We outline a framework of multilevel neurocognitive mechanisms that incorporates representation and computation. We argue that paradigmatic explanations in cognitiveneuroscience fit this framework and thus that cognitiveneuroscience constitutes a revolutionary break from traditional cognitive science. Whereas traditional cognitive scientific explanations were supposed to be distinct and autonomous from mechanistic explanations, neurocognitive explanations aim to be mechanistic through and through. Neurocognitive explanations aim to integrate computational and representational functions and structures across multiple levels (...) of organization in order to explain cognition. To a large extent, practicing cognitive neuroscientists have already accepted this shift, but philosophical theory has not fully acknowledged and appreciated its significance. As a result, the explanatory framework underlying cognitiveneuroscience has remained largely implicit. We explicate this framework and demonstrate its contrast with previous approaches. (shrink)
It is becoming ever more accepted that investigations of mind span the brain, body, and environment. To broaden the scope of what is relevant in such investigations is to increase the amount of data scientists must reckon with. Thus, a major challenge facing scientists who study the mind is how to make big data intelligible both within and between fields. One way to face this challenge is to structure the data within a framework and to make it intelligible by means (...) of a common theory. Radical embodied cognitiveneuroscience can function as such a framework, with dynamical systems theory as its methodology, and self-organized criticality as its theory. (shrink)
Autonomist accounts of cognitive science suggest that cognitive model building and theory construction (can or should) proceed independently of findings in neuroscience. Common functionalist justifications of autonomy rely on there being relatively few constraints between neural structure and cognitive function (e.g., Weiskopf, 2011). In contrast, an integrative mechanistic perspective stresses the mutual constraining of structure and function (e.g., Piccinini & Craver, 2011; Povich, 2015). In this paper, I show how model-based cognitiveneuroscience (MBCN) epitomizes (...) the integrative mechanistic perspective and concentrates the most revolutionary elements of the cognitiveneuroscience revolution (Boone & Piccinini, 2016). I also show how the prominent subset account of functional realization supports the integrative mechanistic perspective I take on MBCN and use it to clarify the intralevel and interlevel components of integration. (shrink)
The problem of animal consciousness has profound implications on our concept of nature and of our place in the natural world. In philosophy of mind and cognitiveneuroscience the problem of animal consciousness raises two main questions (Velmans, 2007): the distribution question (“are there conscious animals beside humans?”) and the phenomenological question (“what is it like to be a non-human animal?”). In order to answer these questions, many approaches take into account similarities and dissimilarities in animal and human (...) behavior, e.g. the use of language or tools and mirror self-recognition (Allen and Bekoff, 2007), however behavioral arguments don’t seem to be conclusive (Baars, 2005). Cognitiveneuroscience is providing comparative data on structural and functional similarities, respectively called “homologies” and “analogies”. Many experimental results suggest that the thalamocortical system is essential for consciousness (Edelman and Tononi, 2000; Tononi, 2008). The argument from homology states that the general structure of thalamocortical system remained the same in the last 100-200 million years, for it is neuroanatomically similar in all the present and past mammals and it didn’t change much during phylogeny (Allen and Bekoff, 2007). The argument from analogy states that the key functional processes correlated with consciousness in humans are still present in all other mammals and many other animals (Baars, 2005). These processes are information integration through effective cortical connectivity (Massimini et al., 2005; Rosanova et al., 2012) and elaboration of information at a global level (Dehaene and Changeux, 2011). On this basis, the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness states that all mammals, birds, and many other animals (such as octopuses) possess the neurological substrates of consciousness (Low et al., 2012). Conscious experience is private (Chalmers, 1995; Nagel, 1974) therefore the answer to the phenomenological question may be impossible. Nevertheless, cognitiveneuroscience may provide an answer to the distribution question, showing that conscious experience is not limited to humans since it is a major biological adaptation going back millions of years. (shrink)
In recent years there have been growing calls for forging greater connections between education and cognitiveneuroscience. As a consequence great hopes for the application of empirical research on the human brain to educational problems have been raised. In this article we contend that the expectation that results from cognitiveneuroscience research will have a direct and immediate impact on educational practice are shortsighted and unrealistic. Instead, we argue that an infrastructure needs to be created, principally (...) through interdisciplinary training, funding and research programs that allow for bidirectional collaborations between cognitive neuroscientists, educators and educational researchers to grow. We outline several pathways for scaffolding such a basis for the emerging field of ‘Mind, Brain and Education’ to flourish as well as the obstacles that are likely to be encountered along the path. (shrink)
In this article, I develop an account of the use of intentional predicates in cognitiveneuroscience explanations. As pointed out by Maxwell Bennett and Peter Hacker, intentional language abounds in neuroscience theories. According to Bennett and Hacker, the subpersonal use of intentional predicates results in conceptual confusion. I argue against this overly strong conclusion by evaluating the contested language use in light of its explanatory function. By employing conceptual resources from the contemporary philosophy of science, I show (...) that although the use of intentional predicates in mechanistic explanations sometimes leads to explanatorily inert claims, intentional predicates can also successfully feature in mechanistic explanations as tools for the functional analysis of the explanandum phenomenon. Despite the similarities between my account and Daniel Dennett's intentional-stance approach, I argue that intentional stance should not be understood as a theory of subpersonal causal explanation, and therefore cannot be used to assess the explanatory role of intentional predicates in neuroscience. Finally, I outline a general strategy for answering the question of what kind of language can be employed in mechanistic explanations. (shrink)
This is a work in the epistemology of functional neuroimaging (fNI) and it applies the error-statistical (ES) philosophy to inferential problems in fNI to formulate and address these problems. This gives us a clear, accurate, and more complete understanding of what we can learn from fNI and how we can learn it. I review the works in the epistemology of fNI which I group into two categories; the first category consists of discussions of the theoretical significance of fNI findings and (...) the second category discusses methodological difficulties of fNI. Both types of works have shortcomings; the first category has been too theory-centered in its approach and the second category has implicitly or explicitly adopted the assumption that methodological difficulties of fNI cannot be satisfactorily addressed. In this dissertation, I address these shortcomings and show how and what kind of experimental knowledge fNI can reliably produce which would be theoretically significant. I take fMRI as a representative fNI procedure and discuss the history of its development. Two independent trajectories of research in physics and physiology eventually converge to give rise to fMRI. Thus, fMRI findings are laden in the theories of physics and physiology and I propose how this creates a kind of useful theory-ladenness which allows for the representation of and intervention in the constructs of cognitiveneuroscience. Duhemian challenges and problems of underdetermination are often raised to argue that fNI is of little, if any, epistemic value for psychology. I show how the ES notions of severe tests and error probabilities can be applied in epistemological analyses of fMRI. The result is that hemodynamic hypotheses can be severely tested in fMRI experiments and I demonstrate how these hypotheses are theoretically significant and fuel the growth of experimental knowledge in cognitiveneuroscience. Throughout this dissertation, I put the emphasis on the experimental knowledge we obtain from fNI and argue that this is the fruitful approach that enables us to see how fNI can contribute to psychology. In doing so, I offer an error-statistical epistemology of fNI, which hopefully will be a significant contribution to the philosophy of psychology. (shrink)
In this article, I review recent findings in cognitiveneuroscience in learning, particularly in the learning of mathematics and of reading. I argue that while cognitiveneuroscience is in its infancy as a field, theories of learning will need to incorporate and account for this growing body of empirical data.
This paper argues that the cognitive neuroscientific use of ordinary mental terms to report research results and draw implications can contribute to public confusion and misunderstanding regarding neuroscience results. This concern is raised at a time when cognitive neuroscientists are increasingly required by funding agencies to link their research to specific results of public benefit, and when neuroethicists have called for greater attention to public communication of neuroscience. The paper identifies an ethical dimension to the problem (...) and presses for greater sensitivity and responsibility among neuroscientists regarding their use of such terms. (shrink)
A crucial socio-political challenge for our age is how to rede!ne or extend group membership in such a way that it adequately responds to phenomena related to globalization like the prevalence of migration, the transformation of family and social networks, and changes in the position of the nation state. Two centuries ago Immanuel Kant assumed that international connectedness between humans would inevitably lead to the realization of world citizen rights. Nonetheless, globalization does not just foster cosmopolitanism but simultaneously yields the (...) development of new group boundaries. Group membership is indeed a fundamental issue in political processes, for: “the primary good that we distribute to one another is membership in some human community” – it is within the political community that power is being shared and, if possible, held back from non-members. In sum, it is appropriate to consider group membership a fundamental ingredient of politics and political theory. How group boundaries are drawn is then of only secondary importance. Indeed, Schmitt famously declared that “[e]very religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms into a political one if it is suffciently strong to group human beings e#ectively according to friend and enemy”. Even though Schmitt’s idea of politics as being constituted by such antithetical groupings is debatable, it is plausible to consider politics among other things as a way of handling intergroup di#erences. Obviously, some of the group-constituting factors are more easily discernable from one’s appearance than others, like race, ethnicity, or gender. As a result, factors like skin color or sexual orientation sometimes carry much political weight even though individuals would rather con!ne these to their private lives and individual identity. Given the potential tension between the political reality of particular groupmembership defnitions and the – individual and political – struggles against those definitions and corresponding attitudes, citizenship and civic behavior becomes a complex issue. As Kymlicka points out, it implies for citizens an additional obligation to non-discrimination regarding those groups: “[t]his extension of non-discrimination from government to civil society is not just a shift in the scale of liberal norms, it also involves a radical extension in the obligations of liberal citizenship”. Unfortunately, empirical research suggests that political intolerance towards other groups “may be the more natural and ‘easy’ position to hold”. Indeed, since development of a virtue of civility or decency regarding other groups is not easy, as it often runs against deeply engrained stereotypes and prejudices, political care for matters like education is justified. Separate schools, for example, may erode children’s motivation to act as citizens, erode their capacity for it and!nally diminish their opportunities to experience transcending their particular group membership and behave as decent citizens. This chapter outlines a possible explanation for such consequences. That explanation will be found to be interdisciplinary in nature, combining insights from political theory and cognitiveneuroscience. In doing so, it does not focus on collective action, even though that is a usual focus for political studies. For example, results pertaining to collective political action have demonstrated that the relation between attitudes and overt voting behavior or political participation is not as direct and strong as was hoped for. Several conditions, including the individual’s experiences, self-interest, and relevant social norms, turned out to interfere in the link between his or her attitude and behavior. Important as collective action is, this chapter is concerned with direct interaction between agents and the in$uence of group membership on such interaction – in particular joint action. Although politics does include many forms of action that require no such physical interaction, such physical interaction between individuals remains fundamental to politics – this is the reason why separate schooling may eventually undermine the citizenship of its isolated pupils. This chapter will focus on joint action, de!ned as: “any form of social interaction whereby two or more individuals coordinate their actions in space and time to bring about a change in the environment”. Cognitive neuroscienti!c evidence demonstrates that for such joint action to succeed, the agents have to integrate the actions and expected actions of the other person in their own action plans at several levels of speci!city. Although neuroscienti!c research is necessarily limited to simple forms of action, this concurs with a philosophical analysis of joint action, which I will discuss below. (shrink)
The paper presents, first, some general remarks about Husserl’s philosophical Phenomenology in view of relating it to the scientific study of consciousness, and recalls some of the basic methodological tenets of a Husserlian phenomenology of consciousness (I). It then introduces some recent work on so-called “mental imagery” in cognitive psychology and neuroscience (II). Next, a detailed exposition of a reflective analysis of conscious experiences that involve “imagery” or “images” is given (III), arguing thereby that reflective conceptual clarifications of (...) various forms of such experiences could contribute to research into their finer details. In order to show more distinctly that the conscious experiences involved in the contemporary cognitive and neuroscientific imagery research are indeed differently structured, a simple notation for designating the various structural components of the experiences under study will be used. In concluding (IV), some methodological assets concerning the present proposal of integrating the method of Husserlian phenomenology into the present-day, and hopefully even more so into the future study of consciousness are highlighted! (shrink)
We discuss the development of cognitiveneuroscience in terms of the tension between the greater sophistication in cognitive concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences and the increasing power of more standard biological approaches to understanding brain structure and function. There have been major technological developments in brain imaging and advances in simulation, but there have also been shifts in emphasis, with topics such as thinking, consciousness, and social cognition becoming fashionable within the brain sciences. The (...) discipline has great promise in terms of applications to mental health and education, provided it does not abandon the cognitive perspective and succumb to reductionism. (shrink)
The phenomenon of hypnosis provides a rich paradigm for those seeking to understand the processes that underlie consciousness. Understanding hypnosis tells us about a basic human capacity for altered experiences that is often overlooked in contemporary western societies. Throughout the 200 year history of psychology, hypnosis has been a major topic of investigation by some of the leading experimenters and theorists of each generation. Today hypnosis is emerging again as a lively area of research within cognitive (systems level) (...) class='Hi'>neuroscience informing basic questions about the structure and biological basis of conscious states. This book describes the latest advances in understanding hypnosis and similar trance states by researchers within the neuroscience of consciousness. It contains many new and exciting contributions from up and coming researchers and provides a lively debate on methodological and theoretical issues central to the development of emerging research paradigms in the neuroscience of conscious states. The book introduces and describes many of the recent new tools that have become available to researchers in this field. Academics, researchers, and clinicians wanting to develop their knowledge of the latest findings, theories and methods in the scientific study of hypnosis and related states of consciousness will find this an up to date guide to this rapidly advancing field. (shrink)
The need to align multiple experimental procedures and produce converging results so as to demonstrate that the phenomenon under investigation is real and not an artifact is a commonplace both in scientiﬁc practice and discussions of scientiﬁc methodology (Campbell and Stanley 1963; Wimsatt 1981). Although sometimes this is the purpose of aligning techniques, often there is a different purpose—multiple techniques are sought to supply different perspectives on the phenomena under investigation that need to be integrated to answer the questions scientists (...) are asking. After introducing this function, I will illustrate it by considering three of the major techniques in cognitiveneuroscience for linking cognitive function with neural structure. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the usefulness of the Machamer, Darden, and Craver (2000) mechanism approach to gaining an understanding of explanation in cognitiveneuroscience. We argue that although the mechanism approach can capture many aspects of explanation in cognitiveneuroscience, it cannot capture everything. In particular, it cannot completely capture all aspects of the content and significance of mental representations or the evaluative features constitutive of psychopathology.
Consciousness seems to be an enigmatic phenomenon: it is difficult to imagine how our perceptions of the world and our inner thoughts, sensations and feelings could be related to the immensely complicated biological organ we call the brain. This volume presents the thoughts of some of the leading philosophers and cognitive scientists who have recently participated in the discussion of the status of consciousness in science. The focus of inquiry is the question: "Is it possible to incorporate consciousness into (...) science?" Philosophers have suggested different alternatives -- some think that consciousness should be altogether eliminated from science because it is not a real phenomenon, others that consciousness is a real, higher-level physical or neurobiological phenomenon, and still others that consciousness is fundamentally mysterious and beyond the reach of science. At the same time, however, several models or theories of the role of conscious processing in the brain have been developed in the more empirical cognitive sciences. It has been suggested that non-conscious processes must be sharply separated from conscious ones, and that the necessity of this distinction is manifested in the curious behavior of certain brain-damaged patients. This book demonstrates the dialogue between philosophical and empirical points of view. The writers present alternative solutions to the brain-consciousness problem and they discuss how the unification of biological and psychological sciences could thus become feasible. Covering a large ground, this book shows how the philosophical and empirical problems are closely interconnected. From this interdisciplinary exploration emerges the conviction that consciousness can and should be a natural part of our scientific world view. (shrink)
Recent advances in out understanding of the cognitiveneuroscience of perception have encouraged cognitive scientists and scientifically minded philosophers to turn their attention towards art and the problems of philosophical aesthetics. This cognitive turn does not represent an entirely novel paradigm in the study of art. Alexander Baumgarten originally introduced the term ‘aesthetics’ to refer to a science of perception. Artist’s formal methods are a means to cull the structural features necessary for constructing clear perceptual representations (...) from the dense flux of sensory information in conscious experience. therefore, he interpreted artist’s formal methods as tools for studying the structure of perception. Art was a field whose interests coincidentally overlapped with aesthetics. In what follows I examine three approaches to cognitive science and aesthetics that rest on a tacit assumption of Baumgarten’s program. I argue that whereas this new research can explain how viewers perceptually recover the content of artworks, it does not explain what makes those works aesthetically interesting. Therefore, the challenge for cognitive science and aesthetics is to tie the perceptual practices of artists and viewers to their more narrowly construed aesthetic, or artistic, practices. What is needed to establish this link is an interpretation of Baumgarten’s original definition of aesthetics that treats attention to the way the formal structure of an artwork works to convey its content as a source of aesthetic interest. Unfortunately this interpretation is not transparently established by explanations of the perceptual practices of artists and viewers. I conclude that it remains an open question whether this research can contribute to philosophical aesthetics. (shrink)
Similarity-based cognition is commonplace. It occurs whenever an agent or system exploits the similarities that hold between two or more items—e.g., events, processes, objects, and so on—in order to perform some cognitive task. This kind of cognition is of special interest to cognitive neuroscientists. This paper explicates how similarity-based cognition can be understood through the lens of radical enactivism and why doing so has advantages over its representationalist rival, which posits the existence of structural representations or S-representations. Specifically, (...) it is argued that there are problems both with accounting for the content of S-representations and with understanding how neurally-based structural similarities can work as representations in guiding intelligent behavior. Finally, with these clarifications in place, it is revealed how radical enactivism can commit to an account of similarity-based cognition in its understanding of neurodynamics. (shrink)
A variety of scientific disciplines have set as their task explaining mental activities, recognizing that in some way these activities depend upon our brain. But, until recently, the opportunities to conduct experiments directly on our brains were limited. As a result, research efforts were split between disciplines such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence that investigated behavior, while disciplines such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and genetics experimented on the brains of non-human animals. In recent decades these disciplines integrated, and (...) with the advent of techniques for imaging activity in human brains, the term cognitiveneuroscience has been applied to the integrated investigations of mind and brain. This book is a philosophical examination of how these disciplines continue in the mission of explaining our mental capacities. (shrink)
The cognitive neurosciences are based on the idea that the level of neurons or neural networks constitutes a privileged level of analysis for the explanation of mental phenomena. This paper brings to mind several arguments to the effect that this presumption is ill-conceived and unwarranted in light of what is currently understood about the physical principles underlying mental achievements. It then scrutinizes the question why such conceptions are nevertheless currently prevailing in many areas of psychology. The paper argues that (...) corresponding conceptions are rooted in four different aspects of our common-sense conception of mental phenomena and their explanation, which are illegitimately transferred to scientific enquiry. These four aspects pertain to the notion of explanation, to conceptions about which mental phenomena are singled out for enquiry, to an inductivist epistemology, and, in the wake of behavioristic conceptions, to a bias favoring investigations of input–output relations at the expense of enquiries into internal principles. To the extent that the cognitive neurosciences methodologically adhere to these tacit assumptions, they are prone to turn into a largely a-theoretical and data - driven endeavor while at the same time enhancing the prospects for receiving widespread public appreciation of their empirical findings. (shrink)
Shaun Gallagher  argues for a ‘non-classical’ conception of nature, which includes subjects as irreducible constituents. As such, first-person phenomenology can be naturalised and at the same time resist reduction to the third-person. In the first part of this paper, I raise three concerns for the claim that nature is irreducibly subject-involving. In the second part of the paper, I suggest that embracing a process ontology could help strengthen Gallagher’s proposal.
"Cognitive psychology," "cognitiveneuroscience," and "philosophy of mind" are names for three very different scientific fields, but they label aspects of the same scientific goal: to understand the nature of mental phenomena. Today, the three disciplines strongly overlap under the roof of the cognitive sciences. The book's purpose is to present views from the different disciplines on one of the central theories in cognitive science: the theory of mental models. Cognitive psychologists report their research (...) on the representation and processing of mental models in human memory. Cognitive neuroscientists demonstrate how the brain processes visual and spatial mental models and which neural processes underlie visual and spatial thinking. Philosophers report their ideas about the role of mental models in relation to perception, emotion, representation, and intentionality. The single articles have different and mutually complementing goals: to introduce new empirical methods and approaches, to report new experimental results, and to locate competing approaches for their interpretation in the cross-disciplinary debate. The book is strongly interdisciplinary in character. It is especially addressed to researchers in any field related to mental models theory as both a reference book and an overview of present research on the topic in other disciplines. However, it is also an ideal reader for a specialized graduate course. (shrink)
Neuroscience is a laboratory-based science that spans multiple levels of analysis from molecular genetics to behavior. At every level of analysis experiments are designed in order to answer empirical questions about phenomena of interest. Understanding the nature and structure of experimentation in neuroscience is fundamental for assessing the quality of the evidence produced by such experiments and the kinds of claims that are warranted by the data. This article provides a general conceptual framework for thinking about evidence and (...) experimentation in neuroscience with a particular focus on two research areas: cognitiveneuroscience and cognitive neurobiology. (shrink)
John Bickle's Psychoneural reduction: the new wave (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998) aims to resurrect reductionism within philosophy of mind. He develops a new model of scientific reduction, geared to enhancing our understanding of how theories in neuroscience and cognitive science are interrelated. I put this discussion in context, and assess the prospects for new wave reductionism, both as a general model of scientific reduction and as an attempt to defend reductionism in the philosophy of mind.
When the cognitiveneuroscience of consciousness is finally written, it will likely have many of the elements documented in this fine book. My review is relatively detailed because, out of fourteen authors of the eight articles in this book, only four have previously appeared in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Stanislas Dehaene , The CognitiveNeuroscience of Consciousness Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001, pp. 243 price $40.00 ISBN 0-262-54131-9.
There is converging evidence from developmental and cognitive psychology, as well as from neuroscience, to suggest that the self is both special and social, and that self-other interaction is the driving force behind self-development. We review experimental findings which demonstrate that human infants are motivated for social interactions and suggest that the development of an awareness of other minds is rooted in the implicit notion that others are like the self. We then marshal evidence from functional neuroimaging explorations (...) of the neurophysiological substrate of shared representations between the self and others, using various ecological paradigms such as mentally representing one's own actions versus others' actions, watching the actions executed by others, imitating the others' actions versus being imitated by others. We suggest that within this shared neural network the inferior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere play a special role in the essential ability to distinguish the self from others, and in the way the self represents the other. Interestingly, the right hemisphere develops its functions earlier than the left. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to refer basic philosophical approaches to the problem of musical meaning and, on the other hand, to describe some examples of the research on musical meaning found in the field of cognitiveneuroscience. By looking at those two approaches together it can be seen that there is still no agreement on how musical meaning should be understood, often due to several methodological problems of which the most important seem to be the possibility (...) of inter-theoretical reduction and application of an accurate theory of explanation. I am suggesting that the application of some form of the mechanistic model of explanation might be found useful for clarifying reductionism-antireductionism dispute concerning musical meaning, and more importantly, for providing some answers for the debate in music-as-language controversy. (shrink)
Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis, or ‘neural decoding’, has transformed the field of cognitiveneuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, which we call the decoder’s dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the dictum, arguing that it is false: (...) decodability is a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA. 1Introduction 2A Brief Primer on Neural Decoding: Methods, Application, and Interpretation 2.1What is multivariate pattern analysis? 2.2The informational benefits of multivariate pattern analysis 3Why the Decoder’s Dictum Is False 3.1We don’t know what information is decoded 3.2The theoretical basis for the dictum 3.3Undermining the theoretical basis 4Objections and Replies 4.1Does anyone really believe the dictum? 4.2Good decoding is not enough 4.3Predicting behaviour is not enough 5Moving beyond the Dictum 6Conclusion. (shrink)
We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitiveneuroscience and argue that cognitiveneuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of (...) information and biological function. We echo several other philosophers by arguing that these theories over-generalize unless they are constrained by a theory of the functional role of representational vehicles. This leads to a discussion of the functional roles of representations, and how representations might be realized in the brain. We argue that there’s work to be done to identify a distinctively mental kind of representation. We close by sketching a way forward for the project of naturalizing intentionality. This will not be achieved simply by ascribing the content of mental states to generic neural representations, but by identifying specific neural representations that explain the puzzling intentional properties of mental states. (shrink)
We argue that one important aspect of the “cognitiveneuroscience revolution” identified by Boone and Piccinini :1509–1534. doi: 10.1007/s11229-015-0783-4, 2015) is a dramatic shift away from thinking of cognitive representations as arbitrary symbols towards thinking of them as icons that replicate structural characteristics of their targets. We argue that this shift has been driven both “from below” and “from above”—that is, from a greater appreciation of what mechanistic explanation of information-processing systems involves, and from a greater appreciation (...) of the problems solved by bio-cognitive systems, chiefly regulation and prediction. We illustrate these arguments by reference to examples from cognitiveneuroscience, principally representational similarity analysis and the emergence of dynamical models as a central postulate in neurocognitive research. (shrink)
Working memory has been one of the most intensively studied systems in cognitive psychology. The CognitiveNeuroscience of Working Memory brings together world class researchers from around the world to summarise our current knowledge of this field, and directions for future research.
Recent work in cognitiveneuroscience on the child's Theory of Mind has pursued the idea that the ability to metarepresent mental states depends on a domain-specific cognitive subystem implemented in specific neural circuitry: a Theory of Mind Module. We argue that the interaction of several domain-general mechanisms and lower-level domain-specific mechanisms accounts for the flexibility and sophistication of behavior, which has been taken to be evidence for a domain-specific ToM module. This finding is of more general interest (...) since it suggests a parsimonious cognitive architecture can account for apparent domain specificity. We argue for such an architecture in two stages. First, on conceptual grounds, contrasting the case of language with ToM, and second, by showing that recent evidence in the form of fMRI and lesion studies supports the more parsimonious hypothesis. Theory of Mind, Metarepresentation, and Modularity Developmental Components of ToM The Analogy with Modularity of Language Dissociations without Modules The Evidence from Neuroscience Conclusion. (shrink)
Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis, or ‘neural decoding’, has transformed the field of cognitiveneuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, which we call the decoder’s dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the dictum, arguing that it is false: (...) decodability is a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA. (shrink)
Weisberg and Godfrey-Smith distinguish between two forms of theorising: data-driven ‘abstract direct representation’ and modeling. The key difference is that when using a data-driven approach, theories are intended to represent specific phenomena, so directly represent them, while models may not be intended to represent anything, so represent targets indirectly, if at all. The aim here is to compare and analyse these practices, in order to outline an account of model-based theorising that involves direct representational relationships. This is based on the (...) way that computational templates Humphreys are now used in cognitiveneuroscience, and draws on the dynamic and tentative process of any kind of theory construction, and the idea of partial, purpose-relative representation. (shrink)
History of CognitiveNeuroscience documents the major neuroscientific experiments and theories over the last century and a half in the domain of cognitiveneuroscience, and evaluates the cogency of the conclusions that have been drawn from them. Provides a companion work to the highly acclaimed Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience – combining scientific detail with philosophical insights Views the evolution of brain science through the lens of its principal figures and experiments Addresses philosophical criticism of Bennett (...) and Hacker?s previous book Accompanied by more than 100 illustrations. (shrink)
Neuroscience has long had an impact on the field of psychiatry, and over the last two decades, with the advent of cognitiveneuroscience and functional neuroimaging, that influence has been most pronounced. However, many question whether psychopathology can be understood by relying on neuroscience alone, and highlight some of the perceived limits to the way in which neuroscience informs psychiatry. -/- Psychiatry as CognitiveNeuroscience is a philosophical analysis of the role of (...) class='Hi'>neuroscience in the study of psychopathology. The book examines numerous cognitive neuroscientific methods, such as neuroimaging and the use of neuropsychological models, in the context of a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, dependence syndrome, and personality disorders. -/- Psychiatry as CognitiveNeuroscience includes chapters on the nature of psychiatry as a science; the compatibility of the accounts of mental illness derived from neuroscience, information-processing, and folk psychology; the nature of mental illness; the impact of methods such as fMRI, neuropsychology, and neurochemistry, on psychiatry; the relationship between phenomenological accounts of mental illness and those provided by naturalistic explanations; the status of delusions and the continuity between delusions and ordinary beliefs; the interplay between clinical and empirical findings in psychopathology and issues in moral psychology and ethics. -/- With contributions from world class experts in philosophy and cognitive science, this book will be essential reading for those who have an interest in the importance and the limitations of cognitiveneuroscience as an aid to understanding mental illness. (shrink)
The relationship between metacognition and executive control is explored. According to an analysis by Fernandez-Duque, Baird, and Posner (this issue), metacognitive regulation involves attention, conflict resolution, error correction, inhibitory control, and emotional regulation. These aspects of metacognition are presumed to be mediated by a neural circuit involving midfrontal brain regions. An evaluation of the proposal by Fernandez-Duque et al. is made, and it is suggested that there is considerable convergence of issues associated with metacognition, executive control, working memory, and frontal (...) lobe function. By integrating these domains and issues, significant progress could be made toward a cognitiveneuroscience of metacognition. (shrink)
This chapter provides an overview of the basic research strategies and analytic techniques deployed in computational cognitiveneuroscience. On the one hand, “top-down” strategies are used to infer, from formal characterizations of behavior and cognition, the computational properties of underlying neural mechanisms. On the other hand, “bottom-up” research strategies are used to identify neural mechanisms and to reconstruct their computational capacities. Both of these strategies rely on experimental techniques familiar from other branches of neuroscience, including functional magnetic (...) resonance imaging, single-cell recording, and electroencephalography. What sets computational cognitiveneuroscience apart, however, is the explanatory role of analytic techniques from disciplines as varied as computer science, statistics, machine learning, and mathematical physics. These techniques serve to describe neural mechanisms computationally, but also to drive the process of scientific discovery by influencing which kinds of mechanisms are most likely to be identified. For this reason, understanding the nature and unique appeal of computational cognitiveneuroscience requires not just an understanding of the basic research strategies that are involved, but also of the formal methods and tools that are being deployed, including those of probability theory, dynamical systems theory, and graph theory. (shrink)