•  695
    Information for perception and information processing
    Minds and Machines 13 (4): 577-588. 2003.
    Do psychologists and computer/cognitive scientists mean the same thing by the term `information'? In this essay, I answer this question by comparing information as understood by Gibsonian, ecological psychologists with information as understood in Barwise and Perry's situation semantics. I argue that, with suitable massaging, these views of information can be brought into line. I end by discussing some issues in (the philosophy of) cognitive science and artificial intelligence
  •  675
    Explanatory pluralism in cognitive science
    with Rick Dale and Eric Dietrich
    Cognitive Science 33 (2): 739-742. 2009.
    This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled by thes…Read more
  •  660
    We provide a taxonomy of the two most important debates in the philosophy of the cognitive and neural sciences. The first debate is over methodological individualism: is the object of the cognitive and neural sciences the brain, the whole animal, or the animal--environment system? The second is over explanatory style: should explanation in cognitive and neural science be reductionist-mechanistic, inter-level mechanistic, or dynamical? After setting out the debates, we discuss the ways in which t…Read more
  •  442
    Philosophy for the Rest of Cognitive Science
    with Nigel Stepp and Michael T. Turvey
    Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2): 425-437. 2011.
    Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel’s (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation …Read more
  •  388
    Asking What’s Inside the Head: Neurophilosophy Meets the Extended Mind (review)
    Minds and Machines 17 (3): 345-351. 2007.
    In their historical overview of cognitive science, Bechtel, Abraham- son and Graham (1999) describe the field as expanding in focus be- ginning in the mid-1980s. The field had spent the previous 25 years on internalist, high-level GOFAI (“good old fashioned artificial intelli- gence” [Haugeland 1985]), and was finally moving “outwards into the environment and downards into the brain” (Bechtel et al, 1999, p.75). One important force behind the downward movement was Patricia Churchland’s Neurophilosop…Read more
  •  318
    Complexity and Extended Phenomenological‐Cognitive Systems
    Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1): 35-50. 2012.
    The complex systems approach to cognitive science invites a new understanding of extended cognitive systems. According to this understanding, extended cognitive systems are heterogenous, composed of brain, body, and niche, non-linearly coupled to one another. This view of cognitive systems, as non-linearly coupled brain–body–niche systems, promises conceptual and methodological advances. In this article we focus on two of these. First, the fundamental interdependence among brain, body, and niche…Read more
  •  288
    An outline of a theory of affordances
    Ecological Psychology 15 (2): 181-195. 2003.
    The primary difference between direct and inferential theories of perception concerns the location of perceptual content, the meaning of our perceptions. In inferential theories of perception, these meanings arise inside animals, based upon their interactions with the physical environment. Light, for example, bumps into receptors causing a sensation. The animal (or its brain) performs inferences on the sensation, yielding a meaningful perception. In direct theories of perception, on the other ha…Read more
  •  282
    Anti-representationalism and the dynamical stance
    Philosophy of Science 67 (4): 625-647. 2000.
    Arguments in favor of anti-representationalism in cognitive science often suffer from a lack of attention to detail. The purpose of this paper is to fill in the gaps in these arguments, and in so doing show that at least one form of anti- representationalism is potentially viable. After giving a teleological definition of representation and applying it to a few models that have inspired anti- representationalist claims, I argue that anti-representationalism must be divided into two distinct thes…Read more
  •  264
    In this talk, we defend extended cognition against several criticisms. We argue that extended cognition does not derive from armchair theorizing and that it neither ignores the results of the neural sciences, nor minimizes the importance of the brain in the production of intelligent behavior. We also argue that explanatory success in the cognitive sciences does not depend on localist or reductionist methodologies; part of our argument for this is a defense of what might be called ‘holistic scien…Read more
  •  255
    To accept that cognition is embodied is to question many of the beliefs traditionally held by cognitive scientists. One key question regards the localization of cognitive faculties. Here we argue that for cognition to be embodied and sometimes embedded, means that the cognitive faculty cannot be localized in a brain area alone. We review recent research on neural reuse, the 1/f structure of human activity, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination dynamics that we believe demonstrates h…Read more
  •  234
    The ideas of continental philosopher Martin Heidegger have been influential in cognitive science and artificial intelligence, despite the fact that there has been no effort to analyze these ideas empirically. The experiments reported here are designed to lend empirical support to Heidegger’s phenomenology and more specifically his description of the transition between ready-to-hand and unready-to-hand modes in interactions with tools. In experiment 1, we found that a smoothly coping cognitive sy…Read more
  •  232
    In her essay --?Information, Perception and Action--, Claire Michaels reaches two conclusions that run very much against the grain of ecological psychology. First, she claims that affordances are not perceived, but simply acted upon; second, because of this, perception and action ought to be conceived separately. These conclusions are based upon a misinterpretation of empirical evidence which is, in turn, based upon a conflation of two proper objects of perception: objectively with properties an…Read more
  •  230
    Since the 1970s, Michael Turvey, Robert Shaw, and William Mace have worked on the formulation of a philosophically-sound and empirically-tractable version of James Gibson
  •  216
    Is life computable?
    with Michael T. Turvey
    This paper has two primary aims. The first is to provide an introductory discussion of hyperset theory and its usefulness for modeling complex systems. The second aim is to provide a hyperset analysis of Robert Rosen’s metabolism-repair systems and his claim that living things are closed to efficient cause. Consequences of the hyperset models for Rosen’s claims concerning computability and life are discussed.
  •  127
    Gibsonian affordances for roboticists
    with Michael T. Turvey
    Using hypersets as an analytic tool, we compare traditionally Gibsonian (Chemero 2003; Turvey 1992) and representationalist (Sahin et al. this issue) understandings of the notion ‘affordance’. We show that representationalist understandings are incompatible with direct perception and erect barriers between animal and environment. They are, therefore, scarcely recognizable as understandings of ‘affordance’. In contrast, Gibsonian understandings are shown to treat animal-environment systems as uni…Read more
  •  127
    Dynamical explanation and mental representations
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (4): 141-142. 2001.
    Markman and Dietrich1 recently recommended extending our understanding of representation to incorporate insights from some “alternative” theories of cognition: perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems. In particular, they suggest that allowances be made for new types of representation which had been previously under-emphasized in cognitive science. The amendments they recommend are based upon the assumption that the alternative positions each agree wi…Read more
  •  109
    Situated, embodied cognitive science is all the rage these days. Some (including the present author) have argued that situated, embodied cognitive science is incompatible with realism (metaphysical and scientific). In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake: there is no reason one cannot be both a proponent of situated, embodied cognitive science and a realist. To show this, I point to flaws in two previous arguments against realism. I also recommend a slightly modified version of Hacking’s e…Read more
  •  96
    Summary. The “New Computationalism” that is the subject of this special issue requires an appropriate notion of representation. The purpose of this essay is to recommend such a notion. In cognitive science generally, there have been two primary candidates for spelling out what it is to be a representation: teleological accounts and accounts based on “decoupling.” I argue that the latter sort of account has two serious problems. First, it is multiply ambiguous; second, it is revisionist and alien…Read more
  •  96
    This paper has two main purposes. First, it will provide an introductory discussion of hyperset theory, and show that it is useful for modeling complex systems. Second, it will use hyperset theory to analyze Robert Rosen’s metabolismrepair systems and his claim that living things are closed to efficient cause. It will also briefly compare closure to efficient cause to two other understandings of autonomy, operational closure and catalytic closure.
  •  88
    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, puts it in historical and conceptual context, and applies it to traditional problems in the philosophy of mind. Radical embodied cognitive science is a direct desce…Read more
  •  82
    This article is about a sidebar in James Gibson's last book, The ecological approach to visual perception. In this sidebar, Gibson, the founder of the ecological perspective of perception and action, argued that to perceive an affordance is not to classify an object. Although this sidebar has received scant attention, it is of great significance both historically and for recent discussions about specificity, direct perception, and the functions of the dorsal and ventral streams. It is argued tha…Read more
  •  79
    Several articles have recently appeared arguing that there really are no viable alternatives to mechanistic explanation in the biological sciences (Kaplan and Bechtel; Kaplan and Craver). We argue that mechanistic explanation is defined by localization and decomposition. We argue further that systems neuroscience contains explanations that violate both localization and decomposition. We conclude that the mechanistic model of explanation needs to either stretch to now include explanations wherein…Read more
  •  79
    Object Exploration and a Problem with Reductionism
    with Charles Heyser
    Synthese 147 (3): 403-423. 2005.
    The purpose of this paper is to use neuroscientific evidence to address the philosophical issue of intertheoretic reduction. In particular, we present a literature review and a new experiment to show that the reduction of cognitive psychology to neuroscience is implausible. To make this case, we look at research using object exploration, an important experimental paradigm in neuroscience, behavioral genetics and psychopharmacology. We show that a good deal of object exploration research is poten…Read more
  •  71
    What would it take for an artificial agent to be treated as having moral value? As a first step toward answering this question, we ask what it would take for an artificial agent to be capable of the sort of autonomous, adaptive social behavior that is characteristic of the animals that humans interact with. We propose that this sort of capacity is best measured by what we call the Embodied Turing Test. The Embodied Turing test is a test in which intelligence is operationally defined in terms of …Read more
  •  70
    Complexity, Hypersets, and the Ecological Perspective on Perception-Action
    with M. T. Turvey
    Biological Theory 2 (1): 23-36. 2007.
    The ecological approach to perception-action is unlike the standard approach in several respects. It takes the animal-in-its-environment as the proper scale for the theory and analysis of perception-action, it eschews symbol based accounts of perception-action, it promotes self-organization as the theory-constitutive metaphor for perception-action, and it employs self-referring, non-predicative definitions in explaining perception-action. The present article details the complexity issues confron…Read more
  •  66
    Dynamical, ecological sub-persons
    with William Cordeiro
    Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA 17604-3003 USA<sub></sub>
  •  65
    Affordances and Intentionality: Reply to Roberts
    with Michael L. Anderson
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 30 (4): 301. 2009.
    In this essay we respond to some criticisms of the guidance theory of representation offered by Tom Roberts. We argue that although Roberts’ criticisms miss their mark, he raises the important issue of the relationship between affordances and the action-oriented representations proposed by the guidance theory. Affordances play a prominent role in the anti-representationalist accounts offered by theorists of embodied cognition and ecological psychology, and the guidance theory is motivated in par…Read more
  •  57
    In this paper, we address the question of how an agent can guide its behavior with respect to aspects of the sociomaterial environment that are not sensorily present. A simple example is how an animal can relate to a food source while only sensing a pheromone, or how an agent can relate to beer, while only the refrigerator is directly sensorily present. Certain cases in which something is absent have been characterized by others as requiring ‘higher’ cognition. An example of this is how during t…Read more