1. Structuring the Self, a new metaphysical enterprise

As before, I am very grateful to John for letting me present my work. My new book Structuring the Self (2019, Palgrave Macmillan, Series New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science), did not initially aim to introduce a new insight into the nature of selfhood so much as to give …

4. Cognitive Structures, Predictive Coding and the Free Energy Principle

As I explained in the previous post, CSR’s account of scientific representation is based on the neuroscientific account of the brain-world relationship. The neuroscientific account is presented in terms of the Predictive Processing Theory (PPT) and the Free Energy Principle (FEP) as being developed by Karl Friston and others. PPT …

Julia Haas on Revisiting Binocular Rivalry

The Brains blog is excited about the next Neural Mechanisms webinar this Friday. It is free. Find information about how and when to join the webinar here: https://www.neuralmechanisms.org/blog/webinar-julia-haas-8-february-2019 (and below). Revisiting Binocular Rivalry Julia Haas (Australian National University) February 8, 2019 Webinarh 8-10 – Greenwhich Mean Time (Convert to your local time …

1. The Virtues and Vices of Spontaneity

To avoid becoming a victim of violent assault, people are often coached to trust their gut feelings. “Trust your INSTINCTS,” the University of Oklahoma Police Department says, “believe your inner feelings when you get uncomfortable about a person or situation. Respond as soon as you feel uncomfortable!”[1] Gavin De Becker, …

Michael Silberstein Webinar on Explanatory Strategies in the Biological Sciences

The Brains blog is excited for the next Neural Mechanisms webinar this Friday. It is free. Find information about how and when to join the webinar here: https://www.neuralmechanisms.org/blog/25-january-michael-siblerstein-webinar-constraints-on-localization-and-decomposition-20 (and below). Constraints on Localization and Decomposition as Explanatory Strategies in the Biological Sciences 2.0 Michael Silberstein (Elizabethtown College) 25 January 2019h 15-17 …

Applications of the Account of the Evolution of Representational Decision Making

Today—in my (alas!) last posting—I suggest some ways the account of the evolution of representational decision making laid out in my book (and sketched in outline last time on the blog) can be applied to a number of open questions in philosophy, psychology, and economics. I will focus on three …

The Evolution of Representational Decision Making

Why did some organisms switch from relying just on reflexive—i.e. purely perceptually-driven—interactions with the world to also employing the tools of representational decision making? What adaptive and other benefits does the reliance on representational decision making yield? Today, I sketch aspects of the answers to these questions; for more details, …

Foundations of the Investigation of the Evolution of Representational Decision Making

Before it is possible to begin the investigation of the evolution of representational decision making it is necessary to address three foundational issues: (1) The nature of representational decision making—what is it that we are investigating? (2) The reality of representational decision making—why think that representational decision making is a …

Efficient Cognition—The Evolution of Representational Decision Making

I want to thank John Schwenkler for inviting me to blog about my new book, Efficient Cognition—The Evolution of Representational Decision Making. I am excited to be sharing with you all the reasons why I find the evolution of representational decision making such a fascinating research project. I also look …

The Philosophy of Philip Kitcher

I am writing to inform readers of Brains about a recent volume titled The Philosophy of Philip Kitcher. Kitcher’s work has been influential in many areas of philosophy. This volume surveys a range of Kitcher’s work, by a well-known group of contributors. Subjects covered include philosophy of science, philosophy of …

Can the science of well-being be value free?

  Here’s an attitude I sometimes encounter among scientists: “It is not my job as a scientist to figure out what true well-being is and to choose my constructs accordingly. My job is to study empirical relations between people’s subjective experiences and various factors, such as personality traits, behavior, socioeconomic …

What to expect when you are theorising well-being?

Different people expect different things from theories of well-being. Some expect that they systematise in a maximally general way intuitions about goods that constitute well-being, others that they states most important causes of well-being, still others that they help them to lead a good life. I for one ask that …

2. Psychological and Computational Models of Sentence Processing

Last time, I argued that there are substantive open questions about whether the theoretical constructs of formal linguistics play any role in the psychological processes underlying language use. Let’s now address those questions. When people talk about “the psychological reality of syntax”, there are (at least) two importantly different types …

1. The Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology of Linguistics

There are, broadly speaking, three competing frameworks for answering the foundational questions of linguistic theory—cognitivism (e.g., Chomsky 1995, 2000), platonism (e.g., Katz 1981, 2000), and nominalism (e.g., Devitt 2006, 2008). Platonism is the view that the subject matter of linguistics is an uncountable set of abstracta—entities that are located outside …

4. Conceptual Emergence and Neural Networks

Conceptual emergence occurs when, in order to understand or effectively represent some phenomenon, a different representational apparatus must be introduced at the current working level. Such changes in representation are common in the sciences but it has usually been considered in connection with changes in synchronic representations. Here, I’ll consider …