought of the Romantic period, the distinctive concept of the symbol articulated by such writers as Goethe and F. W. J. Schelling in Germany and S. T. Coleridge in England has defied adequate historical explanation. In contrast to previous scholarship, Nicholas Halmi's study provides such an explanation by relating the content of Romantic symbolist theory - often criticized as irrationalist - to the cultural needs of its time. Because its genealogical (...) method eschews a single disciplinary perspective, this study is able to examine the Romantic concept of the symbol in a broader intellectual context than previous scholarship, a context ranging chronologically from classical antiquity to the present and encompassing literary criticism and theory, aesthetics, semiotics, theology, metaphysics, natural philosophy, astronomy, poetry, and the origins of landscape painting. The concept is thus revealed to be a specifically modern response to modern discontents, neither reverting to pre-modern modes of thought nor secularizing Christian theology, but countering Enlightenment dualisms with means bequeathed by the Enlightenment itself. This book seeks, in short, to do for the Romantic symbol what Percy Bysshe Shelley called on poets to do for the world: to lift from it its veil of familiarity. (shrink)
By studying Durkheim through a Schopenhauerian lens, the one-sidedly cognitivist and functionalist reception of his social theory can be balanced. Durkheim explicitly rejected such monistic interpretations. His dialectical approach was always aimed at an essentially dualistic perception of man and society, wherein the lower pole, the individual, is central. In Durkheim's symbol theory, this position leads to two kinds of symbols: those that are bound to the human body, here called "this and that" symbols, and those people can choose (...) freely, here called "this for that" symbols. This twofold symbol theory can already be found in medieval philosophy (e.g. Dante Alighieri) as well as in the work of Paul Ricoeur. For Durkheim the human person is the symbol par excellence. By implication the rituals in which the person is (re)constructed, that is the rites of passage, should be central. The interpretation here opens up new perspectives for a more psychological interpretation of Durkheim's sociology. (shrink)
Among such social-philosophic notions as society, culture, civilization, system, human, sense, sign, truth and others, concept “symbol” takes a special place. Most of the researchers meet the view, that symbol possesses an important place in the development of culture as a social phenomenon. The role of symbol in cultures birth and development is characterized by antipathy and polysemy. However revelation of the symbol role in spiritual processes of cultural transitions is beyond question one of the urgent (...) philosophic issues. Symbol is a form of access to over-sensible culture’s substance, it functions as a money-box and hearth of culture senses, which are included by the systems of signs, images, metaphors into the circulation of world and human relations. (shrink)
Against the view that symbol-based semiosis is a human cognitive uniqueness, we have argued that non-human primates such as African vervet monkeys possess symbolic competence, as formally defined by Charles S. Peirce. Here I develop this argument by showing that the equivocal role ascribed to symbols by “folk semiotics” stems from an incomplete application of the Peircean logical framework for the classification of signs, which describes three kinds of symbols: rheme, dicent and argument. In an attempt to advance in (...) the classifying semiotic processes, Peirce proposed several typologies, with different degrees of refinement. Around 1903, he developed a division into ten classes. According to this typology, symbols can be further analysed in three subclasses (rheme, dicent, argument). I proceed to demonstrate that vervet monkeys employ dicent symbols. There are remarkable implications of this argument since ‘symbolic species theory’ fails to explore the vast Peircean semiotic philosophy to frame questions regarding the emergence and evolution of symbolic processes. (shrink)
Symbol formation is a term used to unify the view on the interdependencies in the research of the Hamburg University before 1933: the Philosophical Institute (William Stern, Ernst Cassirer), the Psychological Institute (Stern) with its laboratory (Heinz Werner) in cooperation with the later joining Umwelt Institut (Jakob von Uexküll). The term, definitely used by Cassirer and Werner, is associated with the personalistic approach: “Keine Gestalt ohne Gestalter” (Stern), but also covers related terms like “melody of motion” (Uexküll), and “relational (...) content” (Cassirer), discussing the term “empirical scheme” (Kant). All this scientific interest addressed personal forces to structure thresholds in equivalent stimuli. This view on intermodal formation allowed research in common aspects in the environments of animals, of children and adults to meet there the symbol formation of artists (Weimar Bauhaus) and poets like R. M. Rilke, a friend of Uexküll. (shrink)
In Finnish poetry of the 1960s, the city, and above all the capital Helsinki, is the scene where the metamorphosis of Finland from an agrarian into an urban society is staged, analysed and commented. It is also a symbol that serves to situate the country in the global context, with all the contradictions that were characteristic of the position of Finland in the cold war system. Writing about the city was a means to reflect on the transformations of social (...) and political reality and of the physical environment, a means to represent the confusion these transformations produced or to work towards understanding them. The article analyses the city in texts belonging to the “new poetry” of the 1960s, as well as in texts representing the modernist poetics of the 1950s, arguing that the very co-existence of two contrasting poetic discourses was crucial for the semiotic development of Finnish culture in the period of time in question. (shrink)
Linguistic expressions must be decrypted if they are to transmit information. Thoughts need not be decrypted if they are to transmit information. Therefore thought-processes do not consist of linguistic expressions: thought is not linguistic. A consequence is that thought is not computational, given that a computation is the operationalization of a function that assigns one expression to some other expression (or sequence of expressions).
I examine Kant's claim that a relation of symbolization links judgments of beauty and judgments of ‘systematicity’ in nature (that is, judgments concerning the ordering of natural forms under hierarchies of laws). My aim is to show that the symbolic relation between the two is, for Kant, much closer than many commentators think: it is not only the form but also the objects of some of our judgments of taste that symbolize the systematicity of nature. -/- .
Stevan Harnad and I seem to be thinking about many of the same issues. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't; but I always find his reasoning refreshing, his positions sensible, and the problems with which he's concerned to be of central importance to cognitive science. His "Grounding Symbols in the Analog World with Neural Nets" (= GS) is no exception. And GS not only exemplifies Harnad's virtues, it also provides a springboard for diving into Harnad- Bringsjord terrain.
Over the past several decades, the philosophical community has witnessed the emergence of an important new paradigm for understanding the mind.1 The paradigm is that of machine computation, and its influence has been felt not only in philosophy, but also in all of the empirical disciplines devoted to the study of cognition. Of the several strategies for applying the resources provided by computer and cognitive science to the philosophy of mind, the one that has gained the most attention from philosophers (...) has been the Computational Theory of Mind (CTM). CTM was first articulated by Hilary Putnam (1960, 1961), but finds perhaps its most consistent and enduring advocate in Jerry Fodor (1975, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1990, 1994). It is this theory, and not any broader interpretations of what it would be for the mind to be a computer, that I wish to address in this paper. What I shall argue here is that the notion of symbolic representation employed by CTM is fundamentally unsuited to providing an explanation of the intentionality of mental states (a major goal of CTM), and that this result undercuts a second major goal of CTM, sometimes refered to as the vindication of intentional psychology. This line of argument is related to the discussions of derived intentionality by Searle (1980, 1983, 1984) and Sayre (1986, 1987). But whereas those discussions seem to be concerned with the causal dependence of familiar sorts of symbolic representation upon meaning-bestowing acts, my claim is rather that there is not one but several notions of meaning to be had, and that the notions that are applicable to symbols are conceptually dependent upon the notion that is applicable to mental states in the fashion that Aristotle refered to as paronymy. That is, an analysis of the notions of meaning applicable to symbols reveals that they contain presuppositions about meaningful mental states, much as Aristotle's analysis of the sense of healthy that is applied to foods reveals that it means conducive to having a healthy body, and hence any attempt to explain mental semantics in terms of the semantics of symbols is doomed to circularity and regress. I shall argue, however, that this does not have the consequence that computationalism is bankrupt as a paradigm for cognitive science, as it is possible to reconstruct CTM in a fashion that avoids these difficulties and makes it a viable research framework for psychology, albeit at the cost of losing its claims to explain intentionality and to vindicate intentional psychology. I have argued elsewhere (Horst, 1996) that local special sciences such as psychology do not require vindication in the form of demonstrating their reducibility to more fundamental theories, and hence failure to make good on these philosophical promises need not compromise the broad range of work in empirical cognitive science motivated by the computer paradigm in ways that do not depend on these problematic treatments of symbols. (shrink)
Whether computational algorithms such as latent semantic analysis (LSA) can both extract meaning from language and advance theories of human cognition has become a topic of debate in cognitive science, whereby accounts of symbolic cognition and embodied cognition are often contrasted. Albeit for different reasons, in both accounts the importance of statistical regularities in linguistic surface structure tends to be underestimated. The current article gives an overview of the symbolic and embodied cognition accounts and shows how meaning induction attributed to (...) a specific statistical process or to activation of embodied representations should be attributed to language itself. Specifically, the performance of LSA can be attributed to the linguistic surface structure, more than special characteristics of the algorithm, and embodiment findings attributed to perceptual simulations can be explained by distributional linguistic information. (shrink)
Many recent cognitive studies reveal that human cognition is inherently perceptual, sharing systems with perception at both the conceptual and the neural levels. This paper introduces Barsalou's theory of perceptual symbols and explores its implications for philosophy of science. If perceptual symbols lie in the heart of conceptual processing, the process of attribute selection during concept representation, which is critical for defining similarity and thus for comparing taxonomies, can no longer be determined solely by background beliefs. The analogous nature of (...) perceptual symbols and the spatial nature of intraconceptual relations impose new constraints on attribute selection. These constraints help people with different background beliefs select compatible attributes, which constitute a common "platform" for taxonomy comparison. (shrink)
This is my personal homage to Turing in his centenary anniversary. I don't deal with details of the Turing-Wittgenstein debate during the lectures on the foundation of Mathematics in '39, but I hint at a possible redefinition of Turing test inside a vision of thinking as use of symbols, in a (not new) Wittgensteinian fashion.
Perruchet & Vinter claim that with the additional capacity to determine whether two arbitrary stimuli are the same or different, their association-based PARSER model is sufficient to account for learning transfer. This claim overstates the generalization capacity of perceptual versus nonperceptual (symbolic) relational processes. An example shows why some types of learning transfer also require the capacity to bind arbitrary representations to nonperceptual relational symbols.
The focus here will be on the tension between architecture’s symbolic role and its function as a space to house and present art. ‘Symbolic’ refers both to a building as an aesthetic or sculptural form and secondly to its role in expressing civic identity. ‘Function’ refers to the intended purpose or practical use apart from its role as a form of art. As an art form, it serves important symbolic purposes; its practical purposes are linked to serving individual and community (...) functions requiring the delineation of space. In the present context of museum architecture, certain museum buildings are more likely to be seen as a sculptural object than as functioning buildings. The reasons for this development derive in part from unresolved issues pertaining to the respective roles of symbolic and practicalfunction as is seen in the analysis of architecture provided by G. W. F. Hegel, Rudolf Arnheim and Nelson Goodman. The vocabularies of contemporary architects such Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava do not follow the abstract geometrical patterns of Le Corbusier or Louis Kahn who envisioned a universal vocabulary of architectural forms derived from industrial technical forms that underscored Modernist conventions in architecture.By looking at this issue in the contexts provided by the theoretical discussions of Hegel, Arnheim and Goodman, it is possible to see more clearly the importance of examining with a critical eye the relative place of symbolism and function in museum architecture, and to question whether current museum practice has gone astray in allowing the sculptural symbolism to become the dominant element. When either its symbolic or its practical aspects are out of balance the result is sure to be unsatisfactory architecture. If the past is a reliable guide, it works best when the symbolic (sculptural) and the practical in architecture are worked out in harmony with each other. (shrink)
A mechanism for planning ahead would appear to be essential to any creature with more than insect level intelligence. In this paper it is shown how planning, using full means-ends analysis, can be had while avoiding the so called symbol grounding problem. The key role of knowledge representation in intelligence has been acknowledged since at least the enlightenment, but the advent of the computer has made it possible to explore the limits of alternate schemes, and to explore the nature (...) of our everyday understanding of the world around us. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics has forced a close examination, by people other than philosophers, of what it means to say for instance that "snow is white." One interpretation of the "new AI" is that it is questioning the need for representation altogether. Brooks and others have shown how a range of intelligent behaviors can be had without representation, and this paper goes one step further showing how intending to do things can be achieved without symbolic representation. The paper gives a concrete example of a mechanism in terms of robots that play soccer. It describes a belief, desire and intention (BDI) architecture that plans in terms of activities. The result is a situated agent that plans to do things with no more ontological commitment than the reactive systems Brooks described in his seminal paper, "Intelligence without Representation.". (shrink)
Philosophers have little to lose in making practical proposals. If the proposals are enacted, the power of ideas to change the world is affirmed. If the proposals are rejected, there is new material for theoretical reflection. During the 1990s, I believed that broad public recognition of mixed race, particularly black and white mixed race, would contribute to an undoing of rigid and racist, socially constructed racial categories. I argued for such recognition in my first book, Race and Mixed Race (Zack (...) 1993), a follow-through anthology, American Mixed Race (Zack 1995), and numerous articles, especially the essay, “Mixed Black and White Race and Public Policy,” which appeared first in Hypatia in 1995.1 I also delivered scores of public and academic lectures and presentations on this subject, all of which expressed the following in varied forms and formats: Race is an idea that lacks the biological foundation it is commonly assumed to have. There is need for broad education about this absence of foundation; mixed-race identities should be recognized, especially black–white identities. (shrink)
There is a prevalent notion among cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind that computers are merely formal symbol manipulators, performing the actions they do solely on the basis of the syntactic properties of the symbols they manipulate. This view of computers has allowed some philosophers to divorce semantics from computational explanations. Semantic content, then, becomes something one adds to computational explanations to get psychological explanations. Other philosophers, such as Stephen Stich, have taken a stronger view, advocating doing away with (...) semantics entirely. This paper argues that a correct account of computation requires us to attribute content to computational processes in order to explain which functions are being computed. This entails that computational psychology must countenance mental representations. Since anti-semantic positions are incompatible with computational psychology thus construed, they ought to be rejected. Lastly, I argue that in an important sense, computers are not formal symbol manipulators. (shrink)
The religious justification for male circumcision proffered by Jewish and Islamic parents is frequently overlooked in current secular (medical/hygienic) discussions that (1) challenge the moral justification of this ancient practice, and (2) question the decisions of today's parents who are committed, on the basis of their religious beliefs, to continue this practice. This paper reviews critically these conflicting values and arguments and calls for compromise in the face of potential state intervention to coerce parents to abandon this practice. Keywords: disease (...) prevention, medicalization, mutilation, religious values, routine neonatal circumcision, therapeutic state CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The epistemic stances of both Whitehead and the Book of Changes are founded on the assumption that process is reality; there are important resonances with respect to perception, meaning and significance. Such a process-oriented approach is productive for developing non-representational and non-dualistic theories in the fields of epistemology, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. An exploration of these resonances will further provide an appropriate foundation for dialogue between the philosophy of the Book of Changes and that of contemporary Euro-American (...) philosophy. The important differences between the Book of Changes and Whiteheadian philosophy will also become apparent. (shrink)