Cognitivism in psychology and philosophy is roughly the position that intelligent behavior can (only) be explained by appeal to internal that is, rational thought in a very broad sense. Sections 1 to 5 attempt to explicate in detail the nature of the scientific enterprise that this intuition has inspired. That enterprise is distinctive in at least three ways: It relies on a style of explanation which is different from that of mathematical physics, in such a way that it is not (...) basically concerned with quantitative equational laws; the states and processes with which it deals are in the sense that they are regarded as meaningful or representational; and it is not committed to reductionism, but is open to reduction in a form different from that encountered in other sciences. Spelling these points out makes it clear that the Cognitivist study of the mind can be rigorous and empirical, despite its unprecedented theoretical form. The philosophical explication has another advantage as well: It provides a much needed framework for articulating questions about whether the Cognitivist approach is right or wrong. The last three sections take that advantage of the account, and address several such questions, pro and con. (shrink)
1 INTIMACY Among Descartes's most and consequential achievements has been his of the mental as an independent ontological domain. By taking the mind as a substance, with cognitions as its modes, he accorded them a status as self-standing and determinate on their own, without essential regard to other entities. Only with this metaphysical conception in place, could the idea of solipsism-the idea of an intact ego existing with nothing else in the universe-so much as make sense. And behind that engine (...) have trailed the sorry boxcars of hyperbolic doubt. the mind-body problem, the problem of the external world, the problem of other minds, and so on. -/- Although the assumptions have been under fire, off and on. at least since Hegel-including with renewed intensity in recent years … the Cartesian separation that is still so pervasive as to be almost invisible. In particular, inter-relationist accounts retain a principled distinction between the mental and the corporeal-a distinction that is reflected in contrasts like semantics versus syntax, the space of reasons versus the space of causes, or the intentional versus the physical. (Notice that each of these contrasts can be heard either as higher versus lower’ level" or as inner versus outer 'sphere‘.) The contrary of this separation-or battery of separations-is not inter-relationist holism but something that I would like to call the intimacy of the mind's embodiment and embeddedness in the world. The term 'intimacy' is meant to suggest more than just necessary interrelation or interdependence but a kind of commingling or integralness of mind, body,and world-that is, to undermine their very distinctness. The challenge is as much to spell out what this could mean as to make a case for it. Indeed, no sooner does such a possibility seem intelligible at all, than ways bring out its plausibility and significance turn up everywhere. -/- There is little original in what follows. The strategy will be to bring some well known principles of systems analysis to bear on the mind- body-world 'system' in a way that refocuses questions of division and unity, and then to canvas a selection of investigations and proposals - some fairly recent, others not-in the light of this new focus. The hope is that these superficially disparate ideas, none of them new, will seem to converge around the theme of intimacy in a way that illuminates and supports them all. Sorting and and aligning issues in this manner has sometimes been discussed under titles like 'embedded computation’ and 'situated cognition'. (shrink)
This paper presents a non-standard and rather free-wheeling interpretation of "being and time", with emphasis on the first division. the author makes heidegger out to be less like husserl and/or sartre than is usual, and more like dewey and (to a lesser extent) sellars and the later wittgenstein. his central point concerns heidegger's radical divergence from the cartesian-kantian tradition regarding the fundamental question: what is a person?
What is the relation between computation and intennonality? Cognition presup- poses intentionality (or semantics). This much is certain. So, if, according to com- putationalism, cognition is computation, then computation, mo, presupposes..
I will focus on the topic announced in the subtitle of Professor Descombes’ profound and provocative work: The Mind’s Provisions: A Critique of Cognitivism. In the end, I will agree with practically everything in his incisive ‘critique’ except its conclusion: that cognitivism is incoherent. What he shows instead, I think, is that cognitivism, as an account of human thought and understanding, is deeply false. The difference matters because incoherence is harder to prove and, prima facie, less plausible. But, if the (...) same argument, slightly recast, shows falsehood with even more conviction, then the essential point is saved after all. So, following a quick characterization of cognitivism, I will attempt to distill what I take to be the main grounds and themes of Descombes’ critique, explain why I don’t think they expose an incoherence, and then show how they might be recast in a way that is devastating all the same. (shrink)
(with John Haugeland), in R. L. Gregory, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Mind , Oxford University Press 1987; reprinted in Actes du 3ème Colloque International Cognition et Connaissance: Où va la science cognitive? Toulouse: CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier 1988; reprinted in K. Lehrer and E. Sosa, eds., The Opened Curtain: A U.S.-Soviet Philosophy Summit, Westview Press, 1991, Chapter 3.
Intentionality is aboutness. Some things are about other things: a belief can be about icebergs, but an iceberg is not about anything; an idea can be about the number 7, but the number 7 is not about anything; a book or a film can be about Paris, but Paris is not about anything. Philosophers have long been concerned with the analysis of the phenomenon of intentionality, which has seemed to many to be a fundamental feature of mental states and events.
While brilliance and originality surely top the list of qualities shared by Brandom and Heidegger, another commonality is a tendency to treat their predecessors as partial and sometimes confused versions of themselves. Heidegger, therefore, could hardly be indignant on principle if Brandom finds a fair bit of Making it Explicit in the first division of Being and Time. Nevertheless, some details may deserve a closer look. Here I will concentrate on the more recent of the Heidegger essays reprinted in Tales (...) of the Mighty Dead: ‘Dasein, the Being that Thematizes’. (shrink)
What follows is an attempt to expose two covert “dogmas”—tendentious yet invisible assumptions—that underlie rationalist thought, both modern and contemporary. Though neither term is perfect, I will call these assumptions..
In an interview with Cogito (Greece), philosopher John Haugeland proposes that the defining feature of human intelligence is responsibility. On the ethical level, this means being able to decide between what one is told to do and what one ought to do; on the cognitive level, it involves abandoning a certain theory if it fails to comply with observation.
The original edition of What Computers Can't Do comprised three roughly equal parts: (i) a harsh critical survey of the history and state of the art in AI, circa 1970; (ii) a brilliant philosophical expose of four hidden assumptions shoring up AI's rmsplaced optimism; and (iii) a much more tentative exploration of ways to think, about intelligence without those assumptions. Part I, because it was the most combative (and also the easiest to understand), got most of the attention. Also, since (...) that discussion was the most timely Ã¢â¬â hence the most quickly obsolete Ã¢â¬â it is what the excellent substantive introductions to the later editions.. (shrink)