Minds and Machines

http://link.springer.com/journal/11023

List of Papers (Total 43)

From Computer Metaphor to Computational Modeling: The Evolution of Computationalism

In this paper, I argue that computationalism is a progressive research tradition. Its metaphysical assumptions are that nervous systems are computational, and that information processing is necessary for cognition to occur. First, the primary reasons why information processing should explain cognition are reviewed. Then I argue that early formulations of these reasons are...

Intervention and Identifiability in Latent Variable Modelling

We consider the use of interventions for resolving a problem of unidentified statistical models. The leading examples are from latent variable modelling, an influential statistical tool in the social sciences. We first explain the problem of statistical identifiability and contrast it with the identifiability of causal models. We then draw a parallel between the latent variable...

Interaction-Dominant Causation in Mind and Brain, and Its Implication for Questions of Generalization and Replication

The dominant assumption about the causal architecture of the mind is, that it is composed of a stable set of components that contribute independently to relevant observables that are employed to measure cognitive activity. This view has been called component-dominant dynamics. An alternative has been proposed, according to which the different components are not independent, but...

Discovering Brain Mechanisms Using Network Analysis and Causal Modeling

Mechanist philosophers have examined several strategies scientists use for discovering causal mechanisms in neuroscience. Findings about the anatomical organization of the brain play a central role in several such strategies. Little attention has been paid, however, to the use of network analysis and causal modeling techniques for mechanism discovery. In particular, mechanist...

The Political Economy of Death in the Age of Information: A Critical Approach to the Digital Afterlife Industry

Online technologies enable vast amounts of data to outlive their producers online, thereby giving rise to a new, digital form of afterlife presence. Although researchers have begun investigating the nature of such presence, academic literature has until now failed to acknowledge the role of commercial interests in shaping it. The goal of this paper is to analyse what those...

Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars

Clark has recently suggested that predictive processing advances a theory of neural function with the resources to put an ecumenical end to the “representation wars” of recent cognitive science. In this paper I defend and develop this suggestion. First, I broaden the representation wars to include three foundational challenges to representational cognitive science. Second, I...

The Logic of Design as a Conceptual Logic of Information

In this article, I outline a logic of design of a system as a specific kind of conceptual logic of the design of the model of a system, that is, the blueprint that provides information about the system to be created. In section two, I introduce the method of levels of abstraction as a modelling tool borrowed from computer science. In section three, I use this method to clarify...

A Constructionist Philosophy of Logic

This paper develops and refines the suggestion that logical systems are conceptual artefacts that are the outcome of a design-process by exploring how a constructionist epistemology and meta-philosophy can be integrated within the philosophy of logic.

A Plea for Non-naturalism as Constructionism

Contemporary science seems to be caught in a strange predicament. On the one hand, it holds a firm and reasonable commitment to a healthy naturalistic methodology, according to which explanations of natural phenomena should never overstep the limits of the natural itself. On the other hand, contemporary science is also inextricably and now inevitably dependent on ever more...

Situating Machine Intelligence Within the Cognitive Ecology of the Internet

The Internet is an important focus of attention for the philosophy of mind and cognitive science communities. This is partly because the Internet serves as an important part of the material environment in which a broad array of human cognitive and epistemic activities are situated. The Internet can thus be seen as an important part of the ‘cognitive ecology’ that helps to shape...

There’s Plenty of Boole at the Bottom: A Reversible CA Against Information Entropy

“There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, said the title of Richard Feynman’s 1959 seminal conference at the California Institute of Technology. Fifty years on, nanotechnologies have led computer scientists to pay close attention to the links between physical reality and information processing. Not all the physical requirements of optimal computation are captured by traditional...

Optimal Behavior is Easier to Learn than the Truth

We consider a reinforcement learning setting where the learner is given a set of possible models containing the true model. While there are algorithms that are able to successfully learn optimal behavior in this setting, they do so without trying to identify the underlying true model. Indeed, we show that there are cases in which the attempt to find the true model is doomed to...

A Theorem about Computationalism and “Absolute” Truth

This article focuses on issues related to improving an argument about minds and machines given by Kurt Gödel in 1951, in a prominent lecture. Roughly, Gödel’s argument supported the conjecture that either the human mind is not algorithmic, or there is a particular arithmetical truth impossible for the human mind to master, or both. A well-known weakness in his argument is crucial...

A Chance for Attributable Agency

Can we sensibly attribute some of the happenings in our world to the agency of some of the things around us? We do this all the time, but there are conceptual challenges purporting to show that attributable agency, and specifically one of its most important subspecies, human free agency, is incoherent. We address these challenges in a novel way: rather than merely rebutting...

Selection for Representation in Higher-Order Adaptation

A theory of the evolution of mind cannot be complete without an explanation of how cognition became representational. Artificial approximations of cognitive evolution do not, in general, produce representational cognition. We take this as an indication that there is a gap in our understanding of what drives evolution towards representational solutions, and propose a theory to...

Uploading and Branching Identity

If a brain is uploaded into a computer, will consciousness continue in digital form or will it end forever when the brain is destroyed? Philosophers have long debated such dilemmas and classify them as questions about personal identity. There are currently three main theories of personal identity: biological, psychological, and closest continuer theories. None of these theories...