Symbole i dynamika w opisie systemów biologicznych i zjawisk psychologicznych

Filozofia Nauki 3 (2004)

Abstract
This article is an attempt to shortly outline the approaches to the mind-body problem that are currently discussed within psychology. In the introduction the attitude of a contemporary psychologist to the mind-body problem is assessed. It seems that due to the functional approach, that for the last 50 years prevailed (especially in cognitive psychology), the mind-body issue is not central to psychological thinking, and in the investigation of many problems researchers can abstract away from it. Next, three approaches to the mind-body problem viewed from a perspective of the embodiment of a symbolic (and/or symbolically described) mind are briefly sketched. The already "traditional", symbolic information-processing approach in contrasted with 1) an approach that accepts both symbolic and dynamic description of mind, analyzes their relation, and advocates the indispensability of symbols; and 2) an approach that agrees that brain is a dynamical device but still cannot see the possibility of the same level description for the brain and its emergent properties. Neither approach, of course, offers a definitive solution to the mind-body problem. What they try to do is take away some of the "formal", "digital", "syntactic" properties of symbols, make them more "semantic" and "embodied", and show how they relate to the dynamics of the cognitive system. In conclusion of the article a supposition is made that the growing acknowledgement of the role of semantics and embodiment in description of symbolic systems (which means abandoning functionalist assumption), may result in a greater involvement in the mind/body problem even in those areas of psychology, in which previously scientists could just turn their back on it
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