Jeffrey Elman

  • Exercises in Rethinking Innateness

    Exercises in Rethinking Innateness

    A Handbook for Connectionist Simulations

    Kim Plunkett and Jeffrey Elman

    This book is the companion volume to Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development (The MIT Press, 1996), which proposed a new theoretical framework to answer the question "What does it mean to say that a behavior is innate?" The new work provides concrete illustrations—in the form of computer simulations—of properties of connectionist models that are particularly relevant to cognitive development. This enables the reader to pursue in depth some of the practical and empirical issues raised in the first book. The authors' larger goal is to demonstrate the usefulness of neural network modeling as a research methodology.

    The book comes with a complete software package, including demonstration projects, for running neural network simulations on both Macintosh and Windows 95. It also contains a series of exercises in the use of the neural network simulator provided with the book. The software is also available to run on a variety of UNIX platforms.

  • Rethinking Innateness

    Rethinking Innateness

    A Connectionist Perspective on Development

    Elizabeth Bates, Jeffrey Elman, Mark H. Johnson, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Domenico Parisi, and Kim Plunkett

    Rethinking Innateness asks the question, "What does it really mean to say that a behavior is innate?" The authors describe a new framework in which interactions, occurring at all levels, give rise to emergent forms and behaviors. These outcomes often may be highly constrained and universal, yet are not themselves directly contained in the genes in any domain-specific way.

    One of the key contributions of Rethinking Innateness is a taxonomy of ways in which a behavior can be innate. These include constraints at the level of representation, architecture, and timing; typically, behaviors arise through the interaction of constraints at several of these levels.The ideas are explored through dynamic models inspired by a new kind of "developmental connectionism," a marriage of connectionist models and developmental neurobiology, forming a new theoretical framework for the study of behavioral development. While relying heavily on the conceptual and computational tools provided by connectionism, Rethinking Innateness also identifies ways in which these tools need to be enriched by closer attention to biology.

    • Hardcover $80.00 £59.95
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00


  • The Architecture of Cognition

    The Architecture of Cognition

    Rethinking Fodor and Pylyshyn's Systematicity Challenge

    Paco Calvo and John Symons

    Philosophers and cognitive scientists reassess systematicity in the post-connectionist era, offering perspectives from ecological psychology, embodied and distributed cognition, enactivism, and other methodologies.

    In 1988, Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn challenged connectionist theorists to explain the systematicity of cognition. In a highly influential critical analysis of connectionism, they argued that connectionist explanations, at best, can only inform us about details of the neural substrate; explanations at the cognitive level must be classical insofar as adult human cognition is essentially systematic. More than twenty-five years later, however, conflicting explanations of cognition do not divide along classicist-connectionist lines, but oppose cognitivism (both classicist and connectionist) with a range of other methodologies, including distributed and embodied cognition, ecological psychology, enactivism, adaptive behavior, and biologically based neural network theory. This volume reassesses Fodor and Pylyshyn's “systematicity challenge” for a post-connectionist era.

    The contributors consider such questions as how post-connectionist approaches meet Fodor and Pylyshyn's conceptual challenges; whether there is empirical evidence for or against the systematicity of thought; and how the systematicity of human thought relates to behavior. The chapters offer a representative sample and an overview of the most important recent developments in the systematicity debate.

    Contributors Ken Aizawa, William Bechtel, Gideon Borensztajn, Paco Calvo, Anthony Chemero, Jonathan D. Cohen, Alicia Coram, Jeffrey L. Elman, Stefan L. Frank, Antoni Gomila, Seth A. Herd, Trent Kriete, Christian J. Lebiere, Lorena Lobo, Edouard Machery, Gary Marcus, Emma Martín, Fernando Martínez-Manrique, Brian P. McLaughlin, Randall C. O'Reilly, Alex A. Petrov, Steven Phillips, William Ramsey, Michael Silberstein, John Symons, David Travieso, William H. Wilson, Willem Zuidema

  • Semantic Information Processing

    Semantic Information Processing

    Marvin Minsky

    This book collects a group of experiments directed toward making intelligent machines. Each of the programs described here demonstrates some aspect of behavior that anyone would agree require some intelligence, and each program solves its own kinds of problems. These include resolving ambiguities in word meanings, finding analogies between things, making logical and nonlogical inferences, resolving inconsistencies in information, engaging in coherent discourse with a person, and building internal models for representation of newly acquired information. Each of the programs has serious limitations, but the chapter authors provide clear perspectives for viewing both the achievements and limitations of their programs. But what is much more important than what these particular programs achieve are the methods they use to achieve what they do.

    • Hardcover $59.95
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00