Cognitive pragmatics is concerned with the mental processes involved in intentional communication. I discuss a few issues that may help clarify the relationship between this area and the broader cognitive science and the contribution that they give, or might give, to each other. Rather than dwelling on the many technicalities of the various theories of communication that have been advanced, I focus on the different conceptions of the nature and the architecture of the mind/brain that underlie them. My aims are, (...) first, to introduce and defend mentalist views of communication in general; second, to defend one such view, namely that communication is a cognitive competence, that is, a faculty, and the underlying idea that the architecture of the mind/brain is domain-specific; and, third, to review the (scarce) neuropsychological evidence that bears on these issues. (shrink)
We propose a mentalistic and nativist view of human early mental and social life and of the ontogeny of mindreading. We define the mental state of sharedness as the primitive, one-sided capability to take one's own mental states as mutually known to an i nteractant. We argue that this capability is an innate feature of the human mind, which the child uses to make a subjective sense of the world and of her actions. We argue that the child takes all (...) of her mental states as shared with her caregivers. This a llows her to interact with her caregivers in a mentalistic way from the very beginning and provides the grounds on which the later maturation of mindreading will build. As the latter process occurs, the child begins to understand the mental world in terms of differences between the mental states of different agents; subjectively, this also corresponds to the birth of privateness. ? (shrink)
A large body of literature agrees that persons with schizophrenia suffer from a Theory of Mind deficit. However, most empirical studies have focused on third-person, egocentric ToM, underestimating other facets of this complex cognitive skill. Aim of this research is to examine the ToM of schizophrenic persons considering its various aspects, to determine whether some components are more impaired than others. We developed a Theory of Mind Assessment Scale and administered it to 22 persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (...) and a matching control group. Th.o.m.a.s. is a semi-structured interview which allows a multi-component measurement of ToM. Both groups were also administered a few existing ToM tasks and the schizophrenic subjects were administered the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the WAIS-R. The schizophrenic persons performed worse than control at all the ToM measurements; however, these deficits appeared to be differently distributed among different components of ToM. Our conclusion is that ToM deficits are not unitary in schizophrenia, which also testifies to the importance of a complete and articulated investigation of ToM. (shrink)
We outline a theory of human agency and communication and discuss the role that the capability to share (that is, intersubjectivity) plays in it. All the notions discussed are cast in a mentalistic and radically constructivist framework. We also introduce and discuss the relevant literature.
This research is concerned with the innate predispositions underlying human intentional communication. Human communication is currently defined as a circular and overt attempt to modify a partner's mental states. This requires each party involved to posse ss the ability to represent and understand the other's mental states, a capability which is commonly referred to as mindreading, or theory of mind (ToM). The relevant experimental literature agrees that no such capability is to be found in the human speci es at least (...) during the first year of life, and possibly later. This paper aims at advancing a solution to this theoretical problem. We propose to consider sharedness as the basis for intentional communication in the infant and to view it as a primitive, i nnate component of her cognitive architecture. Communication can then build upon the mental grounds that the infant takes as shared with her caregivers. We view this capability as a theory of mind in a weak sense.›. (shrink)
During interaction with computer-based 3-D simulations like virtual reality, users may experience a sense of involvement called presence. Presence is commonly defined as the subjective feeling of "being there". We discuss the state of the art in this inno vative research area and introduce a situated cognition perspective on presence. We argue that presence depends on the proper integration of aspects relevant to an agent's movement and perception, to her actions, and to her conception of the overall situ a tion (...) in which she finds herself, as well as on how these aspects mesh with the possibilities for action afforded in the interaction with the artifact. We also aim at showing that studies of presence offer a test-bed for different theories of situated co gnition.›. (shrink)
We argue that the locomotion of organisms is better understood as a form of interaction with a subjective environment, rather than as a set of behaviors allegedly amenable to objective descriptions. An organism's interactions with its subjective environment are in turn understandable in terms of its cognitive architecture. We propose a large-scale classification of the possible types of cognitive architectures, giving a sketch of the subjective structure that each of them superimposes on space and of the relevant consequences on locomotion. (...) The classification comprises a main division between nonrepresentational and representational architectures and further subdivisions. (shrink)
Abstract. This paper is concerned with the mental processes involved in intentional communication. I describe an agent's cognitive architecture as the set of cognitive dynamics (i.e., sequences of mental states with contents) she may entertain. I then describe intentional communication as one such specific dynamics, arguing against the prevailing view that communication consists in playing a role in a socially shared script. The cognitive capabilities needed for such dynamics are midreading (i.e., the ability to reason upon another individual's mental states), (...) and communicative planning (i.e., the ability to dynamically represent and act in a communicative situation). (shrink)
Presence is commonly defined as the subjective feeling of "being there". It has been mainly conceived of as deriving from immersion, interaction, and social and narrative involvement with suitable technology. We argue that presence depends on a suitable integration of aspects relevant to an agent's movement and perception, to her actions, and to her conception of the overall situation in which she finds herself, as well as on how these aspects mesh with the possibilities for action afforded in the interaction (...) with the virtual environment. (shrink)
Gold & Stoljar's characterization of the trivial doctrine and of its relationships with the radical one misses some differences that may be crucial. The radical doctrine can be read as a derivative of the computational version of functionalism that provides the backbone of current cognitive science and is fundamentally uninterested in biology: both doctrines are fundamentally wrong. The synthesis between neurobiology and psychology requires instead that minds be viewed as ontologically primitive, that is, as material properties of functioning bodies. G&S's (...) characterization of the trivial doctrine should therefore be correspondingly modified. (shrink)
From a cognitive perspective, intentional communication may be viewed as an agent's activity overtly aimed at modifying a partner's mental states. According to standard Gricean definitions, this requires each party to be able to ascribe mental states to the other, i.e., to entertain a so-called theory of mind. According to the relevant experimental literature, however, such capability does not appear before the third or fourth birthday; it would follow that children under that age should not be viewed as communicating agents. (...) In order to solve the resulting dilemma, we propose that certain specific components of an agent's cognitive architecture (namely, a peculiar version of sharedness and communicative intention), are necessary and sufficient to explain infant communication in a mentalist framework. We also argue that these components are innate in the human species. (shrink)
Building on Bringsjord's (1992, 1994) and Searle's (1992) work, I take it for granted that computational systems cannot be conscious. In order to discuss the possibility that they might be able to pass refined versions of the Turing Test, I consider three possible relationships between consciousness and control systems in human-level adaptive agents.
We focus on Karmiloff-Smith's Representational redescription model, arguing that it poses some problems concerning the architecture of a redescribing system. To discuss the topic, we consider the implicit/explicit dichotomy and the relations between natur al language and the language of thought. We argue that the model regards how knowledge is employed rather than how it is represented in the system.
We describe a research on the interplay that appears to exist in companies between Human Resource Management and innovation. This complex, multicomponent, non-linear and dynamic interplay is often viewed as a "black box". To help open the black box, we outline both a theoretical framework and preliminary empirical data. We view innovation as an organization-level property, favored by the organization's self-perception as a knowledge engine. Therefore, we devised a protocol to study the companies' strategies for training and development and their (...) innovation profile. The protocol consisted in a questionnaire with 100 closed questions, suitable for companies which rely mostly on an inner training and development service. The questionnaire was administered to a sample of Italian firms from the Food & beverages and Fashion markets. The results show that certain facets of training and development are indeed correlated to innovation. Finally, we discuss the results. (shrink)