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Andy Clark

Andy Clark is Reader in Philosophy of Cognitive Sciences in the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences at the University of Sussex, in England. He's the author of Microcognition: Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Parallel Distributed Processing.

Titles by This Author

Connectionism, Concepts, and Representational Change

Connectionist approaches, Andy Clark argues, are driving cognitive science toward a radical reconception of its explanatory endeavor. At the heart of this reconception lies a shift toward a new and more deeply developmental vision of the mind - a vision that has important implications for the philosophical and psychological understanding of the nature of concepts, of mental causation, and of representational change.

Combining philosophical argument, empirical results, and interdisciplinary speculations, Clark charts a fundamental shift from a static, inner-code-oriented conception of the subject matter of cognitive science to a more dynamic, developmentally rich, process-oriented view. Clark argues that this shift makes itself felt in two main ways. First, structured representations are seen as the products of temporally extended cognitive activity and not as the representational bedrock (an innate symbol system or language of thought) upon which all learning is based. Second, the relation between thoughts (as described by folk psychology) and inner computational states is loosened as a result of the fragmented and distributed nature of the connectionist representation of concepts.

Other issues Clark raises include the nature of innate knowledge, the conceptual commitments of folk psychology, and the use and abuse of higher-level analyses of connectionist networks.

Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again


Brain, body, and world are united in a complex dance of circular causation and extended computational activity. In Being There, Andy Clark weaves these several threads into a pleasing whole and goes on to address foundational questions concerning the new tools and techniques needed to make sense of the emerging sciences of the embodied mind. Clark brings together ideas and techniques from robotics, neuroscience, infant psychology, and artificial intelligence. He addresses a broad range of adaptive behaviors, from cockroach locomotion to the role of linguistic artifacts in higher-level thought.


Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Parallel Distributed Processing

Parallel Distributed Processing is transforming the field of cognitive science. Microcognition provides a clear, readable guide to this emerging paradigm from a cognitive philosopher's point of view. It explains and explores the biological basis of PDP, its psychological importance, and its philosophical relevance.

Starting with a survey of the assumptions and methodology of classical AI, Microcognition proceeds to a full treatment of the PDP alternative. It describes the main properties of PDP architectures with numerous examples, and it explores the tangled question of their relationship with classical work, the theoretical significance of mixed PDP and classical models, and various criticisms of the models. Biological and evolutionary perspectives are also included. Of particular philosophical interest is the author's treatment of the relation between these computational models and ordinary talk of beliefs and desires, or folk-psychology.

Microcognition is included in the series Explorations in Cognitive Science, edited by Margaret Boden. A Bradford Book.

Titles by This Editor

Essays on Ethics and Cognitive Science

The essays in this anthology deal with the growing interconnections between moral philosophy and research that draws upon neuroscience, developmental psychology, and evolutionary biology. This cross- disciplinary interchange coincides, not accidentally, with the renewed interest in ethical naturalism.

In order to understand the nature and limits of moral reasoning, many new ethical naturalists look to cognitive science for an account of how people actually reason. At the same time, many cognitive scientists have become increasingly interested in moral reasoning as a complex form of human cognition that challenges their theoretical models. The result of this collaborative, and often critical, interchange is an exciting intellectual ferment at the frontiers of research into human mentality.

Sections and Contributors:

Ethics Naturalized
Owen Flanagan, Mark L. Johnson, Virginia Held

Moral Judgments, Representations, and Prototypes
Paul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Peggy DesAutels, Ruth Garrett Millikan

Moral Emotions
Robert M. Gordon, Alvin I. Goldman, John Deigh, Naomi Scheman

Agency and Responsibility
James P. Sterba, Susan Khin-Zaw, Helen E. Longino, Michael E. Bratman

A Bradford Book