Ontological and methodological constraints on a theory of cognition that would generalize across species are identified. Within these constraints, ecological arguments for animal-environment mutuality and reciprocity and the necessary specificity of structured energy distributions to environmental facts are developed as counterpoints to the classical doctrines of animal-environment dualism and intractable nonspecificity. Implications of and for a cognitive theory consistent with Gibson's programme of ecological psychology are identified and contrasted with contemporary cognitivism.
The ecological approach to perception-action is unlike the standard approach in several respects. It takes the animal-in-its-environment as the proper scale for the theory and analysis of perception-action, it eschews symbol based accounts of perception-action, it promotes self-organization as the theory-constitutive metaphor for perception-action, and it employs self-referring, non-predicative definitions in explaining perception-action. The present article details the complexity issues confronted by the ecological approach in terms suggested by Rosen and introduces non-well-founded set theory as a potentially useful tool for (...) expressing them. The issues and the tool are brought to focus in the concept of affordance that is the basis for explanation of prospective control of action in the ecological approach. (shrink)
Cognition means different things to different psychologists depending on the position held on the mind-matter problem. Ecological psychologists reject the implied mind-matter dualism as an ill-posed theoretic problem because the assumed mind-matter incommensurability precludes a solution to the degrees of freedom problem. This fundamental problem was posed by both Nicolai Bernstein and James J. Gibson independently. It replaces mind-matter dualism with animal-environment duality -- a better posed scientific problem because commensurability is assured. Furthermore, when properly posed this way, a conservation (...) law is suggested that encompasses a psychology of transactional systems, a biology of self-actional systems, and a physics of interactional systems. For such a solution, a theory of cognition for goal-directed behaviour is needed. A sketch is supplied for how such a theory might be pursued in the spirit of the new physics of evolving complex systems. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Perception-Action Mutuality Obviates Mental Construction” by Martin Flament Fultot, Lin Nie & Claudia Carello. Upshot: We extend the authors’ arguments on direct perception, specificity, and foundational principles to concerns for theories of joint action. We argue for the usefulness of the affordance concept in an ecological theory of social interaction; highlighting linkages between theories of affordance-based behavior and fundamental, physical principles.
The claim that perception and action are commonly coded because they are indistinguishable at the distal level is crucial for theories of cognition. However, the consequences of this claim run deep, and the Theory of Event Coding (TEC) is not up to the challenge it poses. We illustrate why through a brief review of the evidence that led to the motor theory of speech perception.
Important similarities exist between the dynamical concepts implicit in Feldman & Levin's extended λ model and those basic to a dynamical systems approach. We argue that careful application of the key concepts of control and order parameters, equilibria, and stability, can relate known facts of neuromuscular processes to the observables of functional, task-specific behavior.
A path space integral approach to modelling the job description of the cerebellum is proposed. This new approach incorporates the equation into a kind of generalized Huygens's wave equation. The resulting exponential functional integral provides a mathematical expression of the inhibitory function by which the cerebellum the intended control signal from the background of neuronal excitation.
A propagator for a path space integral can be used to represent the and provides a natural way to model a control signal that is temporally segmented by placement of pairs of stimulating and recording electrodes. Although care must be exercised in interpreting the resulting measurement, the technique should prove useful to experimenters who study cerebellar functioning.
Latash & Anson's intention to describe only the regularities of motor behavior is compromised by the homunculus paradigm. Although we concur on the need to redefine in atypical populations, we contend that this enterprise requires a process based functionalism. We argue for accommodating movement control and perceptual processes with physical and task constraints in a natural setting.