Purpose: This, the second part of a two-part paper, describes how the concerns of enactivecognitivescience have been realized in actual research: methodological issues, proposed explanatory mechanisms and models, some of the potential as both a theoretical and applied science, and several of the major open research questions. Findings: Despite some skepticism about "mechanisms" in constructivist literature, enactivecognitivescience attempts to develop cognitive formalisms and models. Such techniques as feedback loops, (...) self-organization, autocatalytic networks, and dynamical systems modeling are used to develop alternatives to cognitivist models. A number of technical similarities are starting to emerge in the different models being proposed. Research Implications: The need to resolve the interplay between autonomy and coupling with the environment suggests the need for further technical research. And the reintroduction of first-person concerns into cognitivescience raises some questions of method, particularly with regard to the relationship between first-person experience, neuroscience, and methods of description, analysis, and explanation. Results to date suggest that insights from enactivecognitivescience could lead to innovations in the design of artifacts. (shrink)
Purpose: This paper is a brief introduction to enactivecognitivescience: a description of some of the main research concerns; some examples of how such concerns have been realized in actual research; some of its research methods and proposed explanatory mechanisms and models; some of the potential as both a theoretical and applied science; and several of the major open research questions. Findings: Enactivecognitivescience is an approach to the study of mind (...) that seeks to explain how the structures and mechanisms of autonomous cognitive systems can arise and participate in the generation and maintenance of viable perceiver-dependent worlds -- rather than more conventional cognitivist efforts, such as the attempt to explain cognition in terms of the ``recovery'' of (pre-given, timeless) features of The (objectively-existing and accessible) World. As such, enactivecognitivescience is resonant with radical constructivism. Research implications: As with other scientific efforts conducted within a constructivist orientation, enactivecognitivescience is broadly ``conventional'' in its scientific methodology. That is, there is a strong emphasis on testable hypotheses, empirical observation, supportable mechanisms and models, rigorous experimental methods, acceptable criteria of validation, and the like. Nonetheless, this approach to cognitivescience does also raise a number of specific questions about the scope of amenable phenomena (e.g., meaning, consciousness, etc.) -- and it also raises questions of whether such a perspective requires an expansion of what is typically considered within the purview of scientific method (e.g., the role of the observer/scientist). (shrink)
Cognitive systems research has predominantly been guided by the historical distinction between emotion and cognition, and has focused its efforts on modelling the “cognitive” aspects of behaviour. While this initially meant modelling only the control system of cognitive creatures, with the advent of “embodied” cognitivescience this expanded to also modelling the interactions between the control system and the external environment. What did not seem to change with this embodiment revolution, however, was the attitude towards (...) affect and emotion in cognitivescience. This paper argues that cognitive systems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitive systems into cognitivescience proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitivescience”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitive systems. (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 cognitivescience, 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)
An action-oriented perspective changes the role of an individual from a passive observer to an actively engaged agent interacting in a closed loop with the world as well as with others. Cognition exists to serve action within a landscape that contains both. This chapter surveys this landscape and addresses the status of the pragmatic turn. Its potential influence on science and the study of cognition are considered (including perception, social cognition, social interaction, sensorimotor entrainment, and language acquisition) and its (...) impact on how neuroscience is studied is also investigated (with the notion that brains do not passively build models, but instead support the guidance of action). A review of its implications in robotics and engineering includes a discussion of the application of enactive control principles to couple action and perception in robotics as well as the conceptualization of system design in a more holistic, less modular manner. Practical applications that can impact the human condition are reviewed (e.g., educational applications, treatment possibilities for developmental and psychopathological disorders, the development of neural prostheses). All of this foreshadows the potential societal implications of the pragmatic turn. The chapter concludes that an action-oriented approach emphasizes a continuum of interaction between technical aspects of cognitive systems and robotics, biology, psychology, the social sciences, and the humanities, where the individual is part of a grounded cultural system. (shrink)
This thesis argues that Heidegger’s accounts of practice and temporality in Being and Time are inseparable, and demonstrates the importance of temporality for contemporary dialogues between Heideggerian phenomenology and cognitivescience. It proposes that enactive and action-oriented models of cognition are best suited to engaging with a Heideggerian view of the temporality of practice, and will benefit from the latter’s capacity to explain the purposive self-concern, possibility-directedness, and varying complexity of cognition in richly temporal terms. I begin (...) by showing that Heidegger’s account places temporality and practice in a complex reciprocity in which each fundamentally shapes and permeates the other. The Heidegger of Being and Time conceptualises practice as fundamentally temporal and temporality as intrinsically purposive, meaning that we cannot adequately understand or utilise his analysis of either structure without acknowledging the role of the other. In outlining and defending this reading, I draw out two characteristics of Heidegger’s model of temporality; these features, which affect and are affected by the interconnection of temporality and purposiveness, are an inherent connection to the self-concern of the entity and an emphasis upon a radically indeterminate futurity. I then consider which contemporary approaches in cognitivescience represent the most promising interlocutors for this temporality-oriented Heideggerian perspective. After rejecting selected in principle objections to the pursuit of a collaborative, rather than primarily critical, dialogue between Heideggerian phenomenology and cognitivescience, I put forward two candidates for participation in a ‘temporality-oriented Heideggerian cognitivescience’: the enactivist tradition and Michael Wheeler’s model of cognition. I set out each approach’s connections to Heideggerian thought (which involves arguing for as-yet unexplored links as well as defending existing ones) before showing how and why a Heideggerian conception of temporality can be integrated into both. I suggest that the structures of a Heideggerian model of temporality already resonate with and operate in enactivists’ and Wheeler’s analyses of cognition, and outline how I think each framework benefits from explicitly taking up and developing these connections. Rather than ultimately choosing one of these perspectives over the other, I conclude by proposing that they cooperate with one another. A Heideggerian conception of temporality opens up a space for enactivism and Wheeler’s approach to contribute distinct and complementary insights in the pursuit of a collaborative temporality-oriented Heideggerian cognitivescience. (shrink)
An important part of David Hume’s work is his attempt to put the natural sciences on a firmer foundation by introducing the scientific method into the study of human nature. This investigation resulted in a novel understanding of the mind, which in turn informed Hume’s critical evaluation of the scope and limits of the scientific method as such. However, while these latter reflections continue to influence today’s philosophy of science, his theory of mind is nowadays mainly of interest in (...) terms of philosophical scholarship. This paper aims to show that, even though Hume’s recognition in the cognitive sciences has so far been limited, there is an opportunity to reevaluate his work in the context of more recent scientific developments. In particular, it is argued that we can gain a better understanding of his overall philosophy by tracing the ongoing establishment of the enactive approach. In return, this novel interpretation of Hume’s ‘science of man’ is used as the basis for a consideration of the current and future status of the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
The renowned philosopher Jerry Fodor, a leading figure in the study of the mind for more than twenty years, presents a strikingly original theory on the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of cognitivescience is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, deals out witty and pugnacious demolitions of (...) rival theories, and suggests that future work on human cognition should build upon new foundations. This lively, conversational, and superbly accessible book is the first volume in the Oxford CognitiveScience Series, where the best original work in this field will be presented to a broad readership. Concepts will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary work on mind and language. Cognitivescience will never be the same again. (shrink)
This paper takes a new look at an old question: what is the human self? It offers a proposal for theorizing the self from an enactive perspective as an autonomous system that is constituted through interpersonal relations. It addresses a prevalent issue in the philosophy of cognitivescience: the body-social problem. Embodied and social approaches to cognitive identity are in mutual tension. On the one hand, embodied cognitivescience risks a new form of methodological (...) individualism, implying a dichotomy not between the outside world of objects and the brain-bound individual but rather between body-bound individuals and the outside social world. On the other hand, approaches that emphasize the constitutive relevance of social interaction processes for cognitive identity run the risk of losing the individual in the interaction dynamics and of downplaying the role of embodiment. This paper adopts a middle way and outlines an enactive approach to individuation that is neither individualistic nor disembodied but integrates both approaches. Elaborating on Jonas’ notion of needful freedom it outlines an enactive proposal to understanding the self as co-generated in interactions and relations with others. I argue that the human self is a social existence that is organized in terms of a back and forth between social distinction and participation processes. On this view, the body, rather than being identical with the social self, becomes its mediator. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Exploring the Depth of Dream Experience: The Enactive Framework and Methods for Neurophenomenological Research” by Elizaveta Solomonova & Xin Wei Sha. Upshot: Solomonova and Sha draw inspiration from the work programme that sparked the enactive extension to cognitivescience, and propose a framework for dream scientists. This case study for a renewed cognitivescience highlights key points that are worth developing, in light of current practices in neuroscience.
Chemero provides a modern re-interpretation of Gibson’s ecological psychology and his affordance concept that is more coherent than the original and in line with antirepresentationalist, dynamical theories in embodied cognitivescience. He argues for a radical embodied cognitivescience, in which ecological and enactive approaches join forces against the more watered-down, mainstream embodied cognitivescience that still maintains traditional commitments to representationalism and computationalism. He also defends a special version of realism, entity realism, (...) which many constructivists might not find entirely convincing, but which is nevertheless more or less compatible with enactive theories of embodied cognition. (shrink)
Anthropology and the other cognitivescience (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility (...) between (1) CS and (2) anthropology with regard to methodology and (3) research strategies, (4) the importance of anthropology for CS, and (5) the need for disciplinary diversity. Given this set of challenges, a reconciliation seems unlikely to follow on the heels of good intentions alone. (shrink)
The ethics in an information society is discussed from the combined viewpoint of Eastern and Western thoughts. The breakdown of a coherent self threatens the Western ethics and causes nihilism. Francisco Varela, one of the founders of Autopoiesis Theory, tackled this problem and proposed EnactiveCognitiveScience by introducing Buddhist middle-way philosophy. Fundamental Informatics gives further insights into the problem, by proposing the concept of a hierarchical autopoietic system. Here the ethics can be described in relation to (...) a community rather than a coherent self. The philosophical bridge between East and West is expected to solve the ethical aporia in the 21st century. (shrink)
This book explores how people's subjective, felt experiences of their bodies in action provide part of the fundamental grounding for human cognition and language. Cognition is what occurs when the body engages the physical and cultural world and must be studied in terms of the dynamical interactions between people and the environment. Human language and thought emerge from recurring patterns of embodied activity that constrain ongoing intelligent behavior. We must not assume cognition to be purely internal, symbolic, computational, and disembodied, (...) but seek out the gross and detailed ways that language and thought are inextricably shaped by embodied action. Embodiment and CognitiveScience describes the abundance of empirical evidence from many disciplines, including work on perception, concepts, imagery and reasoning, language and communication, cognitive development, and emotions and consciousness, that support the idea that the mind is embodied. (shrink)
Context: Direct realism is a non-reductive, anti-representationalist theory of perception lying at the heart of mainstream analytic philosophy, where it is currently generating a lot of interest. For all that, it is widely held to be both controversial and anti-scientific. On the other hand, the sensorimotor theory of perception initially generated a lot of interest within enactive philosophy of cognitivescience, but has arguably not yet delivered on its initial promise. Problem: I aim to show that the (...) sensorimotor theory and direct realism complement each other, and that the result is a philosophically radical, but fully scientifically realised, theory of perception. Method: The article uses philosophical analysis and discussion. It also draws on empirical evidence from the relevant cognitive sciences. Results: Direct realism can be augmented by sensorimotor theory to become a scientifically tractable alternative to the mainstream, representationalist research programme within cognitivescience. Implications: The article aims to further clarify the philosophical importance of the sensorimotor approach to perception. It also aims to show that the apparently radical claim that we perceive objects themselves is amenable to normal scientific study. Constructivist content: Objects are analysed as a kind of collaboration between the world and the perceiver. On this account, we can never perceive outside the categories of our own understanding, but we do perceive genuinely outside our own heads. Thus, the approach here is not exactly constructivism, though it shares many goals and results with constructivism. (shrink)
Context: The enactive paradigm in the cognitive sciences is establishing itself as a strong and comprehensive alternative to the computationalist mainstream. However, its own particular historical roots have so far been largely ignored in the historical analyses of the cognitive sciences. Problem: In order to properly assess the enactive paradigm’s theoretical foundations in terms of their validity, novelty and potential future directions of development, it is essential for us to know more about the history of ideas (...) that has led to the current state of affairs. Method: The meaning of the disappearance of the field of cybernetics and the rise of second-order cybernetics is analyzed by taking a closer look at the work of representative figures for each of the phases: Rosenblueth, Wiener and Bigelow for the early wave of cybernetics, Ashby for its culmination, and von Foerster for the development of the second-order approach. Results: It is argued that the disintegration of cybernetics eventually resulted in two distinct scientific traditions, one going from symbolic AI to modern cognitivescience on the one hand, and the other leading from second-order cybernetics to the current enactive paradigm. Implications: We can now understand that the extent to which the cognitive sciences have neglected their cybernetic parent is precisely the extent to which cybernetics had already carried the tendencies that would later find fuller expression in second-order cybernetics. (shrink)
To understand the radical potential of Heidegger’s model of practice, we need to acknowledge the role that temporality plays within it. Commentaries on Heidegger’s account of practical engagement, however, often leave the connection between purposiveness and temporality unexplored, a tendency that persists in the contemporary discourse generated by the interaction between the phenomenological tradition and certain approaches within cognitivescience. Taking up a temporality-oriented reading that redresses this can, I want to argue here, reveal new illuminating sites for (...) the intersection between phenomenology and the cognitive sciences, particularly between Heideggerian perspectives and what have become known as enactive approaches to the study of cognition. According to the latter, cognition is an inherently relational process through which the interaction of a living being and its environment generates meaning and, ultimately, a world of significance defined by the cogniser’s self-concern. I will suggest that this emphasis upon the inextricable intertwining of agent and world renders enactive models of cognition particularly congenial to a mutually enriching dialogue with Heidegger’s account of purposiveness, particularly if we read the latter in terms of the temporal framework that Being and Time offers us. (shrink)
Upshot: Colombetti’s book is a contribution to the literature of at least three intellectual communities within philosophy and the cognitive sciences: affective science, embodiment, and enactivism. Despite the emphasis on embodiment over the past ten to fifteen years, and the resurgence of interest in emotion in the mid-to-late twentieth century, affect nevertheless remains underrepresented in the philosophy of mind and cognition, even in the embodiment and enactive communities. In her book, Colombetti helps to close this gap in (...) the literature. (shrink)
Contrary to common views that philosophy is extraneous to cognitivescience, this paper argues that philosophy has a crucial role to play in cognitivescience with respect to generality and normativity. General questions include the nature of theories and explanations, the role of computer simulation in cognitive theorizing, and the relations among the different ﬁelds of cognitivescience. Normative questions include whether human thinking should be Bayesian, whether decision making should maximize expected utility, (...) and how norms should be established. These kinds of general and normative questions make philosophical reﬂection an important part of progress in cognitivescience. Philosophy operates best, however, not with a priori reasoning or conceptual analysis, but rather with empirically informed reﬂection on a wide range of ﬁndings in cognitivescience. (shrink)
This paper considers the past and future of Psychology within CognitiveScience. In the history section, I focus on three questions: (a) how has the position of Psychology evolved within CognitiveScience, relative to the other disciplines that make up CognitiveScience; (b) how have particular CognitiveScience areas within Psychology waxed or waned; and (c) what have we gained and lost. After discussing what’s happened since the late 1970s, when the Society (...) and the journal began, I speculate about where the field is going. (shrink)
Colour fascinates all of us, and scientists and philosophers have sought to understand the true nature of colour vision for many years. In recent times, investigations into colour vision have been one of the main success stories of cognitivescience, for each discipline within the field - neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, and philosophy - has contributed significantly to our understanding of colour. Evan Thompson's book is a major contribution to this interdisciplinary project. Colour (...) Vision provides an accessible review of the current scientific and philosophical discussions of colour vision. Thompson steers a course between the subjective and objective positions on colour, arguing for a relational account. This account develops a novel `ecological' approach to colour vision in cognitivescience and the philosophy of perception. It is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
This conclusion of the debate on anthropology’s role in cognitivescience provides some clarifications and an overview of emergent themes. It also lists, as cases of good practice, some examples of productive cross-disciplinary collaboration that evince a forward momentum in the relationship between anthropology and the other cognitive sciences.
There is much good work for philosophers to do in cognitivescience if they adopt the constructive attitude that prevails in science, work toward testable hypotheses, and take on the task of clarifying the relationship between the scientiﬁc concepts and the everyday concepts with which we conduct our moral lives.
Cognitive anthropology contributes to cognitivescience as a complement to cognitive psychology. The chief threat to its survival has not been rejection by other cognitive scientists but by other cultural anthropologists. It will remain a part of cognitivescience as long as cognitive anthropologists research, teach, and publish.
Cognitivescience views thought as computation; and computation, by its very nature, can be understood in both rational and mechanistic terms. In rational terms, a computation solves some information processing problem (e.g., mapping sensory information into a description of the external world; parsing a sentence; selecting among a set of possible actions). In mechanistic terms, a computation corresponds to causal chain of events in a physical device (in engineering context, a silicon chip; in biological context, the nervous system). (...) The discipline is thus at the interface between two very different styles of explanation—as the papers in the current special issue well illustrate, it explores the interplay of rational and mechanistic forces. (shrink)
This paper reviews 30 years of progress in U.S. cognitivescience research related to education and training, as seen from the perspective of a research manager who was personally involved in many of these developments.
This chapter offers a high-level overview of the philosophy of cognitivescience and an introduction to the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of CognitiveScience. The philosophy of cognitivescience emerged out of a set of common and overlapping interests among philosophers and scientists who study the mind. We identify five categories of issues that illustrate the best work in this broad field: (1) traditional philosophical issues about the mind that have been invigorated by research (...) in cognitivescience, (2) issues regarding the practice of cognitivescience and its foundational assumptions, (3) issues regarding the explication and clarification of core concepts in cognitivescience, (4) first-order empirical issues where philosophers participate in the interdisciplinary investigation of particular psychological phenomena, (5) traditional philosophical issues that aren’t about the mind but that can be informed by a better understanding of how the mind works. (shrink)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a core area of CognitiveScience, yet today few AI researchers attend the CognitiveScience Society meetings. This essay examines why, how AI has changed over the last 30 years, and some emerging areas of potential interest where AI and the Society can go together in the next 30 years, if they choose.
This commentary gives a personal perspective on modeling and modeling developments in cognitivescience, starting in the 1950s, but focusing on the author’s personal views of modeling since training in the late 1960s, and particularly focusing on advances since the official founding of the CognitiveScience Society. The range and variety of modeling approaches in use today are remarkable, and for many, bewildering. Yet to come to anything approaching adequate insights into the infinitely complex fields of (...) mind, brain, and intelligent systems, an extremely wide array of modeling approaches is vital and necessary. (shrink)
Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of CognitiveScience invites readers to join in up-to-the-minute conceptual discussions of the fundamental issues, problems, and opportunities in cognitivescience. Written by one of the most renowned scholars in the field, this vivid and engaging introductory text relates the story of the search for a cognitive scientific understanding of mind. This search is presented as a no-holds-barred journey from early work in artificial intelligence, through connectionist (artificial neural network) (...) counter-visions, and on to neuroscience, artificial life, dynamics, and robotics. The journey ends with some wide-ranging and provocative speculation about the complex coadaptive dance between mind, culture, and technology. Each chapter opens with a brief sketch of a major research tradition or perspective, followed by short yet substantial critical discussions dealing with key topics and problems. Ranging across both standard philosophical territory and the landscape of cutting-edge cognitivescience, Clark highlights challenging issues in an effort to engage readers in active debate. Topics covered include mental causation; machine intelligence; the nature and status of folk psychology; the hardware/software distinction; emergence; relations between life and mind; the nature of perception, cognition, and action; and the continuity (or otherwise) of high-level human intelligence with other forms of adaptive response. Numerous illustrations, text boxes, and extensive suggestions for further reading enhance the text's utility. Helpful appendices provide background information on dualism, behaviorism, identity theory, consciousness, and more. An exceptional text for introductory and more advanced courses in cognitivescience and the philosophy of mind, Mindware is also essential reading for anyone interested in these fascinating and ever-changing fields. (shrink)
The computational view of mind rests on certain intuitions regarding the fundamental similarity between computation and cognition. We examine some of these intuitions and suggest that they derive from the fact that computers and human organisms are both physical systems whose behavior is correctly described as being governed by rules acting on symbolic representations. Some of the implications of this view are discussed. It is suggested that a fundamental hypothesis of this approach is that there is a natural domain of (...) human functioning that can be addressed exclusively in terms of a formal symbolic or algorithmic vocabulary or level of analysis. Much of the paper elaborates various conditions that need to be met if a literal view of mental activity as computation is to serve as the basis for explanatory theories. The coherence of such a view depends on there being a principled distinction between functions whose explanation requires that we posit internal representations and those that we can appropriately describe as merely instantiating causal physical or biological laws. In this paper the distinction is empirically grounded in a methodological criterion called the " cognitive impenetrability condition." Functions are said to be cognitively impenetrable if they cannot be influenced by such purely cognitive factors as goals, beliefs, inferences, tacit knowledge, and so on. Such a criterion makes it possible to empirically separate the fixed capacities of mind from the particular representations and algorithms used on specific occasions. In order for computational theories to avoid being ad hoc, they must deal effectively with the "degrees of freedom" problem by constraining the extent to which they can be arbitrarily adjusted post hoc to fit some particular set of observations. This in turn requires that the fixed architectural function and the algorithms be independently validated. It is argued that the architectural assumptions implicit in many contemporary models run afoul of the cognitive impenetrability condition, since the required fixed functions are demonstrably sensitive to tacit knowledge and goals. The paper concludes with some tactical suggestions for the development of computational cognitive theories. (shrink)
In 2005 Mike Wheeler published a very nice book with MIT entitled Reconstructing the Cognitive World: The Next Step. Wheeler writes about – and is at the forefront of – a group of researchers calling attention to what we can call 4EA cognition: "embodied, embedded, enactive, extended, affective." The philosophical resource for Wheeler’s “next step” is Heidegger. I think it's time we use Deleuze to take another next step.1 I’m going to use Deleuze’s essay on Lucretius as a (...) lead. There, Deleuze writes about naturalism as demystification. For the 4EA schools, the fight is against myths of the subject. (shrink)
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...) Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitivescience of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitivescience of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
Specifically designed to make the philosophy of mind intelligible to those not trained in philosophy, this book provides a concise overview for students and researchers in the cognitive sciences. Emphasizing the relevance of philosophical work to investigations in other cognitive sciences, this unique text examines such issues as the meaning of language, the mind-body problem, the functionalist theories of cognition, and intentionality. As he explores the philosophical issues, Bechtel draws connections between philosophical views and theoretical and experimental work (...) in such disciplines as cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology. (shrink)
The notion of levels has been widely used in discussions of cognitivescience, especially in discussions of the relation of connectionism to symbolic modeling of cognition. I argue that many of the notions of levels employed are problematic for this purpose, and develop an alternative notion grounded in the framework of mechanistic explanation. By considering the source of the analogies underlying both symbolic modeling and connectionist modeling, I argue that neither is likely to provide an adequate analysis of (...) processes at the level at which cognitive theories attempt to function: One is drawn from too low a level, the other from too high a level. If there is a distinctly cognitive level, then we still need to determine what are the basic organizational principles at that level. (shrink)
Though nativist hypotheses have played a pivotal role in the development of cognitivescience, it remains exceedingly obscure how they—and the debates in which they ﬁgure—ought to be understood. The central aim of this paper is to provide an account which addresses this concern and in so doing: a) makes sense of the roles that nativist theorizing plays in cognitivescience and, moreover, b), explains why it really matters to the contemporary study of cognition. I conclude (...) by outlining a range of further implications of this account for current debate in cognitivescience. (shrink)
This article responds to two unresolved and crucial problems of cognitivescience: (1) What is actually accomplished by functions of the nervous system that we ordinarily describe in the intentional idiom? and (2) What makes the information processing involved in these functions semantic? It is argued that, contrary to the assumptions of many cognitive theorists, the computational approach does not provide coherent answers to these problems, and that a more promising start would be to fall back on (...) mathematical communication theory and, with the help of evolutionary biology and neurophysiology, to attempt a characterization of the adaptive processes involved in visual perception. Visual representations are explained as patterns of cortical activity that are enabled to focus on objects in the changing visual environment by constantly adjusting to maintain levels of mutual information between pattern and object that are adequate for continuing perceptual control. In these terms, the answer proposed to (1) is that the intentional functions of vision are those involved in the establishment and maintenance of such representations, and to (2) that semantic features are added to the information processes of vision with the focus on objects that these representations accomplish. The article concludes with proposals for extending this account of intentionality to the higher domains of conceptualization and reason, and with speculation about how semantic information-processing might be achieved in mechanical systems. (shrink)
This article discusses “explaining away” arguments in the cognitivescience of religion. I distinguish two rather different ways of explaining away religion, one where religion is shown to be incompatible with scientific findings and one where supernatural entities are rendered superfluous by scientific explanations. After discussing possible objections to both varieties, I argue that the latter way offers better prospects for successfully explaining away religion but that some caveats must be made. In a second step, I spell out (...) how CSR can be used to spell out an argument of the second kind. One argument renders religion superfluous by claiming that it results from a cognitive bias and one does the same by claiming religion was a useful evolutionary adaptation. I discuss some strengths and weaknesses of both arguments. (shrink)
One of the most fruitful interdisciplinary boundaries in contemporary scholarship is that between philosophy and cognitivescience. Now that solid empirical results about the activities of the human mind are available, it is no longer necessary for philosophers to practice armchair psychology.In this short, accessible, and entertaining book, Alvin Goldman presents a masterly survey of recent work in cognitivescience that has particular relevance to philosophy. Besides providing a valuable review of the most suggestive work in (...)cognitive and social psychology, Goldman demonstrates conclusively that the best work in philosophy in a surprising number of different fields—including philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics as well as philosophy of mind—must take into account empirical breakthroughs in psychology.One of those rare texts that will also be useful for professionals, Philosophical Applications of CognitiveScience is appropriate for students in a wide range of philosophy courses. It will also interest researchers and students in psychology who are intrigued by the wider theoretical implications of their work. (shrink)
While philosophers of mind have been arguing over the status of mental representations in cognitivescience, cognitive scientists have been quietly engaged in studying perception, action, and cognition without explaining them in terms of mental representation. In this book, Anthony Chemero describes this nonrepresentational approach, puts it in historical and conceptual context, and applies it to traditional problems in the philosophy of mind. Radical embodied cognitivescience is a direct descendant of the American naturalist psychology (...) of William James and John Dewey, and follows them in viewing perception and cognition to be understandable only in terms of action in the environment. Chemero argues that cognition should be described in terms of agent-environment dynamics rather than in terms of computation and representation. After outlining this orientation to cognition, Chemero proposes a methodology: dynamical systems theory, which would explain things dynamically and without reference to representation. He also advances a background theory: Gibsonian ecological psychology, "shored up" and clarified. Chemero then looks at some traditional philosophical problems through the lens of radical embodied cognitivescience and concludes that the comparative ease with which it resolves these problems, combined with its empirical promise, makes this approach to cognitivescience a rewarding one. "Jerry Fodor is my favorite philosopher," Chemero writes in his preface, adding, "I think that Jerry Fodor is wrong about nearly everything." With this book, Chemero explains nonrepresentational, dynamical, ecological cognitivescience as clearly and as rigorously as Jerry Fodor explained computational cognitivescience in his classic work The Language of Thought. (shrink)
The last 15 years or so has seen the development of a fascinating new area of cognitivescience: the cognitivescience of religion (CSR). Scientists in this field aim to explain religious beliefs and various other religious human activities by appeal to basic cognitive structures that all humans possess. The CSR scientific theories raise an interesting philosophical question: do they somehow show that religious belief, more specifically belief in a god of some kind, is irrational? (...) In this paper I investigate this question and argue that CSR does not show that belief in god is irrational. (shrink)
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitivescience concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended (...) from the work of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
Despite being there from the beginning, philosophical approaches have never had a settled place in cognitive research and few cognitive researchers not trained in philosophy have a clear sense of what its role has been or should be. We distinguish philosophy in cognitive research and philosophy of cognitive research. Concerning philosophy in cognitive research, after exploring some standard reactions to this work by nonphilosophers, we will pay particular attention to the methods that philosophers use. Being (...) neither experimental nor computational, they can leave others bewildered. Thought experiments are the most striking example but not the only one. Concerning philosophy of cognitive research, we will pay particular attention to its power to generate and test normative claims, claims about what should and should not be done. (shrink)