Hypertext may represent a new paradigm capable of exploring legal sources within which links are established according to pertinent relationships found between statute texts and case law. However, to discover relevant information in such a network, a browsing mechanism is not enough when faced with a large volume of texts. This paper describes a new retrieval model where documents are represented according to both their content and relationships with other sources of information.
Hypertext and knowledge based systems can be viewed as complementary technologies, which if combined into a composite system may be able to yield a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. To gain the maximum benefits, however, we need to think about how to harness this potential synergy. This will mean devising new styles of system, rather than merely seeking to enhance the old models.In this paper we describe our model for coupling hypertext and (...) a knowledge based system, and then go on to describe two prototype systems which attempt to exploit this composite framework. The first application concerns animated hypertext which accords the text a central role whilst giving access to all the advantages of a knowledge based system. The second suggests how we can augment the hypertext by providing links which reflect the conceptual model of a knowledge based system in the domain, so as to provide a more structured traversal of the text. (shrink)
There is more to legal knowledge representation than knowledge-bases. It is valuable to look at legal knowledge representation and its implementation across the entire domain of computerisation of law, rather than focussing on sub-domains such as legal expert systems. The DataLex WorkStation software and applications developed using it are used to provide examples. Effective integration of inferencing, hypertext and text retrieval can overcome some of the limitations of these current paradigms of legal computerisation which are apparent when they (...) are used on a stand-alone basis. Effective integration of inferencing systems is facilitated by use of a (quasi) natural language knowledge representation, and the benefits of isomorphism are enhanced. These advantages of integration apply to all forms of inferencing, including document generation and casebased inferencing. Some principles for development of integrated legal decision support systems are proposed. (shrink)
Interactive computer systems can support their users in problem solving, both in Performing their work tasks and in using the systems themselves. Not only is direct support for heuristics beneficial, but to do so modifies the form of computer support provided. This Paper defines and explores the use of problem solving heuristics in user interface design.
In making a contribution, a person's life gains meaning. A small contribution affects a few people for a short time, while a large contribution affects many people for a long time. Within the framework of an abstract, computational world, a metric on contributions is defined. Simulation of the computational model shows the critical role of gradualness. Gradualness can be supported by human-computer systems in which the computer does the copying and arithmetic, and the human applies a rich understanding of (...) the world. The role of gradualness in the research areas of machine learning and hypertext is highlighted. (shrink)
The study of hyperidentities is a growing field of research. While hyperidentities hark back to before 1965, they have found a rebirth in the late seventies and early eighties. It is being expanded in several directions, from connections with clone theory, to finite basis problems, to semigroup theory, to classification of M-solid varieties. Applications to digital logic, formal languages, and hypertextsystems have been suggested. The concept of a P-compatible equation, where P is a partition on the set (...) of operation symbols, is a good tool to study the structure of identities. In  we asked for P-compatible hyperidentities. In this paper we will consider hypersubstitutions which are compatible with the partition P and will develop a generalized equational theory for certain P-compatible hyperidentities. (shrink)
In the last decade, Systems Biology has emerged as a conceptual and explanatory alternative to reductionist-based approaches in molecular biology. However, the foundations of this new discipline need to be fleshed out more carefully. In this paper, we claim that a relational ontology is a necessary tool to ground both the conceptual and explanatory aspects of Systems Biology. A relational ontology holds that relations are prior—both conceptually and explanatory—to entities, and that in the biological realm entities are defined (...) primarily by the context they are embedded within—and hence by the web of relations they are part of. (shrink)
In this reply to James H. Fetzer’s “Minds and Machines: Limits to Simulations of Thought and Action”, I argue that computationalism should not be the view that (human) cognition is computation, but that it should be the view that cognition (simpliciter) is computable. It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain. I also argue that, if semiotic systems are systems that interpret signs, then both humans and (...) computers are semiotic systems. Finally, I suggest that minds can be considered as virtual machines implemented in certain semiotic systems, primarily the brain, but also AI computers. In doing so, I take issue with Fetzer’s arguments to the contrary. (shrink)
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)
Argues for a category of “cognitive feelings”, which are representationally significant, but are not part of the content of the states they accompany. The feeling of pastness in episodic memory, of familiarity (missing in Capgras syndrome), and of motivation (that accompanies desire) are examples. The feeling of presence that accompanies normal visual states is due to such a cognitive feeling; the “two visual systems” are partially responsible for this feeling.
Humean reductionism about laws of nature appears to leave a central aspect of scientific practice unmotivated: If the world’s fundamental structure is exhausted by the actual distribution of non-modal properties and the laws of nature are merely efficient summaries of this distribution, then why does science posit laws that cover a wide range of non-actual circumstances? In this paper, we develop a new version of the Humean best systems account of laws based on the idea that laws need to (...) organize information in a way that maximizes their cognitive usefulness for creature like us. We argue that this account motivates scientific practice because the laws’ applicability to non-actual circumstances falls right out of their cognitive usefulness. (shrink)
The paper discusses how systems biology is working toward complex accounts that integrate explanation in terms of mechanisms and explanation by mathematical models—which some philosophers have viewed as rival models of explanation. Systems biology is an integrative approach, and it strongly relies on mathematical modeling. Philosophical accounts of mechanisms capture integrative in the sense of multilevel and multifield explanations, yet accounts of mechanistic explanation have failed to address how a mathematical model could contribute to such explanations. I discuss (...) how mathematical equations can be explanatorily relevant. Several cases from systems biology are discussed to illustrate the interplay between mechanistic research and mathematical modeling, and I point to questions about qualitative phenomena, where quantitative models are still indispensable to the explanation. Systems biology shows that a broader philosophical conception of mechanisms is needed, which takes into account functional-dynamical aspects, interaction in complex networks with feedback loops, system-wide functional properties such as distributed functionality and robustness, and a mechanism’s ability to respond to perturbations. I offer general conclusions for philosophical accounts of explanation. (shrink)
We propose a multi-step evaluation schema designed to help procurement agencies and others to examine the ethical dimensions of autonomous systems to be applied in the security sector, including autonomous weapons systems.
Evolutionary systems biology aims to integrate methods from systems biology and evolutionary biology to go beyond the current limitations in both fields. This article clarifies some conceptual difficulties of this integration project, and shows how they can be overcome. The main challenge we consider involves the integration of evolutionary biology with developmental dynamics, illustrated with two examples. First, we examine historical tensions between efforts to define general evolutionary principles and articulation of detailed mechanistic explanations of specific traits. Next, (...) these tensions are further clarified by considering a recent case from another field focused on developmental dynamics: stem cell biology. In the stem cell case, incompatible explanatory aims block integration. Experimental approaches aim at mechanistic explanation while dynamical system models offer explanation in terms of general principles. We then discuss an ESB case in which integration succeeds: search for general attractors using a dynamical systems framework synergizes with the experimental search for detailed mechanisms. Contrasts between the positive and negative cases suggest general lessons for achieving an integrated understanding of developmental and evolutionary dynamics. The key integrative move is to acknowledge two complementary aims, both relevant to explanation: identifying the space of possible dynamic states and trajectories, and mechanistic understanding of causal interactions underlying a specific phenomenon of interest. These two aims can support one another in a joint project characterizing dynamic aspects of evolving lineages. This more inclusive project can lead to insights that cannot be reached by either approach in isolation. (shrink)
The significance and potential of systems theory and complexity theory are best appreciated through an understanding of their origins. Arguably, their originator was the Russian philosopher and revolutionary, Aleksandr Bogdanov. Bogdanov anticipated later developments of systems theory and complexity theory in his efforts to lay the foundations for a new, post-capitalist culture and science. This science would overcome the division between the natural and the human sciences and enable workers to organize themselves and their productive activity. It would (...) be central to the culture of a society in which class and gender divisions have been transcended. At the same time it would free people from the deformed thinking of class societies, enabling them to appreciate both the limitations and the significance of their environments and other forms of life. In this paper it is argued that whatever Bogdanov's limitations, such a science is still required if we are to create a society free of class divisions, and that it is in this light that developments in systems theory and complexity theory should be judged. (shrink)
“Scaling-up” is the next hurdle facing the local food movement. In order to effect broader systemic impacts, local food systems (LFS) will have to grow, and engage either more or larger consumers and producers. Encouraging the involvement of mid-sized farms looks to be an elegant solution, by broadening the accessibility of local food while providing alternative revenue streams for troubled family farms. Logistical, structural and regulatory barriers to increased scale in LFS are well known. Less is understood about the (...) way in which scale developments affect the perception and legitimacy of LFS. This value-added opportunity begs the question: Is the value that adheres to local food scalable? Many familiar with local food discourse might suggest that important pieces of added value within LFS are generated by the reconnection of producer and consumer, the direct exchange through which this occurs, and the shared goals and values that provide the basis for reconnection. However, these assertions are based on tenuous assumptions about how interactions within the direct exchange produce value, and how LFS are governed. Examination shows that existing assumptions do not properly acknowledge the hybridity, diversity, and flexibility inherent in LFS. A clear analysis of the potential of scale in LFS will depend on understanding both how value is determined within LFS, and the processes through which these systems are governed. Such an analysis shows that, while scaled-up LFS will be challenged to maintain legitimacy and an identity as “alternative”, the establishment of an open governance process—based on a “negotiation of accommodations”—is likely to enhance their viability. (shrink)
The research aims to identify the impact of the management requirements on operating of computerized management information systems to improve performance, and discuss the perceptions of respondents to develop the performance of employees in the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company, the researchers used the stratified sample method, (360) questionnaires were distributed on the study sample, (306) questionnaires were recoved with a percentage of (85%). The most important findings of the study: computerized MI have a positive impact on the development of (...) performance in the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company systems. The is statistical significance impact between “the physical, software supplies, human and organizational” requirements for the management and operation of computerized management information systems and performance development in the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company. -/- The research also concluded a series of recommendations: the need to strengthen the company's management interest in the use of computerized management information systems in all its components and elements of being an important variable which contributes to the effect on performance development. It's essential that we develop the infrastructure for information technology in general, and computerized management information systems, in particular for the development of performance. Increased interest in providing the material of equipment and devices used in the computerized management information system requirements. Interest in providing technical inputs to the computerized management information systems through keeping pace with technological means and modern techniques and work on the training of personnel to use those systems. And increased attention to human inputs of computerized management information systems "specialists technicians and end-users" through a variety of disciplines working in the field of computerized management information systems. (shrink)
The complex systems approach to cognitive science invites a new understanding of extended cognitive systems. According to this understanding, extended cognitive systems are heterogenous, composed of brain, body, and niche, non-linearly coupled to one another. This view of cognitive systems, as non-linearly coupled brain–body–niche systems, promises conceptual and methodological advances. In this article we focus on two of these. First, the fundamental interdependence among brain, body, and niche makes it possible to explain extended cognition without (...) invoking representations or computation. Second, cognition and conscious experience can be understood as a single phenomenon, eliminating fruitless philosophical discussion of qualia and the so-called hard problem of consciousness. What we call “extended phenomenological-cognitive systems” are relational and dynamical entities, with interactions among heterogeneous parts at multiple spatial and temporal scales. (shrink)
Impure systems contain Objects and Subjects: Subjects are human beings. We can distinguish a person as an observer (subjectively outside the system) and that by definition is the Subject himself, and part of the system. In this case he acquires the category of object. Objects (relative beings) are significances, which are the consequence of perceptual beliefs on the part of the Subject about material or energetic objects (absolute beings) with certain characteristics.The IS (Impure System) approach is as follows: Objects (...) are perceptual significances (relative beings) of material or energetic objects (absolute beings). The set of these objects will form an impure set of the first order. The existing relations between these relative objects will be of two classes: transactions of matter and/or energy and inferential relations. Transactions can have alethic modality: necessity, possibility, impossibility and contingency. Ontic existence of possibility entails that inferential relations have Deontic modality: obligation, permission, prohibition, faculty and analogy. We distinguished between theorems (natural laws) and norms (ethical, legislative and customary rules of conduct). (shrink)
Due to the variation, contingency and complexity of living systems, biology is often taken to be a science without fundamental theories, laws or general principles. I revisit this question in light of the quest for design principles in systems biology and show that different views can be reconciled if we distinguish between different types of generality. The philosophical literature has primarily focused on generality of specific models or explanations, or on the heuristic role of abstraction. This paper takes (...) a different approach in emphasizing a theory-constituting role of general principles. Design principles signify general dependency-relations between structures and functions, given a set of formally defined constraints. I contend that design principles increase our understanding of living systems by relating specific models to general types. The categorization of types is based on a delineation of the scope of biological possibilities, which serves to identify and define the generic features of classes of systems. To characterize the basis for general principles through generic abstraction and reasoning about possibility spaces, I coin the term constraint-based generality. I show that constraint-based generality is distinct from other types of generality in biology, and argue that general principles play a unifying role that does not entail theory reduction. (shrink)
In this paper the central ideas and history of the theory of complex systems are described. It is shown how this theory lends itself to different interpretations and, correspondingly, to different political conclusions.
This paper aims to identify the decision support systems and their role on the strategic management development in the Universities- Case Study: Islamic University of Gaza. The descriptive approach was used where a questionnaire was developed and distributed to a stratified random sample. (230) questionnaires were distributed and (204) were returned with response rate (88.7%). The most important findings of the study: The presence of a statistically significant positive correlation between the decision support systems and strategic management in (...) the Islamic University in Gaza, and this shows that there is a role for decision support systems in strategic management development. The senior management is convinced of the importance of strategic management of the organization, and this conviction paid to clearly understand the process of the development of strategic management and thus led to a commitment to this process to improve its performance. There is an impact on the strategic management of the capabilities available for the use of decision support systems, and the type of decision support systems used, while there is little effect of top management support for the use of decision support systems. Also, the results showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the averages of the respondents answers attributed to personal data. The research also concluded a series of recommendations: The Islamic University of Gaza need to develop its infrastructure of decision support systems when it develops the strategic management. It should increase its interest in organizational potential through the necessity of a separate unit for decision support systems. As well as increased interest in the physical and technical capabilities available to decision support systems through continuity in keeping pace with technological means and techniques, continued support of senior management in the organization of strategic management for its positive role on decision support systems, that senior management will continue in the organization in creating a culture of strategic management, and it should encourage employees to participate in the strategic management process. (shrink)
Developmental systems theory (DST) is a wholeheartedly epigenetic approach to development, inheritance and evolution. The developmental system of an organism is the entire matrix of resources that are needed to reproduce the life cycle. The range of developmental resources that are properly described as being inherited, and which are subject to natural selection, is far wider than has traditionally been allowed. Evolution acts on this extended set of developmental resources. From a developmental systems perspective, development does not proceed (...) according to a preformed plan; what is inherited is much more than DNA; and evolution is change not only in gene frequencies, but in entire developmental systems. (shrink)
This paper aims to identify computerized management information systems resources and their relationship to the development of performance in the Electricity Distribution Company in Gaza. This research used two dimensions. The first dimension is computerized management information systems and the second dimension the Development of Performance. The control sample was (063). (360) questioners were distributed and (306) were retrieved back with a percentage of (85%). Several statistical tools were used for data analysis and hypotheses testing, including reliability correlation (...) using Cronbach’s alpha, “ANOVA”, Simple Linear Regression and Step Wise Regression. The overall findings of the current study suggested the presence of a statistically significant relationship between resources (physical, software, and human and organizational) for the computerized management information systems and the development of performance in the Electricity Distribution Company in Gaza. The study recommended the following: The need to strengthen the company's management interest in the potential of computerized management information systems and using them in the computerization of all the company's activities. And the need to involve workers and users in the design of computerized management information systems and assessment and development process. And strengthen the relationship between users and information systems personnel in the department responsible for the system. And it is essential that the company is developing the infrastructure for information technology in general, and computerized management information systems, in particular for the development of performance. And increase interest in providing resources (physical, software, and human and organizational) for the computerized management information systems. The current study is unique by the virtue of its nature, scope and way of implied investigation, as it is the first study at Electricity Distribution Company in Gaza resources explores the status of Computerized management information systems and their relationship to the development of performance in the Electricity Distribution Company in Gaza increasing interest in Computerized management information systems through continuity, keeping pace with technological means and modern techniques. (shrink)
Developmental systems theory (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.
According to the two-systems account of mindreading, our mature perspective-taking abilities are subserved by two distinct mindreading systems: a fast but inflexible, “implicit” system, and a flexible but slow “explicit” one. However, the currently available evidence on adult perspective-taking does not support this account. Specifically, both Level-1 and Level-2 perspective-taking show a combination of efficiency and flexibility that is deeply inconsistent with the two-systems architecture. This inconsistency also turns out to have serious consequences for the two-systems (...) framework as a whole, both as an account of our mature mindreading abilities and of the development of those abilities. What emerges from this critique is a conception of context-sensitive, spontaneous mindreading that may provide insight into how mindreading functions in complex social environments. This in turn offers a bulwark against skepticism about the role of mindreading in everyday social cognition. (shrink)
This paper aims to identify Performance development and its relationship to demographic variables among users of computerized management information systems in Gaza Electricity Distribution Company. This research used two dimensions. The first dimension is demographic variables among users of computerized management information systems and the second dimension the Development of Performance. The control sample was (360) questioners were distributed and (306) were retrieved back with a percentage of (85%). Several statistical tools were used for data analysis and hypotheses (...) testing, including reliability correlation using Cronbach’s alpha, “ANOVA”, Simple Linear Regression and Step Wise Regression. The overall findings of the current study suggested The results showed that: demographic variables among users of computerized management information systems have a positive relationship on the development of performance in Gaza Electricity Distribution Company, there were no statistically significant differences between the perceptions of respondents about performance development and its relationship to demographic variables among users of computerized management information systems in Gaza Electricity Distribution Company which attributable to gender variable, there exist a significant relationship between perceptions of the respondents for each of the resources (physical, software, and human) for computerized management information systems attributed to variable (age), there are no significant differences in the fields of (organizational resources) for computerized management information systems and (development of performance) attributable to variable (age) and that can be explained by the fact that the senior management deals with job titles not with age, there are significant differences between the perceptions of the respondents for each of the fields of resources (physical, software, and organizational) for computerized management information systems attributed to variable (educational qualification), the presence of a statistically significant differences between the perceptions of the respondents for each of the fields of "organizational resources for demographic variables among users of computerized management information systems " and ”development of performance” due to the variable (years of service), there is no statistically significant differences between respondents' perceptions about the fields of resources (physical, software, and human) for computerized management information systems attributed to variable (years of service). The study recommended the following: The need to strengthen the company's management interest in the use of computerized management information systems in all the systems components and elements as being an important variable which contributes to the development of performance. Strengthening the relationship between the users of information system and personnel systems in the department responsible for the system so that employees understand the technological and technical information needed by all users of information systems. It is essential that the company develop the infrastructure for information technology in general, and computerized management information systems, in particular for the development of performance. Increasing attention to provide material resources of equipment and devices used in the computerized management information system, and the interest in providing technical resources for management information systems keeping pace with technological means and modern techniques and work on the training of personnel to use those systems. Greater attention to human resource computerized management information systems “specialized technicians and end-users" through a variety of disciplines working in the field of computerized management information systems. The current study is unique by the virtue of its nature, scope and way of implied investigation, as it is the first study at Gaza Electricity Distribution Company resources explores the status of demographic variables among users of computerized management information systems and their relationship to the development of performance in Gaza Electricity Distribution Company increasing interest in Computerized management information systems through continuity, keeping pace with technological means and modern techniques. (shrink)
Unmanned systems in military applications will often play a role in determining the success or failure of combat missions and thus in determining who lives and dies in times of war. Designers of UMS must therefore consider ethical, as well as operational, requirements and limits when developing UMS. I group the ethical issues involved in UMS design under two broad headings, Building Safe Systems and Designing for the Law of Armed Conflict, and identify and discuss a number of (...) issues under each of these headings. As well as identifying issues, I offer some analysis of their implications and how they might be addressed. (shrink)
We examine the relationship between the logics of nonsense of Bochvar and Halldén and the containment logics in the neighborhood of William Parry’s A I. We detail two strategies for manufacturing containment logics from nonsense logics—taking either connexive and paraconsistent fragments of such systems—and show how systems determined by these techniques have appeared as Frederick Johnson’s R C and Carlos Oller’s A L. In particular, we prove that Johnson’s system is precisely the intersection of Bochvar’s B 3 and (...) Graham Priest’s non-symmetrized connexive logic and that Oller’s system lies just beneath the intersection of B 3 and Priest’s paraconsistent L P. We conclude by examining Oller’s system in more depth, giving it a characterization in terms of L P and showing that it plays the same role to Harry Deutsch’s paraconsistent containment logic S that Aleksandr Zinov'ev’s S 1 plays with respect to A I. (shrink)
The two contrasting theoretical approaches to visual perception, the constructivist and the ecological, are briefly presented and illustrated through their analyses of space and size perception. Earlier calls for their reconciliation and unification are reviewed. Neurophysiological, neuropsychological, and psychophysical evidence for the existence of two quite distinct visual systems, the ventral and the dorsal, is presented. These two perceptual systems differ in their functions; the ventral system's central function is that of identification, while the dorsal system is mainly (...) engaged in the visual control of motor behavior. The strong parallels between the ecological approach and the functioning of the dorsal system, and between the constructivist approach and the functioning of the ventral system are noted. It is also shown that the experimental paradigms used by the proponents of these two approaches match the functions of the respective visual systems. A dual-process approach to visual perception emerges from this analysis, with the ecological-dorsal process transpiring mainly without conscious awareness, while the constructivist-ventral process is normally conscious. Some implications of this dual-process approach to visual-perceptual phenomena are presented, with emphasis on space perception. Key Words: constructivist; dual-process approach; ecological; size perception; space perception; two visual systems; visual perception theories. (shrink)
Although molecular biology has meant different things at different times, the term is often associated with a tendency to view cellular causation as conforming to simple linear schemas in which macro-scale effects are specified by micro-scale structures. The early achievements of molecular biologists were important for the formation of such an outlook, one to which the discovery of recombinant DNA techniques, and a number of other findings, gave new life even after the complexity of genotype–phenotype relations had become apparent. Against this (...) background we outline how a range of scientific developments and conceptual considerations can be regarded as enabling and perhaps necessitating contemporary systems approaches. We suggest that philosophical ideas have a valuable part to play in making sense of complex scientific and disciplinary issues. (shrink)
Griffiths and Russell D. Gray (1994, 1997, 2001) have argued that the fundamental unit of analysis in developmental systems theory should be a process – the life cycle – and not a set of developmental resources and interactions between those resources. The key concepts of developmental systems theory, epigenesis and developmental dynamics, both also suggest a process view of the units of development. This chapter explores in more depth the features of developmental systems theory that favour treating (...) processes as fundamental in biology and examines the continuity between developmental systems theory and ideas about process in the work of several major figures in early 20th century biology, most notable C.H Waddington. (shrink)
Integrative systems biology is an emerging field that attempts to integrate computation, applied mathematics, engineering concepts and methods, and biological experimentation in order to model large-scale complex biochemical networks. The field is thus an important contemporary instance of an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex problems. Interdisciplinary science is a recent topic in the philosophy of science. Determining what is philosophically important and distinct about interdisciplinary practices requires detailed accounts of problem-solving practices that attempt to understand how specific practices address (...) the challenges and constraints of interdisciplinary research in different contexts. In this paper we draw from our 5-year empirical ethnographic study of two systems biology labs and their collaborations with experimental biologists to analyze a significant problem-solving approach in ISB, which we call adaptive problem solving. ISB lacks much of the methodological and theoretical resources usually found in disciplines in the natural sciences, such as methodological frameworks that prescribe reliable model-building processes. Researchers in our labs compensate for the lack of these and for the complexity of their problems by using a range of heuristics and experimenting with multiple methods and concepts from the background fields available to them. Using these resources researchers search out good techniques and practices for transforming intractable problems into potentially solvable ones. The relative freedom lab directors grant their researchers to explore methodological options and find good practices that suit their problems is not only a response to the complex interdisciplinary nature of the specific problem, but also provides the field itself with an opportunity to discover more general methodological approaches and develop theories of biological systems. Such developments in turn can help to establish the field as an identifiably distinct and successful approach to understanding biological systems. (shrink)
This article argues for a task-based approach to identifying and individuating cognitive systems. The agent-based extended cognition approach faces a problem of cognitive bloat and has difficulty accommodating both sub-individual cognitive systems ("scaling down") and some supra-individual cognitive systems ("scaling up"). The standard distributed cognition approach can accommodate a wider variety of supra-individual systems but likewise has difficulties with sub-individual systems and faces the problem of cognitive bloat. We develop a task-based variant of distributed cognition (...) designed to scale up and down smoothly while providing a principled means of avoiding cognitive bloat. The advantages of the task-based approach are illustrated by means of two parallel case studies: re-representation in the human visual system and in a biomedical engineering laboratory. (shrink)
Theories of cognitive development must address both the issue of how children bring their knowledge to bear on behavior in-the-moment, and how knowledge changes over time. We argue that seeking answers to these questions requires an appreciation of the dynamic nature of the developing system in its full, reciprocal complexity. We illustrate this dynamic complexity with results from two lines of research on early word learning. The first demonstrates how the child's active engagement with objects and people supports referent selection (...) via memories for what objects were previously seen in a cued location. The second set of results highlights changes in the role of novelty and attentional processes in referent selection and retention as children's knowledge of words and objects grows. Together this work suggests that understanding systems for perception, action, attention, and memory, and their complex interaction, is critical to understand word learning. We review recent literature that highlights the complex interactions between these processes in cognitive development and point to critical issues for future work. (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 dynamical systems theory 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)
Understanding how scientific activities use naming stories to achieve disciplinary status is important not only for insight into the past, but for evaluating current claims that new disciplines are emerging. In order to gain a historical understanding of how new disciplines develop in relation to these baptismal narratives, we compare two recently formed disciplines, systems biology and genomics, with two earlier related life sciences, genetics and molecular biology. These four disciplines span the twentieth century, a period in which the (...) processes of disciplinary demarcation fundamentally changed from those characteristic of the nineteenth century. We outline how the establishment of each discipline relies upon an interplay of factors that include paradigmatic achievements, technological innovation, and social formations. Our focus, however, is the baptism stories that give the new discipline a founding narrative and articulate core problems, general approaches and constitutive methods. The highly plastic process of achieving disciplinary identity is further marked by the openness of disciplinary definition, tension between technological possibilities and the ways in which scientific issues are conceived and approached, synthesis of reductive and integrative strategies, and complex social interactions. The importance – albeit highly variable – of naming stories in these four cases indicates the scope for future studies that focus on failed disciplines or competing names. Further attention to disciplinary histories could, we suggest, give us richer insight into scientific development. (shrink)
The globalization movement in recent decades has meant rapid growth in trade, financial transactions, and cross-country ownership of economic assets. In this article, we examine how the globalization of national business systems has influenced the framing of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is done using text analysis of CEO letters appearing in the annual reports of 15 major corporations in Sweden during a period of transformational change. The results show that the discourse about CSR in the annual reports has (...) changed from a national and communitarian view of social responsibility (cf. a negotiated view of CSR) toward an international and individualistic view of social responsibility (cf. a self-regulating view of CSR). The article contributes theoretically (1) by adding a national–global dimension to previous conceptualizations of CSR and (2) by showing that the rise of CSR discourse and activities in the last 10 years does not have to imply an increased commitment and interest in corporate responsibility per se, only that there are increased societal expectations that corporations should develop the capability to act more independently as moral agents. (shrink)
In response to growing trendsin the current food system toward globalintegration, economic consolidation, andenvironmental degradation, communities haveinitiated alternative, more sustainable foodand agricultural systems. Lessons may now belearned about the development and maintenanceof local, sustainable food systems projects –those that attempt to integrate theenvironmental, economic, and social health oftheir food systems in particular places. Fourkinds of space need to be created and protected– social space, political space, intellectualspace, and economic space. Three importantthemes emerge from these community spaces:public participation, (...) new partnerships, and acommitment to social, economic, andenvironmental justice principles. (shrink)
From his earliest work forward, phenomenologist Maurice 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 intrinsic 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 systems theory 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)
We argue that the notion of trust, as it figures in an ethical context, can be illuminated by examining research in artificial intelligence on multi-agent systems in which commitment and trust are modeled. We begin with an analysis of a philosophical model of trust based on Richard Holton’s interpretation of P. F. Strawson’s writings on freedom and resentment, and we show why this account of trust is difficult to extend to artificial agents (AAs) as well as to other non-human (...) entities. We then examine Margaret Urban Walker’s notions of “default trust” and “default, diffuse trust” to see how these concepts can inform our analysis of trust in the context of AAs. In the final section, we show how ethicists can improve their understanding of important features in the trust relationship by examining data resulting from a classic experiment involving AAs. (shrink)
This paper argues that the inappropriate framing and implementation of plagiarism detection systems in UK universities can unwittingly construct international students as ‘plagiarists’. It argues that these systems are often implemented with inappropriate assumptions about plagiarism and the way in which new members of a community of practice develop the skills to become full members of that community. Drawing on the literature and some primary data it shows how expectations, norms and practices become translated and negotiated in such (...) a way that legitimate attempts to conform with the expectations of the community of practice often become identified as plagiarism and illegitimate attempts at cheating often become obscured from view. It argues that this inappropriate framing and implementation of plagiarism detection systems may make academic integrity more illusive rather than less. It argues that in its current framing – as systems for ‘detection and discipline’ – plagiarism detection systems may become a new micro-politics of power with devastating consequences for those excluded. (shrink)