Proposals to make us smarter than the greatest geniuses or to add thousands of years to our life spans seem fit only for the spam folder or trash can. And yet this is what contemporary advocates of radical enhancement offer in all seriousness. They present a variety of technologies and therapies that will expand our capacities far beyond what is currently possible for human beings. In Humanity’s End, Nicholas Agar argues against radical enhancement, describing its destructive consequences.
In The Self-Organizing Social Mind, John Bolender proposes a new explanation for the forms of social relations. He argues that the core of social-relational cognition exhibits beauty—in the physicist’s sense of the word, associated with symmetry. Bolender describes a fundamental set of patterns in interpersonal cognition, which account for the resulting structures of social life in terms of their symmetries and the breaking of those symmetries.
There are two main questions in epistemology: What is knowledge? And: Do we have any of it? The first question asks after the nature of a concept; the second involves grappling with the skeptic, who believes that no one knows anything. This collection of original essays addresses the themes of knowledge and skepticism, offering both contemporary epistemological analysis and historical perspectives from leading philosophers and rising scholars.
In Cognitive Pragmatics, Bruno Bara offers a theory of human communication that is both formalized through logic and empirically validated through experimental data and clinical studies. Bara argues that communication is a cooperative activity in which two or more agents together consciously and intentionally construct the meaning of their interaction. In true communication (which Bara distinguishes from the mere transmission of information), all the actors must share a set of mental states.
The concepts of time and identity seem at once unproblematic and frustratingly difficult. Time is an intricate part of our experience—it would seem that the passage of time is a prerequisite for having any experience at all—and yet recalcitrant questions about time remain. Is time real? Does time flow? Do past and future moments exist? Philosophers face similarly stubborn questions about identity, particularly about the persistence of identical entities through change.
This is the first book to explore the cognitive science of effortless attention and action. Attention and action are generally understood to require effort, and the expectation is that under normal circumstances effort increases to meet rising demand. Sometimes, however, attention and action seem to flow effortlessly despite high demand. Effortless attention and action have been documented across a range of normal activities—ranging from rock climbing to chess playing—and yet fundamental questions about the cognitive science of effortlessness have gone largely unasked.
Philosophers and scientists have long speculated about the nature of color. Atomists such as Democritus thought color to be "conventional," not real; Galileo and other key figures of the Scientific Revolution thought that it was an erroneous projection of our own sensations onto external objects. More recently, philosophers have enriched the debate about color by aligning the most advanced color science with the most sophisticated methods of analytical philosophy.
Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? In their famous 1998 paper "The Extended Mind," philosophers Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers posed this question and answered it provocatively: cognitive processes "ain't all in the head." The environment has an active role in driving cognition; cognition is sometimes made up of neural, bodily, and environmental processes. Their argument excited a vigorous debate among philosophers, both supporters and detractors. This volume brings together for the first time the best responses to Clark and Chalmers's bold proposal.
The field of neuroimaging has reached a watershed. Brain imaging research has been the source of many advances in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive science over the last decade, but recent critiques and emerging trends are raising foundational issues of methodology, measurement, and theory. Indeed, concerns over interpretation of brain maps have created serious controversies in social neuroscience, and, more important, point to a larger set of issues that lie at the heart of the entire brain mapping enterprise.
These essays on a range of topics in the cognitive neurosciences report on the progress in the field over the twenty years of its existence and reflect the many groundbreaking scientific contributions and enduring influence of Michael Gazzaniga, "the godfather of cognitive neuroscience"—founder of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, founding editor of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, and editor of the major reference work, The Cognitive Neurosciences, now in its fourth edition (MIT Press, 2009).
The contemporary discipline of biolinguistics is beginning to have the feel of scientific inquiry. Biolinguistics--especially the work of Noam Chomsky--suggests that the design of language may be “perfect”: language is an optimal solution to conditions of sound and meaning. What is the scope of this inquiry? Which aspect of nature does this science investigate? What is its relation to the rest of science? What notions of language and mind are under investigation? This book is a study of such foundational questions.
The image of the addict in popular culture combines victimhood and moral failure; we sympathize with addicts in films and novels because of their suffering and their hard-won knowledge. And yet actual scientific knowledge about addiction tends to undermine this cultural construct. In What Is Addiction?, leading addiction researchers from neuroscience, psychology, genetics, philosophy, economics, and other fields survey the latest findings in addiction science.
Intention was seen traditionally as a philosophical concept, before being debated more recently from psychological and social perspectives. Today the cognitive sciences approach intention empirically, at the level of its underlying mechanisms. This naturalization of intention makes it more concrete and graspable by empirical sciences. This volume offers an interdisciplinary integration of current research on intentional processes naturalized through action, drawing on the theoretical and empirical approaches of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and sociology.
The last decade has seen computational implementations of large hand-crafted natural language grammars in formal frameworks such as Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG), Combinatory Categorical Grammar (CCG), Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), and Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). Grammars in these frameworks typically associate linguistically motivated rich descriptions (Supertags) with words.
In this largely antimetaphysical treatment of free will and determinism, Mark Balaguer argues that the philosophical problem of free will boils down to an open scientific question about the causal histories of certain kinds of neural events. In the course of his argument, Balaguer provides a naturalistic defense of the libertarian view of free will.
In Mental Reality, Galen Strawson argues that much contemporary philosophy of mind gives undue primacy of place to publicly observable phenomena, nonmental phenomena, and behavioral phenomena (understood as publicly observable phenomena) in its account of the nature of mind. It does so at the expense of the phenomena of conscious experience. Strawson describes an alternative position, "naturalized Cartesianism," which couples the materialist view that mind is entirely natural and wholly physical with a fully realist account of the nature of conscious experience.
Each edition of this classic reference has proved to be a benchmark in the developing field of cognitive neuroscience. The fourth edition of The Cognitive Neurosciences continues to chart new directions in the study of the biologic underpinnings of complex cognition—the relationship between the structural and physiological mechanisms of the nervous system and the psychological reality of the mind. The material in this edition is entirely new, with all chapters written specifically for it.
In making decisions, when should we go with our gut and when should we try to analyze every option? When should we use our intuition and when should we rely on logic and statistics? Most of us would probably agree that for important decisions, we should follow certain guidelines—gather as much information as possible, compare the options, pin down the goals before getting started. But in practice we make some of our best decisions by adapting to circumstances rather than blindly following procedures.
While philosophers of mind have been arguing over the status of mental representations in cognitive science, cognitive scientists have been quietly engaged in studying perception, action, and cognition without explaining them in terms of mental representation. In this book, Anthony Chemero describes this nonrepresentational approach (which he terms radical embodied cognitive science), puts it in historical and conceptual context, and applies it to traditional problems in the philosophy of mind.
In Cognition and Perception, Athanassios Raftopoulos discusses the cognitive penetrability of perception and claims that there is a part of visual processes (which he calls “perception”) that results in representational states with nonconceptual content; that is, a part that retrieves information from visual scenes in conceptually unmediated, “bottom-up,” theory-neutral ways.
Emotional intelligence (or EI)--the ability to perceive, regulate, and communicate emotions, to understand emotions in ourselves and others--has been the subject of best-selling books, magazine cover stories, and countless media mentions. It has been touted as a solution for problems ranging from relationship issues to the inadequacies of local schools. But the media hype has far outpaced the scientific research on emotional intelligence.
The predicative mind singles out and represents an item in order to attribute to it a property, a relation, an action, an evaluation; it thinks, and says, of a house that it is big, of a car that it is to the left of the house, of a cat that it is about to jump, of a hypothesis that it is plausible. The capacity to predicate appears to be neither innate nor learned, yet it is universal among humans. Puzzling in evolutionary, developmental, and philosophical terms, the mental competence for predication still awaits a coherent and plausible explanation.
Many philosophical naturalists eschew analysis in favor of discovering metaphysical truths from the a posteriori, contending that analysis does not lead to philosophical insight. A countercurrent to this approach seeks to reconcile a certain account of conceptual analysis with philosophical naturalism; prominent and influential proponents of this methodology include the late David Lewis, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, Philip Pettit, and David Armstrong.
Mental processes are the essence of creative endeavor. The Creative Cognition Approach extends this particular view of creativity, first proposed and developed by the editors in their earlier book Creative Cognition, to the programs and theoretical views of some of the most prominent researchers in the areas of problem solving, concept formation, and thinking.
Agency is a central psychological phenomenon that must be accounted for in any explanatory framework for human action. According to the diverse group of scholars, researchers, and clinicians who have contributed chapters to this book, psychological agency is not a fixed entity that conforms to traditional definitions of free will but an affective, embodied, and relational processing of human experience. Agency is dependent on the biological, social, and cultural contexts that inform and shape who we are.