The frame problem refers to the fact that organisms must be able to zero in on relevant aspects of the world and intelligently ignore the vast majority of the world that is irrelevant to their goals. In this paper we aim to point out the connection between two leading frameworks for thinking about how organisms achieve this. Predictive processing is a rapidly growing framework within cognitive science which suggests that organisms assign a high ‘weight’ to relevant aspects of the world, (...) effectively treating relevant aspects of the world as if they are more precise. This assignment of weight is called precision-weighting and is the predictive processing account of how organisms allocate their attention. Relevance Realization is a framework that conceptualizes an organism’s ability to realize relevance as resulting from a dynamical system in which a cognitive agent makes use of opponent processing relationships to zero in on relevant aspects of the world. In this paper we use recent work on the diametric model of autism and psychosis to demonstrate that the tradeoffs inherent to precision-weighting are also inherent to relevance realization. This connection will demonstrate that although these frameworks have a different intellectual background and use a different set of concepts and vocabulary, they are both pointing to the same underlying process. The fact that these different frameworks have converged on such a similar solution to the problem of how organisms realize relevance serves to demonstrate the plausibility of that solution. (shrink)
Mark Johnson argues in favour of embodied experience as the basis for knowledge. An important implication of his analysis is that these experiences instigate pervasive metaphorical systems. Johnson 's argument involves reductionist problems, chicken-and-egg problems and, at times, unclear criteria for what counts as a basic experience and a metaphor.
The distinguishing feature of enactivist cognitive science is arguably its commitment to non-reductionism and its philosophical allegiance to first-person approaches, like phenomenology. The guiding theme of this article is that a theoretically mature enactivism is bound to be humanistic in its articulation, and only by becoming more humanistic can enactivism more fully embody the non-reductionist spirit that lay at its foundation. Our explanatory task is thus to bring forth such an articulation by advancing an enactivist theory of human personality. To (...) this end, we synthesize core concepts from cognitive science, personality theory, and phenomenological philosophy in order to develop an Enactivist Big-5 Theory of personality. According to EB5T, personality traits are dispositional tendencies for how we come to optimally grip our distinctly human worlds. Individual differences in personality are therefore reflective of stylistic differences in optimal gripping tendencies between human beings. EB5T affords a non-reductionist understanding of the immanent teleology of the autopoietically embodied human mind as a kind of full-scale optimal gripping process that is achieved along five major dimensions of personality. To the degree that these dimensions are universal, therefore, we argue that our theory offers a viable path forward in advancing enactivist cognitive science beyond the life of a cell and into the mind of a person, a longstanding hope and ambition held by proponents of the enactive approach. (shrink)
This paper examines the enactment of agency in the Mars Exploration Rover mission. We argue that MER functioned as a distributed cognitive system, made up of highly specialized, though complementary, elements. To explain how a sense of shared agency was attained therein, we augment the distributed account with Tollefsen and Gallagher’s Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 47, 95-110, theory of joint agency. It claims joint actions involve a cascade of shared distal, proximal, and motor intentions, each with its own content (...) and timescale, and that narrative processes are crucial for stabilizing shared intentions. We argue MER possessed these three levels of intention, though they fell on different elements of the distributed cognitive system, and their timescales were longer than mundane cases of joint action. Scientists, collaborating with engineers, enacted shared distal and proximal intentions, while rovers enacted the motor intentions. Moreover, we show that we-narratives, including a commitment to consensus-based operations and an epistemic strategy for discovering the geological history of Mars, constrained the formation of distal and proximal intentions such that they could genuinely be attributed to the group. Nonetheless, our distributed account does not fully capture how rovers shaped the sense of embodiment of team members. Scientists and engineers described themselves as ‘becoming the rover,’ which allowed them to have a sense of presence on Mars. We argue this can be explained by the Material Engagement Theory, which complements the distributed cognition theory. (shrink)