How do minds emerge from developing brains? According to the representational features of cortex are built from the dynamic interaction between neural growth mechanisms and environmentally derived neural activity. Contrary to popular selectionist models that emphasize regressive mechanisms, the neurobiological evidence suggests that this growth is a progressive increase in the representational properties of cortex. The interaction between the environment and neural growth results in a flexible type of learning: minimizes the need for prespecification in accordance with recent neurobiological evidence (...) that the developing cerebral cortex is largely free of domain-specific structure. Instead, the representational properties of cortex are built by the nature of the problem domain confronting it. This uniquely powerful and general learning strategy undermines the central assumption of classical learnability theory, that the learning properties of a system can be deduced from a fixed computational architecture. Neural constructivism suggests that the evolutionary emergence of neocortex in mammals is a progression toward more flexible representational structures, in contrast to the popular view of cortical evolution as an increase in innate, specialized circuits. Human cortical postnatal development is also more extensive and protracted than generally supposed, suggesting that cortex has evolved so as to maximize the capacity of environmental structure to shape its structure and function through constructive learning. (shrink)
On standard readings of Grice, Gricean communication requires (a) possession of a concept of belief, (b) the ability to make complex inferences about others’ goal-directed behaviour, and (c) the ability to entertain fourth order meta-representations. To the extent that these abilities are pre-requisites of Gricean communication they are inconsistent with the view that Gricean communication could play a role in their development. In this paper, I argue that a class of ‘minimally Gricean acts’ satisfy the intentional structure described by (...) Grice, but require none of abilities (a)-(c). As a result, Gricean communicative abilities may indeed contribute to the development of (a)-(c) – in particular, by enabling language development. This conclusion has important implications for our theorising about cognitivedevelopment. (shrink)
There is clearly some area of thematic overlap between the subject matter of Edmund Husserl's genetic phenomenology and studies of cognitivedevelopment. I aim in this paper to clarify the extent of this overlap. This will, I hope, serve as an indicator about whether genetic phenomenology might be able to shed some light on actual cognitive-development phenomena. To begin with, I differentiate two strands within Husserl's genetic phenomenology, an idealized and a concrete approach. After providing a (...) schematic outline of the former I argue that its application to actual, empirical cases of cognitivedevelopment faces serious challenges. I then set out the concrete approach, in two stages. First, I explain the importance of bodily experience on the concrete approach and note some affinities it has with the work of Piaget and embodied approaches to cognitivedevelopment. Second, I introduce the notion of affect as the engine of the developmental process on the concrete approach, an idea that, moreover, helps clarify how the concrete approach overcomes the problems facing the idealized approach. Finally, I propose that Vygotsky's notion of the 'zone of proximal development' can serve as a bridge between Husserl's concrete approach and contemporary scaffolded and extended accounts of cognitivedevelopment. (shrink)
This paper discusses how to use cognitive developmental psychology to create a business ethics course that has philosophical integrity. It begins with the pedagogical problem to be overcome when students are not philosophy majors. To provide a context for the practical recommendations, Kohlberg's cognitive developmental theory is summarized and then the relationship between Kohlberg's theory, normative philosophy, and teaching is analyzed. The conclusion recommends strategies that should help overcome some of the vexing pedagogical problems mentioned in the first (...) section. In particular, the approach is designed to teach an appreciation for the practical necessity of philosophy in a pluralistic society. (shrink)
In Section 1, I introduce three views that explain human cognitivedevelopment from different standpoints: Marcus’s neo-nativism, standard neuroconstructivism, and neo-neuroconstructivism. In Section 2, I assess Marcus’s attempt to reconcile nativism with developmental flexibility. In Section 3, I argue that in structurally reconfiguring nativism, Marcus ends up transforming it into an unrecognizable form, and I claim that his view could be accommodated within the more general framework provided by standard neuroconstructivism. In Section 4, I focus on recent empirical (...) findings in neuropsychology and cultural/social neuroscience, and propose a friendly revision to standard neuroconstructivism, thus developing the neo-neuroconstructivist view. I conclude the article in Section 5 by analysing the implications of the results discussed in Section 4 for both neo-nativism and standard neuroconstructivism. 1 Introduction2 Marcus’s Neo-nativism3 Is Marcus’s Neo-nativism Really a Form of Nativism?4 Neo-neuroconstructivism and Dynamic Enskillment5 Conclusion. (shrink)
Thelen et al.'s account of cognition as the dynamic interaction of processes of perceiving, reaching, and remembering within a movement planning field is a useful articulation of the Piagetian concept of sensorimotor cognition. The claim that the same kind of analysis applies to all kinds of cognition at all ages, however, is questioned in light of the distinction between sensorimotor and symbolic cognition.
Siyaves Azeri (2020) quite well shows that arithmetical thinking emerges on the basis of specific social practices and material engagement (clay tokens for economic exchange practices beget number concepts, e.g.). But his discussion here is relegated mostly to Neolithic and Bronze Age practices. While surely such practices produced revolutions in the cognitive abilities of many humans, much of the cognitive architecture that allows normative conceptual thought was already in place long before this time. This response, then, is an (...) attempt to sketch the deep prehistory of human cognition in order to show the inter-social bases of normative thought in general. To do this, I will look first to the work of Vygotsky and Leontiev, two often neglected psychologists whose combined efforts culminate in a developmental account of human cognitive origins. Then, I will review some key insights from the contemporary comparative psychologist Michael Tomasello—whose project is admittedly a Vygotskian one—in order to further shed light on the social-practical basis of abstract thought, of which mathematical cognition is surely a part. (shrink)
Abstract This paper rejects the notion of moral education in adulthood as merely remedial, i.e. as providing a second chance to learn that which should have been learned in school, or as merely compensatory, i.e. as making up for the waning of our cognitive abilities which (stereotypically) occurs with age. Rather, it advocates a conception of lifelong moral education which presupposes that there are social and cognitive features of maturity which have the potential to generate some worthwhile learning (...) which can therefore only be acquired in adulthood. First the theoretical issues associated with this presupposition will be outlined and the notions of dialectical/relativistic and eclectic/synthesising forms of thinking, as adult stages of thinking, will be explored in the context of moral development and education. Secondly, reference will be made to some relatively recent research undertaken (at the Department of Continuing Education, University of Warwick) into the impact of liberal adult education certificated courses on the mature student's sense of identity. In?depth interviews revealed that the students themselves perceive their learning in terms of adult cognitivedevelopment. Moreover, the courses were found to have had a significant impact on their self?understanding. In so far as the development is an aspect of moral education, these research findings have some significance for lifelong moral education. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive book on the philosophy of time. Leading philosophers discuss the metaphysics of time, our experience and representation of time, the role of time in ethics and action, and philosophical issues in the sciences of time, especially quantum mechanics and relativity theory.
Once the notion of a precursive relationship between developmental stages is fully articulated in terms of the distinction between ‘role’ and ‘realiser’ states, it turns out that the ‘Theory of Mind’ literature operates with a notion of precursive relationships described at too high a level of abstraction to explain actual mechanisms of development. Furthermore, the tendency within that literature to explain precursive relationships in terms of role states with isomorphic linguistic/computational structures is misleading. Developmental relationships are more likely to (...) exist between states which play a similar normative role in the agents’s psychology than between states which can be described as sharing a similar computational architecture. (shrink)
Thelen et al. not only offer an important new theoretical account of the Stage 4 object permanence error but provide the foundation of a new theory of cognitivedevelopment that is grounded in action. The success of dynamic field theory as a more general account of cognitive functioning, however, will depend on the degree to which it can model more generative capacities that are not limited to simple choice situations. Imitation and problem solving are suggested as two (...) capacities that might be productively modeled within their approach. (shrink)
Attempting to balance the needs and interests of minors with the obligation to protect them from their own potentially harmful decisions poses an ethical challenge for the physician. This problem is further exacerbated when the context is not medical treatment but organ donation. That is, medical treatment scenarios generally involve decisions likely to result in objective improvements to the minor's health status. Consent to organ donation, however, raises several vexing problems. First, how should the provider measure both the cognitive (...) ability and competence to consent of the minor to ensure that the minor comprehends the risks and benefits of donation and that no coercion is involved? Second, given that improvement of one's health is an unlikely scenario, is there a way to measure subjective determinations of satisfaction and altruism enjoyed by a minor following organ donation? If so, should the physician regard these values in a manner analogous to physical improvement? Finally, are parents the appropriate decisionmakers for their children when a sibling-to-sibling donation occurs? Is it possible for parents to always act in the best interests of both children in this event? (shrink)
There are clear associations between the overall quantity of input children are exposed to and their vocabulary acquisition. However, by uncovering specific features of the input that matter, we can better understand the mechanisms involved in vocabulary learning. We examine whether exposure to wh-questions, a challenging quality of the communicative input, is associated with toddlers' vocabulary and later verbal reasoning skills in a sample of low-income, African-American fathers and their 24-month-old children. Dyads were videotaped in free play sessions at home. (...) Videotapes were transcribed and reliably coded for sheer quantity of fathers' input as well as the number of wh-questions fathers produce. Children's productive vocabulary was measured at 24 months using the McArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventory MCDI, and children's verbal reasoning skills were measured 1 year later using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Results indicate that the overall quantity of father talk did not relate to children's vocabulary or reasoning skills. However, fathers' use of wh-questions related to both vocabulary and reasoning outcomes. Children's responses to wh-questions were more frequent and more syntactically complex, measured using the mean length of utterance, than their responses to other questions. Thus, posing wh-questions to 2-year-olds is a challenging type of input, which elicits a verbal response from the child that likely helps build vocabulary and foster verbal reasoning abilities. (shrink)
The premise of this article is that cognitivedevelopment involves both conceptual and semiotic achievements. From this perspective, the authors emphasize the distinctness of the semiotic issues and develop a differentiated appreciation of the semiotic aspects of cognition, particularly in the field of elementary mathematical cognition. The authors provide semiotic analyses of the differences between counting, adding, and multiplying and of the conventional place-value system. The authors introduce the concept of the field of reference of a sign, the (...) differentiation of the field into foreground and background, and the dynamics within the field of reference. Finally, the authors relate these ideas to the dynamics between two dimensions of semiotic relations: the sign-referent dimension and the sign-sign dimension. (shrink)
Traditional views separate cognitive processes from sensory–motor processes, seeing cognition as amodal, propositional, and compositional, and thus fundamentally different from the processes that underlie perceiving and acting. These were the ideas on which cognitive science was founded 30 years ago. However, advancing discoveries in neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and psychology suggests that cognition may be inseparable from processes of perceiving and acting. From this perspective, this study considers the future of cognitive science with respect to the study (...) of cognitivedevelopment. (shrink)