We show that for random bit strings, Up, with probability, image, the first order quantifier depth D) needed to distinguish non-isomorphic structures is Θ, with high probability. Further, we show that, with high probability, for random ordered graphs, G≤,p with edge probability image, D)=Θ, contrasting with the results for random graphs, Gp, given by Kim et al. [J.H. Kim, O. Pikhurko, J. Spencer, O. Verbitsky, How complex are random graphs in first order logic? Random Structures and Algorithms 26 119–145] (...) of D)=log1/pn+O. (shrink)
Western Political Thought in Dialogue with Asia is a unique collection of essays that examines the exchange of political ideas between Western Europe and Asia from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. The contributors to the volume call for globalizing the scope of research and teaching in the history of political thought.
In a reflective and richly entertaining piece from 1979, Doug Hofstadter playfully imagined a conversation between ‘Achilles’ and an anthill (the eponymous ‘Aunt Hillary’), in which he famously explored many ideas and themes related to cognition and consciousness. For Hofstadter, the anthill is able to carry on a conversation because the ants that compose it play roughly the same role that neurons play in human languaging; unfortunately, Hofstadter’s work is notably short on detail suggesting how this magic might be achieved1. (...) Conversely in this paper - finally reifying Hofstadter’s imagination - we demonstrate how populations of simple ant-like creatures can be organised to solve complex problems; problems that involve the use of forward planning and strategy. Specifically we will demonstrate that populations of such creatures can be configured to play a strategically strong - though tactically weak - game of HeX (a complex strategic game).We subsequently demonstrate how tactical play can be improved by introducing a form of forward planning instantiated via multiple populations of agents; a technique that can be compared to the dynamics of interacting populations of social insects via the concept of meta-population. In this way although, pace Hofstadter, we do not establish that a meta-population of ants could actually hold a conversation with Achilles, we do successfully introduce Aunt Hillary to the complex, seductive charms of HeX. (shrink)
In the last 50 years, multiauthored publications have become more prevalent, given the increasing number of collaborative, interdisciplinary, multicenter research studies. The determination of authorship credit and order is a difficult process, especially for graduate students, whose disadvantaged power position in research settings increases their vulnerability to exploitation. The American Psychological Association has published ethical standards for determining authorship credit, but the power difference inherent in the student-faculty relationship may complicate this ethical dilemma. The authors reviewed a number of previously (...) recommended strategies and proposed that determining authorship credit is most effectively facilitated through professional development. (shrink)
Context: Constructivist approaches to cognition have mostly been descriptive, and now face the challenge of specifying the mechanisms that may support the acquisition of knowledge. Departing from cognitivism, however, requires the development of a new functional framework that will support causal, powerful and goal-directed behavior in the context of the interaction between the organism and the environment. Problem: The properties affecting the computational power of this interaction are, however, unclear, and may include partial information from the environment, exploration, distributed processing (...) and aggregation of information, emergence of knowledge and directedness towards relevant information. Method: We posit that one path towards such a framework may be grounded in these properties, supported by dynamical systems. To assess this hypothesis, we describe computational models inspired from swarm intelligence, which we use as a metaphor to explore the practical implications of the properties highlighted. Results: Our results demonstrate that these properties may serve as the basis for complex operations, yielding the elaboration of knowledge and goal-directed behavior. Implications: This work highlights aspects of interaction that we believe ought to be taken into account when characterizing the possible mechanisms underlying cognition. The scope of the models we describe cannot go beyond that of a metaphor, however, and future work, theoretical and experimental, is required for further insight into the functional role of interaction with the environment for the elaboration of complex behavior. Constructivist content: Inspiration for this work stems from the constructivist impetus to account for knowledge acquisition based on interaction. (shrink)
John Searle’s Chinese Room Argument purports to demonstrate that syntax is not sufficient for semantics, and, hence, because computation cannot yield understanding, the computational theory of mind, which equates the mind to an information processing system based on formal computations, fails. In this paper, we use the CRA, and the debate that emerged from it, to develop a philosophical critique of recent advances in robotics and neuroscience. We describe results from a body of work that contributes to blurring the divide (...) between biological and artificial systems; so-called animats, autonomous robots that are controlled by biological neural tissue and what may be described as remote-controlled rodents, living animals endowed with augmented abilities provided by external controllers. We argue that, even though at first sight, these chimeric systems may seem to escape the CRA, on closer analysis, they do not. We conclude by discussing the role of the body–brain dynamics in the processes that give rise to genuine understanding of the world, in line with recent proposals from enactive cognitive science. (shrink)
Upshot: Albeit mostly supportive of our work, the commentaries we received highlighted a few points that deserve additional explanation, with regard to the notion of learning in our model, the relationship between our model and the brain, as well as the notion of anticipation. This open discussion emphasizes the need for toy computer models, to fuel theoretical discussion and prevent business-as-usual from getting in the way of new ideas.
Herbert Spencer was regarded by the Victorians as the foremost philosopher of the age, the prophet of evolution at a time when the idea had gripped the popular imagination. Until recently Spencer's posthumous reputation rested almost excusively on his social and political thought, which has itself frequently been subject to serious misrepresentation. But historians of ideas now recognise that an acquaintance with Spencer's thought is essential for the proper understanding of many aspects of Victorian intellectual life, and (...) the present selection is designed to answer this need. It provides a cross-section of Spencer's works from his more popular and approachable essays to a number of the volumes of the Synthetic Philosophy itself. (shrink)
1. Introduction The policy of deterrence, at least to avert nuclear war between the superpowers, has been a controversial one. The main controversy arises from the threat of each side to visit destruction on the other in response to an initial attack. This threat would seem irrational if carrying it out would lead to a nuclear holocaust – the worst outcome for both sides. Instead, it would seem better for the side attacked to suffer some destruction rather than to retaliate (...) in kind and, in the process of devastating the other side, seal its own doom in an all-out nuclear exchange. Yet, the superpowers persist in their adherence to deterrence, by which we mean a policy of threatening to retaliate to an attack by the other side in order to deter such an attack in the first place. To be sure, nuclear doctrine for implementing deterrence has evolved over the years, with such appellations as “massive retaliation,” “flexible response,” “mutual assured destruction”, and “counterforce” giving some flavor of the changes in United States strategic thinking. All such doctrines, however, entail some kind of response to a Soviet nuclear attack. They are operationalized in terms of preselected targets to be hit, depending on the perceived nature and magnitude of the attack. Thus, whether U.S. strategic policy at any time stresses a retaliatory attack on cities and industrial centers or on weapons systems and armed forces, the certainty of a response of some kind to an attack is not the issue. (shrink)
In this response to Steven Jensen’s ACPQ review essay of Martin Rhonheimer’s The Perspective of Morality, its author argues that Jensen failed to understand the proper subject matter, the inner logic, and the methodology of the book. As a result, he misread key passages while passing over others, with the result that his criticisms miss the mark. Correcting these misreadings provides the occasion to explain some key features of the book, namely its idea of integrating in a single ethical (...) theory eudaimonistic ethics and its theory of happiness with action theory, anthropology of action, a theory of practical reason, an account of the moral virtues, a doctrine of natural law, of prudence, of conscience, and of moral norms, disproving thereby Jensen’s misleading claim that the book rejects nature as a standard of ethics. (shrink)