Cognitive systems and the changing brain

Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):224-241 (2017)

Authors
Felipe De Brigard
Duke University
Abstract
The notion of cognitive system is widely used in explanations in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Traditional approaches define cognitive systems in an agent-relative way, that is, via top-down functional decomposition that assumes a cognitive agent as starting point. The extended cognition movement challenged that approach by questioning the primacy of the notion of cognitive agent. In response, [Adams, F., and K. Aizawa. 2001. The Bounds of Cognition. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.] suggested that to have a clear understanding of what a cognitive system is we may need to solve “the demarcation challenge”: the problem of identifying a reliable way to determine which mechanisms that are causally responsible for the production of a certain cognitive process constitute a cognitive system responsible for such process and which ones do not. Recently, [Rupert, R. 2009. Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.] offered a solution based on the idea that the mechanisms that constitute a cognitive system are integrated in a particular sense. In this paper I critically review Rupert’s solution and argue against it. Additionally, I argue that a successful account of cognitive system must accommodate the fact that the neural mechanisms causally responsible for the production of a cognitive process are diachronically dynamic and yet functionally stable. At the end, I offer a suggestion as to how to accommodate this diachronic dynamicity without losing functional stability. I conclude by drawing some implications for the discussion on cognitive ontologies.
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2017.1312503
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References found in this work BETA

The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert A. Simon - 1969 - [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (2):326-327.
The Bounds of Cognition.Fred Adams & Ken Aizawa - 2001 - Philosophical Psychology 14 (2):43-64.

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Is Episodic Memory a Natural Kind?Nikola Andonovski - 2018 - Essays in Philosophy 19 (2).

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