This paper explores the difference between Connectionist proposals for cognitive a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d t h e s o r t s o f m o d e l s t hat have traditionally been assum e d i n c o g n i t i v e s c i e n c e . W e c l a i m t h a t t h (...) e m a j o r d i s t i n c t i o n i s t h a t , w h i l e b o t h Connectionist and Classical architectures postulate representational mental states, the latter but not the former are committed to a symbol-level of representation, or to a ‘language of thought’: i.e., to representational states that have combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure. Several arguments for combinatorial structure in mental representations are then reviewed. These include arguments based on the ‘systematicity’ of mental representation: i.e., on the fact that cognitive capacities always exhibit certain symmetries, so that the ability to entertain a given thought implies the ability to entertain thoughts with semantically related contents. We claim that such arguments make a powerful case that mind/brain architecture is not Connectionist at the cognitive level. We then consider the possibility that Connectionism may provide an account of the neural (or ‘abstract neurological’) structures in which Classical cognitive architecture is implemented. We survey a n u m b e r o f t h e s t a n d a r d a r g u m e n t s t h a t h a v e b e e n o f f e r e d i n f a v o r o f Connectionism, and conclude that they are coherent only on this interpretation. (shrink)
In "Things and Places," Zenon Pylyshyn argues that the process of incrementally constructing perceptual representations, solving the binding problem (determining which properties go together), and, more generally, grounding perceptual ...
6. Seeing With the Mind ’ s Eye 1 : The Puzzle of Mental Imagery 6. 1 What is the puzzle about mental imagery? 6. 2 Content, form and substance of representations 6. 3 What is responsible for the pattern of results obtained in imagery studies?
Our aim in this article is to trace the evolution of the concepts of physical space in Western thought from the Greeks to the Newtonian philosophy of nature. Especially the article presents studies of ancient Greek theories of physical space and place, in particular those of the classical and Hellenistic period. These theories are explained primarily with reference to the general philosophical or methodological framework within which they took shape. Special attention is paid to the interrelations between various concepts of (...) space and with Greek spatial terminology. The arguments of this paper can be summarized as follows: first, the concept of space itself has taken the central position in philosophy of nature; second, the debate about the nature of space has developed several different theories; third, the concept of space has several issues to overcome. (shrink)
The concepts of space are great inventions of the mind to help it comprehend the world. These notes provide an overview of this saga. The article covers the development of the current scientific and philosophical concepts of space through history, emphasizing the newest developments and ideas. The various concepts will be introduced in a historical order, this provides a measure of understanding as to how the ideas on which the modern theory of space is based were developed.
Stern has drawn attention to the possibility of conducting research into the psychology of individual differences in a manner that treats nomothetic and idiographic approaches as being equal and complementary. Nevertheless, many psychologists, such as Strelau, strongly deny the scientific value of the idiographic approach. Jung's conception of psychological types, as presented here, has been created using the nomothetic approach, and its basic assumptions can be verified using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Bearing in mind the fact that Adler's conception of (...) lifestyles was formulated and verified using only the idiographic method of psychography, carried out in the context of individual courses of psychotherapy, I draw attention to the possibility of using, for this purpose, my own Action Styles Questionnaire, which offers some elements essential to the idiographic approach: e.g. a bipolar structural scale of individual preferences articulated in terms of cooperation with others on the one hand, and security and self-protection on the other - one which may be considered convergent with Adler's description of creative and uncreative lifestyles. Psychometric data obtained from the students in respect of MBTI and ASQ were subjected to statistical covariation analysis. Additionally, four homogeneous types were demarcated, using statistical cluster analysis. The final results obtained indicate that MBTI attitude scales are significantly covariant with the results for persons belonging to different types along the bipolar CO-SP scale. However, there were almost no differences between the results obtained when using ASQ scales and when using the scales for the three pairs of psychological functions measured by MBTI. (shrink)
The computational view of mind rests on certain intuitions regarding the fundamental similarity between computation and cognition. We examine some of these intuitions and suggest that they derive from the fact that computers and human organisms are both physical systems whose behavior is correctly described as being governed by rules acting on symbolic representations. Some of the implications of this view are discussed. It is suggested that a fundamental hypothesis of this approach is that there is a natural domain of (...) human functioning that can be addressed exclusively in terms of a formal symbolic or algorithmic vocabulary or level of analysis. Much of the paper elaborates various conditions that need to be met if a literal view of mental activity as computation is to serve as the basis for explanatory theories. The coherence of such a view depends on there being a principled distinction between functions whose explanation requires that we posit internal representations and those that we can appropriately describe as merely instantiating causal physical or biological laws. In this paper the distinction is empirically grounded in a methodological criterion called the " cognitive impenetrability condition." Functions are said to be cognitively impenetrable if they cannot be influenced by such purely cognitive factors as goals, beliefs, inferences, tacit knowledge, and so on. Such a criterion makes it possible to empirically separate the fixed capacities of mind from the particular representations and algorithms used on specific occasions. In order for computational theories to avoid being ad hoc, they must deal effectively with the "degrees of freedom" problem by constraining the extent to which they can be arbitrarily adjusted post hoc to fit some particular set of observations. This in turn requires that the fixed architectural function and the algorithms be independently validated. It is argued that the architectural assumptions implicit in many contemporary models run afoul of the cognitive impenetrability condition, since the required fixed functions are demonstrably sensitive to tacit knowledge and goals. The paper concludes with some tactical suggestions for the development of computational cognitive theories. (shrink)
In _Seeing and Visualizing_, Zenon Pylyshyn argues that seeing is different from thinking and that to see is not, as it may seem intuitively, to create an inner replica of the world. Pylyshyn examines how we see and how we visualize and why the scientific account does not align with the way these processes seem to us "from the inside." In doing so, he addresses issues in vision science, cognitive psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive neuroscience. First, Pylyshyn argues (...) that there is a core stage of vision independent from the influence of our prior beliefs and examines how vision can be intelligent and yet essentially knowledge-free. He then proposes that a mechanism within the vision module, called a visual index, provides a direct preconceptual connection between parts of visual representations and things in the world, and he presents various experiments that illustrate the operation of this mechanism. He argues that such a deictic reference mechanism is needed to account for many properties of vision, including how mental images attain their apparent spatial character without themselves being laid out in space in our brains. The final section of the book examines the "picture theory" of mental imagery, including recent neuroscience evidence, and asks whether any current evidence speaks to the issue of the format of mental images. This analysis of mental imagery brings together many of the themes raised throughout the book and provides a framework for considering such issues as the distinction between the form and the content of representations, the role of vision in thought, and the relation between behavioral, neuroscientific, and phenomenological evidence regarding mental representations. (shrink)
In _Things and Places_, Zenon Pylyshyn argues that the process of incrementally constructing perceptual representations, solving the binding problem, and, more generally, grounding perceptual representations in experience arise from the nonconceptual capacity to pick out and keep track of a small number of sensory individuals. He proposes a mechanism in early vision that allows us to select a limited number of sensory objects, to reidentify each of them under certain conditions as the same individual seen before, and to keep (...) track of their enduring individuality despite radical changes in their properties -- all without the machinery of concepts, identity, and tenses. This mechanism, which he calls FINSTs, is responsible for our capacity to individuate and track several independently moving sensory objects -- an ability that we exercise every waking minute, and one that can be understood as fundamental to the way we see and understand the world and to our sense of space. Pylyshyn examines certain empirical phenomena of early vision in light of the FINST mechanism, including tracking and attentional selection. He argues provocatively that the initial selection of perceptual individuals is our primary nonconceptual contact with the perceptual world and then draws upon a wide range of empirical data to support a radical externalist theory of spatial representation that grows out of his indexing theory. (shrink)
Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to general cognition. This paper sets out some of the arguments for both sides and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, which may be called early vision or just vision, is prohibited from accessing relevant expectations, knowledge and utilities - in other words it (...) is cognitively impenetrable. That part of vision is complex and articulated and provides a representation of the 3-D surfaces of objects sufficient to serve as an index into memory, with somewhat different outputs being made available to other systems such as those dealing with motor control. The paper also addresses certain conceptual and methodological issues, including the use of signal detection theory and event-related potentials to assess cognitive penetration of vision. A distinction is made among several stages in visual processing. These include, in addition to the inflexible early-vision stage, a pre-perceptual attention allocation stage and a post-perceptual evaluation, memory-accessing, and inference stage which provide several different highly constrained ways in which cognition can affect the outcome of visual perception. The paper discusses arguments that have been presented in both computer vision and psychology showing that vision is "intelligent" and involves elements of problem solving". It is suggested that these cases do not show cognitive penetration, but rather they show that certain natural constraints on interpretation, concerned primarily with optical and geometrical properties of the world, have been compiled into the visual system. The paper also examines a number of examples where instructions and "hints" are alleged to affect. (shrink)
In three experiments, subjects attempted to track multiple items as they moved independently and unpredictably about a display. Performance was not impaired when the items were briefly (but completely) occluded at various times during their motion, suggesting that occlusion is taken into account when computing enduring perceptual objecthood. Unimpaired performance required the presence of accretion and deletion cues along fixed contours at the occluding boundaries. Performance was impaired when items were present on the visual field at the same times and (...) to the same degrees as in the occlusion conditions, but disappeared and reappeared in ways which did not implicate the presence of occluding surfaces (e.g. by imploding and exploding into and out of existence, instead of accreting and deleting along a fixed contour). Unimpaired performance did not require visible occluders (i.e. Michotte’s tunnel effect) or globally consistent occluder positions. We discuss implications of these results for theories of objecthood in visual attention. (shrink)
Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to cognition. This target article sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, psychophysics, perceptual learning, and other areas of vision science) and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, corresponding to what some people have called early vision, (...) is prohibited from accessing relevant expectations, knowledge, and utilities in determining the function it computes – in other words, it is cognitively impenetrable. That part of vision is complex and involves top-down interactions that are internal to the early vision system. Its function is to provide a structured representation of the 3-D surfaces of objects sufficient to serve as an index into memory, with somewhat different outputs being made available to other systems such as those dealing with motor control. The paper also addresses certain conceptual and methodological issues raised by this claim, such as whether signal detection theory and event-related potentials can be used to assess cognitive penetration of vision. (shrink)
This paper argues that a theory of situated vision, suited for the dual purposes of object recognition and the control of action, will have to provide something more than a system that constructs a conceptual representation from visual stimuli: it will also need to provide a special kind of direct (preconceptual, unmediated) connection between elements of a visual representation and certain elements in the world. Like natural language demonstratives (such as `this' or `that') this direct connection allows entities to be (...) referred to without being categorized or conceptualized. Several reasons are given for why we need such a preconcep- tual mechanism which individuates and keeps track of several individual objects in the world. One is that early vision must pick out and compute the relation among several individual objects while ignoring their properties. Another is that incrementally computing and updating representations of a dynamic scene requires keeping track of token individuals despite changes in their properties or locations. It is then noted that a mechanism meeting these requirements has already been proposed in order to account for a number of disparate empiri- cal phenomena, including subitizing, search-subset selection and multiple object tracking (Pylyshyn et al., Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 48(2) (1994) 260). This mechanism, called a visual index or FINST, is brie. (shrink)