an evolved model agent by R. Beer

Shimon Edelman
Cornell University
Beer ’s paper devotes much energy to buttressing the walls of Castle Dynamic and dredging its moat in the face of what some of its dwellers perceive as a besieging army chanting “no cognition without representation”. The divide is real, as attested by the contrast between titles such as “Intelligence without representation” and “In defense of representation”, to pick just one example from each side. It is, however, not too late for people from both sides of the moat to meet on the drawbridge and see if all that energy can be put to a better use. The parley can be organized around an attempt to identify those attributes of representations that both sides may find useful. In my view, one such attribute is the capacity for hierarchical abstraction, an aspect of the representational approach not actually mentioned by Beer. The capacity for abstraction is gained automatically by those theoretical frameworks that opt for the explanatory benefits of representation in understanding cognition. Moreover, without appropriately structured mediating states, a cognitive system would be incapable of dealing with complex reality. Thus, hierarchical abstraction is useful not just for the cognitive scientists in their attempts to scale up their understanding of cognition: it is also indispensable for cognitive systems that aspire to scale up their understanding of the world
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References found in this work BETA

Perceptual Symbol Systems.Lawrence W. Barsalou - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4):577-660.
Intelligence Without Representation.Rodney Brooks - 1991 - Artificial Intelligence 47:139-159.
In Defense of Representation.Arthur B. Markman & Eric Dietrich - 2000 - Cognitive Psychology 40 (2):138--171.

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