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Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

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Investigating the Constitution of the Shared World

Recent accounts of cognition attempt to overcome the limitations of traditional cognitive science by reconceiving cognition as enactive and the cognizer as an embodied being who is embedded in biological, psychological, and cultural contexts. Cultural forms of sense-making constitute the shared world, which in turn is the origin and place of cognition. This volume is the first interdisciplinary collection on the cultural context of embodiment, offering perspectives that range from the neurophilosophical to the anthropological.

Language and Evolution

“A loosely connected collection of four essays that will fascinate anyone interested in the extraordinary phenomenon of language.”
New York Review of Books

Rationalists about the psychology of moral judgment argue that moral cognition has a rational foundation. Recent challenges to this account, based on findings in the empirical psychology of moral judgment, contend that moral thinking has no rational basis. In this book, Hanno Sauer argues that moral reasoning does play a role in moral judgment—but not, as is commonly supposed, because conscious reasoning produces moral judgments directly. Moral reasoning figures in the acquisition, formation, maintenance, and reflective correction of moral intuitions.

Flexible Social Cognition and Dehumanization

In Invisible Minds, Lasana Harris takes a social neuroscience approach to explaining the worst of human behavior. How can a person take part in racially motivated violence and then tenderly cradle a baby or lovingly pet a puppy? Harris argues that our social cognition—the ability to infer the mental states of another agent—is flexible. That is, we can either engage or withhold social cognition. If we withhold social cognition, we dehumanize the other person.

Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist

What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. This engaging book—part scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation—describes Koch's search for an empirical explanation for consciousness.

Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential

On the eve of Google’s IPO in 2004, Larry Page and Sergey Brin vowed not to be evil. Today, a growing number of technologists would go further, trying to ensure that their work actively improves people’s lives. Technology, so pervasive and ubiquitous, has the capacity to increase stress and suffering; but it also has the less-heralded potential to improve the well-being of individuals, society, and the planet.

Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces

In The Geometry of Meaning, Peter Gärdenfors proposes a theory of semantics that bridges cognitive science and linguistics and shows how theories of cognitive processes, in particular concept formation, can be exploited in a general semantic model. He argues that our minds organize the information involved in communicative acts in a format that can be modeled in geometric or topological terms—in what he terms conceptual spaces, extending the theory he presented in an earlier book by that name.

With Storytelling and the Sciences of Mind, David Herman proposes a cross-fertilization between the study of narrative and research on intelligent behavior. This cross-fertilization goes beyond the simple importing of ideas from the sciences of mind into scholarship on narrative and instead aims for convergence between work in narrative studies and research in the cognitive sciences. The book as a whole centers on two questions: How do people make sense of stories? And: How do people use stories to make sense of the world?

Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind

In The Feeling Body, Giovanna Colombetti takes ideas from the enactive approach developed over the last twenty years in cognitive science and philosophy of mind and applies them for the first time to affective science—the study of emotions, moods, and feelings. She argues that enactivism entails a view of cognition as not just embodied but also intrinsically affective, and she elaborates on the implications of this claim for the study of emotion in psychology and neuroscience.

The Growth of Grammar

How do children begin to use language? How does knowledge of language emerge in early infancy, and how does it grow? This textbook offers a comprehensive introduction to knowledge acquisition, drawing on empirical evidence and linguistic theory. The theoretical framework used is the generative theory of Universal Grammar; students should have some familiarity with concepts in linguistic research. Aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, the book offers end-of-chapter summaries, key words, study questions, and exercises.

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