5. A control theory of the mind

For the last day of blogging my book The Emotional Mind, I’m going to skip straight to the last chapter on mental architecture. This is where propose a control theory of the mind as a whole. It is perhaps the most ambitious and speculative chapter of a book that is …

2. Valent Representation

Yesterday I promised to give an account of valent representation. This is perhaps the core original idea of the book (though it has precedents in Ruth Millikan’s ‘pushmi-pullyu’ representations (1995) and Andy Clark’s ‘action oriented representations’ (1997)). Essentially, valent representation is representation in a valent (i.e. positive or negative) manner. …

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 Unity of Perception

Many thanks to John Schwenkler for running the Brains blog and for inviting me to guest blog this week about my new book The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, Evidence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). Perception is our key to the world. It plays at least three different roles in …

Evolving Enactivism: Neurodynamics sans content

In a direct challenge to radical, anti-representational proposals about how to conceive of cognition, Aizawa (2015) asks “If the brain does not contribute information processing or symbol manipulation or the transformation of representations … then what does it do?” (2015, 761–762). Given that REC embraces precisely such radicalisms, what alternative …

Representing Plants?

Reading my two previous posts, you might complain that perceiving and remembering require concepts, ideas, or even thoughts, which are basically representations, and plants don’t have those, so they don’t perceive or remember. For the same reason, you might add, they don’t have minds. Do plants have representations? Phototropism can …

Perception: Representational Properties and Phenomenological Properties

Consider the visual experience of a normally functioning subject who consciously sees a red ball in front of her in daylight. This experience has representational properties, it is of or about something, e.g. the red ball, and it has phenomenological properties, e.g. there is something it is like to see …

CFP Special Issue of Minds and Machines on Computation and Representation in Cognitive Neuroscience

GUEST EDITOR Gualtiero Piccinini, University of Missouri – St. Louis INTRODUCTION Cognitive neuroscientists routinely explain cognition in terms of neural computations over neural representations. Yet some critics argue that cognitive neuroscience does not need the notions of neural computation and representations or, worse, that these notions are untenable. Whether or …

Explaining Representation in New Ideas in Psychology

A special issue of New Ideas in Psychology on Explaining Representation, edited by Marcin Miłkowski and Konrad Talmont-Kaminski is just out, with contributions by Bill Ramsey, Paweł Gładziejewski, Rob Clowes and Dina Mendonça, Wayne Christensen and John Michael, Witold Hensel, Krystyna Bielecka, Paweł Grabarczyk and myself. Some of the contributions are based on talks …

#MindsOnline2015 Session 4: Philosophy of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science

The fourth and final session of the Minds Online conference has begun! It is focused on the Philosophy of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and includes the following papers: Karen Neander (Duke) “Why I’m Not A Content Pragmatist” (Keynote) Marcelo Fischborn (Federal University of Santa Maria): “Libet-Style Experiments, Neuroscience, and Libertarian Free Will” …

#MindsOnline2015, Session 2: Perception and Consciousness

The second session of the 2015 Minds Online conference has begun! It is on the theme of Perception and Consciousness, and includes the following papers: Nico Orlandi (UC Santa Cruz): Bayesian Perception Is Ecological Perception (KEYNOTE) Derek H. Brown (Brandon University): “Colour Layering and Colour Relationalism” Commentators: Mazviita Chirimuuta and Jonathan Cohen Jonathan Farrell (Manchester): “‘What …