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.
In Theory and Evidence Barbara Koslowski brings into sharp focus the ways in which the standard literature both distorts and underestimates the reasoning abilities of ordinary people. She provides the basis for a new research program on a more complete characterization of scientific reasoning, problem solving, and causality.
Learning to perform complex action strategies is an important problem in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning. Filled with interesting new experimental results, Learning in Embedded Systems explores algorithms that learn efficiently from trial-and error experience with an external world.
One of the central problems in the philosophy of psychology is an updated version of the old mind-body problem: how levels of theories in the behavioral and brain sciences relate to one another. Many contemporary philosophers of mind believe that cognitive-psychological theories are not reducible to neurological theories. However, this antireductionism has not spawned a revival of dualism. Instead, most nonreductive physicalists prefer the idea of a one-way dependence of the mental on the physical.
How do novel scientific concepts arise? In Creating Scientific Concepts, Nancy Nersessian seeks to answer this central but virtually unasked question in the problem of conceptual change. She argues that the popular image of novel concepts and profound insight bursting forth in a blinding flash of inspiration is mistaken.
Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction.
The now-popular idea that emotions have an intelligent core (and the reverse, that intelligence has an emotional core) comes from the neurosciences and psychology. Similarly, the fundamental sexualization of the brain—the new interest in "essential differences" in male and female brains and behaviors—is based on neuroscience research and neuroimages of emotions.
Many students find it difficult to learn the kind of knowledge and thinking required by college or high school courses in mathematics, science, or other complex domains. Thus they often emerge with significant misconceptions, fragmented knowledge, and inadequate problem-solving skills. Most instructors or textbook authors approach their teaching efforts with a good knowledge of their field of expertise but little awareness of the underlying thought processes and kinds of knowledge required for learning in scientific domains.
In Human Reasoning and Cognitive Science, Keith Stenning and Michiel van Lambalgen--a cognitive scientist and a logician--argue for the indispensability of modern mathematical logic to the study of human reasoning. Logic and cognition were once closely connected, they write, but were “divorced” in the past century; the psychology of deduction went from being central to the cognitive revolution to being the subject of widespread skepticism about whether human reasoning really happens outside the academy.
Evolutionary psychology occupies an important place in the drive to understand and explain human behavior. Darwinian ideas provide powerful tools to illuminate how fundamental aspects of the way humans think, feel, and interact derive from reproductive interests and an ultimate need for survival. In this updated and expanded edition of Evolution and Human Behavior, John Cartwright considers the emergence of Homo sapiens as a species and looks at contemporary issues, such as familial relationships and conflict and cooperation, in light of key theoretical principles.
In The Allure of Machinic Life, John Johnston examines new forms of nascent life that emerge through technical interactions within human-constructed environments—"machinic life"—in the sciences of cybernetics, artificial life, and artificial intelligence. With the development of such research initiatives as the evolution of digital organisms, computer immune systems, artificial protocells, evolutionary robotics, and swarm systems, Johnston argues, machinic life has achieved a complexity and autonomy worthy of study in its own right.
This critical history of research on acquired language deficits (aphasias) demonstrates the usefulness of linguistic analysis of aphasic syndrome for neuropsychology, linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Drawing on new empirical studies, Grodzinsky concludes that the use of grammatical tools for the description of the aphasias is critical. The selective nature of these deficits offers a novel view into the inner workings of our language faculty and the mechanisms that support it.
How does the visual system compute the global motion of an object from local views of its contours? Although this important problem in computational vision (also called the aperture problem) is key to understanding how biological systems work, there has been surprisingly little neurobiologically plausible work done on it. This book describes a neurally based model, implemented as a connectionist network, of how the aperture problem is solved.
Computational neuroscientists have recently turned to modeling olfactory structures because these are likely to have the same functional properties as currently popular network designs for perception and memory. This book provides a useful survey of current work on olfactory system circuitry, including connections of this system to brain structures involved in cognition and memory, and describes the computational models of olfactory processing that have been developed to date.
Recent research on the syntax of signed languages has revealed that, apart from some modality-specific differences, signed languages are organized according to the same underlying principles as spoken languages. This book addresses the organization and distribution of functional categories in American Sign Language (ASL), focusing on tense, agreement, and wh-constructions.
Building a person has been an elusive goal in artificial intelligence. This failure, John Pollock argues, is because the problems involved are essentially philosophical; what is needed for the construction of a person is a physical system that mimics human rationality. Pollock describes an exciting theory of rationality and its partial implementation in OSCAR, a computer system whose descendants will literally be persons.
Many philosophers and cognitive scientists dismiss the notion of qualia, sensory experiences that are internal to the brain. Leading opponents of qualia (and of Indirect Realism, the philosophical position that has qualia as a central tenet) include Michael Tye, Daniel Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and even Frank Jackson, a former supporter.
John Staddon has devoted his long and distinguished career to the study of the adaptive function and mechanisms of learning. He did his graduate work at the famous Skinner Lab at Harvard in the early 1960s (supervised by Richard Herrnstein, who did his doctoral work with B. F. Skinner), but his work can be characterized as theoretical behaviorism. Staddon, now at Duke University, believes that experimental analysis is never enough to make sense of behavior and that “theoretical imagination” is also required.
Emergence, largely ignored just thirty years ago, has become one of the liveliest areas of research in both philosophy and science. Fueled by advances in complexity theory, artificial life, physics, psychology, sociology, and biology and by the parallel development of new conceptual tools in philosophy, the idea of emergence offers a way to understand a wide variety of complex phenomena in ways that are intriguingly different from more traditional approaches.
In order to solve problems, humans are able to synthesize apparently unrelated concepts, take advantage of serendipitous opportunities, hypothesize, invent, and engage in other similarly abstract and creative activities, primarily through the use of their visual systems. In Scenario Visualization, Robert Arp offers an evolutionary account of the unique human ability to solve nonroutine vision-related problems.
The explanatory power of economic theory is tested by the phenomenon of irrational consumption, examples of which include such addictive behaviors as disordered and pathological gambling. Midbrain Mutiny examines different economic models of disordered gambling, using the frameworks of neuroeconomics (which analyzes decision making in the brain) and picoeconomics (which analyzes patterns of consumption behavior), and drawing on empirical evidence about behavior and the brain.
The "hard problem" of today's consciousness studies is subjective experience: understanding why some brain processing is accompanied by an experienced inner life. Recent scientific advances offer insights for understanding the physiological and chemical phenomenology of consciousness. But by leaving aside the internal experiential nature of consciousness in favor of mapping neural activity, such science leaves many questions unanswered.
Surveys show that our growing concern over protecting the environment is accompanied by a diminishing sense of human contact with nature. Many people have little commonsense knowledge about nature—are unable, for example, to identify local plants and trees or describe how these plants and animals interact. Researchers report dwindling knowledge of nature even in smaller, nonindustrialized societies. In The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature, Scott Atran and Douglas Medin trace the cognitive consequences of this loss of knowledge.