Computational explanations focus on information processing required in specific cognitive capacities, such as perception, reasoning or decision-making. These explanations specify the nature of the information processing task, what information needs to be represented, and why it should be operated on in a particular manner. In this article, the focus is on three questions concerning the nature of computational explanations: What type of explanations they are, in what sense computational explanations are explanatory and to what extent they involve a special, “independent” (...) or “autonomous” level of explanation. In this paper, we defend the view computational explanations are genuine explanations, which track non-causal/formal dependencies. Specifically, we argue that they do not provide mere sketches for explanation, in contrast to what for example Piccinini and Craver :283–311, 2011) suggest. This view of computational explanations implies some degree of “autonomy” for the computational level. However, as we will demonstrate that does not make this view “computationally chauvinistic” in a way that Piccinini or Kaplan :339–373, 2011) have charged it to be. (shrink)
We present an information theoretic account of models as scientific representations, where scientific models are understood as information carrying artifacts. We propose that the semantics of models should be based on this information coupling of the model to the world. The information theoretic account presents a way of avoiding the need to refer to agents' intentions as constitutive of the semantics of scientific representations, and it provides a naturalistic account of model semantics, which can deal with the problems of asymmetry, (...) relevance and circularity that afflict other currently popular naturalistic proposals. (shrink)
The fundamental cognitive problem for active organisms is to decide what to do next in a changing environment. In this article, we analyze motor and action control in computational models that utilize reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms. In reinforcement learning, action control is governed by an action selection policy that maximizes the expected future reward in light of a predictive world model. In this paper we argue that RL provides a way to explicate the so-called action-oriented views of cognitive systems in (...) representational terms. (shrink)
In science, models are used in many different ways: to test empirical hypotheses, to help in theory formation, to visualize data, and so on. Scientists construct and study the behavior of models, and compare this to observed behavior of a target system. We propose that for this to be possible models must carry information about their targets. When models are viewed as information carrying entities, this property can be used as a foundation for a representational theory of models. This account (...) presents a way of avoiding the need to refer to modelers’ intentions (or their mental states) as constitutive of the semantics of scientific representations. Moreover, an information theory based account of scientific representations can provide a naturalistic account of models which can deal the problems of asymmetry, relevance and circularity that afflict currently popular proposals based on user intentions. From the information semantic perspective, models as scientific representations can be considered a special case of a larger problem of naturalistic representation. In this paper we will look at what we think is the most promising avenue of developing this information theoretic account of representational models. Traditionally, there has been a strong tendency towards a clear-cut division of labor between philosophers of science and philosophers of mind. We believe that there are some important philosophical insights about representation that are relevant for both camps. (shrink)
According to radical enactivists, cognitive sciences should abandon the representational framework. Perceptuomotor cognition and action control are often provided as paradigmatic examples of nonrepresentational cognitive phenomena. In this article, we illustrate how motor and action control are studied in research that uses reinforcement learning algorithms. Crucially, this approach can be given a representational interpretation. Hence, reinforcement learning provides a way to explicate action-oriented views of cognitive systems in a representational way.
Human performance in natural environments is deeply impressive, and still much beyond current AI. Experimental techniques, such as eye tracking, may be useful to understand the cognitive basis of this performance, and “the human advantage.” Driving is domain where these techniques may deployed, in tasks ranging from rigorously controlled laboratory settings through high-fidelity simulations to naturalistic experiments in the wild. This research has revealed robust patterns that can be reliably identified and replicated in the field and reproduced in the lab. (...) The purpose of this review is to cover the basics of what is known about these gaze behaviors, and some of their implications for understanding visually guided steering. The phenomena reviewed will be of interest to those working on any domain where visual guidance and control with similar task demands is involved. The paper is intended to be accessible to the non-specialist, without oversimplifying the complexity of real-world visual behavior. The literature reviewed will provide an information base useful for researchers working on oculomotor behaviors and physiology in the lab who wish to extend their research into more naturalistic locomotor tasks, or researchers in more applied fields who wish to bring aspects of the real-world ecology under experimental scrutiny. Part of a Research Topic on Gaze Strategies in Closed Self-paced tasks, this aspect of the driving task is discussed. It is in particular emphasized why it is important to carefully separate the visual strategies driving from visual behaviors relevant to other forms of driver behavior. There is always a balance to strike between ecological complexity and experimental control. One way to reconcile these demands is to look for natural, real-world tasks and behavior that are rich enough to be interesting yet sufficiently constrained and well-understood to be replicated in simulators and the lab. This ecological approach to driving as a model behavior and the way the connection between “lab” and “real world” can be spanned in this research is of interest to anyone keen to develop more ecologically representative designs for studying human gaze behavior. (shrink)
What principles and mechanisms allow humans to encode complex 3D information, and how can it be so fast, so accurately and so flexibly transformed into coordinated action? How do these processes work when developed to the limit of human physiological and cognitive capacity—as they are in high-speed sports, such as alpine skiing or motor racing? High-speed sports present not only physical challenges, but present some of the biggest perceptual-cognitive demands for the brain. The skill of these elite athletes is in (...) many ways an attractive model for studying human performance “in the wild”, and its neurocognitive basis. This article presents a framework theory for how these abilities may be realized in high-speed sports. It draws on a careful analysis of the case of the motorsport athlete, as well as theoretical concepts from: cognitive neuroscience of wayfinding, steering, and driving; cognitive psychology of expertise; cognitive modeling and machine learning; human-in-the loop modellling in vehicle system dynamics and human performance engineering; experimental research on human visual guidance. The distinctive contribution is the way these are integrated, and the concept of chunking is used in a novel way to analyze a high-speed sport. The mechanisms invoked are domain-general, and not specific to motorsport or the use of a particular type of vehicle ; the egocentric chunking hypothesis should therefore apply to any dynamic task that requires similar core skills. It offers a framework for neuroscientists, psychologists, engineers, and computer scientists working in the field of expert sports performance, and may be useful in translating fundamental research into theory-based insight and recommendations for improving real-world elite performance. Specific experimental predictions and applicability of the hypotheses to other sports are discussed. (shrink)