The computational paradigm, which has dominated psychology and artificial intelligence since the cognitive revolution, has been a source of intense debate. Recently, several cognitive scientists have argued against this paradigm, not by objecting to computation, but rather by objecting to the notion of representation. Our analysis of these objections reveals that it is not the notion of representation per se that is causing the problem, but rather specific properties of representations as they are used in various psychological theories. Our analysis (...) suggests that all theorists accept the idea that cognitive processing involves internal information-carrying states that mediate cognitive processing. These mediating states are a superordinate category of representations. We discuss five properties that can be added to mediating states and examine their importance in various cognitive models. Finally, three methodological lessons are drawn from our analysis and discussion. (shrink)
Representation is a central part of models in cognitive science, but recently this idea has come under attack. Researchers advocating perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems have argued against central assumptions of the classical representational approach to mind. We review the core assumptions of the dominant view of representation and the four suggested alternatives. We argue that representation should remain a core part of cognitive science, but that the insights from these alternative approaches must be incorporated (...) into models of cognitive processing. (shrink)
Advocates of dynamic systems have suggested that higher mental processes are based on continuous representations. In order to evaluate this claim, we first define the concept of representation, and rigorously distinguish between discrete representations and continuous representations. We also explore two important bases of representational content. Then, we present seven arguments that discrete representations are necessary for any system that must discriminate between two or more states. It follows that higher mental processes require discrete representations. We also argue that discrete (...) representations are more influenced by conceptual role than continuous representations. We end by arguing that the presence of discrete representations in cognitive systems entails that computationalism (i.e., the view that the mind is a computational device) is true, and that cognitive science should embrace representational pluralism. (shrink)
The proposed model is put forward as a template for the dynamical systems approach to embodied cognition. In order to extend this view to cognitive processing in general, however, two limitations must be overcome. First, it must be demonstrated that sensorimotor coordination of the type evident in the A-not-B error is typical of other aspects of cognition. Second, the explanatory utility of dynamical systems models must be clarified.
Pothos suggests dispensing with the distinction between rules and similarity, without defining what is meant by either term. We agree that there are problems with the distinction between rules and similarity, but believe these will be solved only by exploring the representations and processes underlying cases purported to involve rules and similarity.
Although, when first introduced, Copernicus's theory considered as a whole was not superior to the Ptolemaic theory according to any of the usual criteria for comparing theories and determining their acceptability, it did have features which provided the early Copernicans with good reasons for entertaining it and trying to develop it further. These features are discussed and then three plausibility considerations which seem to be operative in this case are formulated.
In order to develop sophisticated models of the core domains of knowledge that support complex cognitive processing in infants and children, developmental psychologists have mapped out the content of these knowledge domains. This research strategy may provide a blueprint for advancing research on adult cognitive processing. I illustrate this suggestion with examples from analogical reasoning and decision making.
On reading David Chalmers's book, The Conscious Mind (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), one is struck by the author's efforts to meet the difficulties and obscurities in understanding the human mind, as indeed most other philosophers have, by hazarding theories. Such undertakings rest on two broad, usually unexamined, assumptions. One is that we have direct access to our conscious minds such that pronouncements about it and its contents are descriptive. The other is that our actions have causal explanations which (...) incorporate beliefs, intentions, desires, etc . (propositional attitudes) as functional elements. These assumptions are questioned in this essay. They rest upon a notion of data which is out of place in explicating the mind. The conclusion reached is that we do not know our own minds because there are no data upon which such knowledge might be founded, and, consequently, there can be no responsible theories of mind. (shrink)
It seems to have been taken for granted that we all know what a human action is. However in attempting to draw from what philosophers have said about actions the necessary clues as to their distinguishing features, one finds little to discourage the idea that there is no way of distinguishing one category of occurrences, human actions, from the complex of different sorts of things which happen. From this I am tempted to conclude that there is no category of human (...) action. But before drawing such a conclusion an ancient but terrible question must be faced: What sorts of things happen in the world ? This ancient question is faced but not answered. It is brought up because the failure to find a satisfactory answer to the question, Is human action a category? is a failure even to find a satisfactory assumption about what kind of reference the term ?human action? is supposed to have. (shrink)
To say that a single human action can be given different descriptions is to imply that the contrast between action and description is intelligible. There are several ways in which such a contrast is easily understood, but those ways do not meet philosophers? needs. They have said that the descriptions are all true, thereby excluding that interpretation in which no more than one description could be true. They have emphasized the word ?different?, therefore that interpretation in which the descriptions are (...) partial and consequently combinable into one larger description is excluded. The descriptions must be different and true while remaining descriptions of the same single action. How can we conceive of this sort of contrast between description and action? It is not a familiar one. Several attempts are made in this paper to provide a way of conceiving of the contrast. All fail. The conclusion is hesitantly drawn that we have no other way to conceive of different human actions than by descriptions which are different from one another and true. (shrink)
Analogical reminding in humans and machines is a great source for chance discoveries because analogical reminding can produce representational change and thereby produce insights. Here, we present a new kind of representational change associated with analogical reminding called packing. We derived the algorithm in part from human data we have on packing. Here, we explain packing and its role in analogy making, and then present a computer model of packing in a micro-domain. We conclude that packing is likely used in (...) human chance discoveries, and is needed if our machines are to make their own chance discoveries. (shrink)
Each contributor to this book has used personal experience as the basis from which to frame his individual sociological perspectives. Because they have personalized their work, their accounts are real, and recognizable as having come from 'real' persons, about 'real' experiences. There are no objectively-distanced disembodied third person entities in these accounts. These writers are actual people whose stories will make you laugh, cry, think, and want to know more.