•  86
    Realism and Anti-Realism Are Both True (and False)
    Mind and Matter 18 (2): 121-148. 2020.
    The perennial nature of some of philosophy’s deepest problems is a puzzle. Here, one problem, the realism–anti-realism debate, and one type of explanation for its longevity, are examined. It is argued that realism and anti-realism form a dialetheic pair: While they are in fact each other’s logical opposite, nevertheless, both are true (and both false). First, several reasons why one might think such a thing are presented. These reasons are merely the beginning, however. In the following sections…Read more
  •  10
    When Science Confronts Philosophy: Three Case Studies
    Axiomathes 30 (5): 479-500. 2020.
    This paper examines three cases of the clash between science and philosophy: Zeno’s paradoxes, the Frame Problem, and a recent attempt to experimentally refute skepticism. In all three cases, the relevant science claims to have resolved the purported problem. The sciences, construing the term broadly, are mathematics, artificial intelligence, and psychology. The goal of this paper is to show that none of the three scientific solutions work. The three philosophical problems remain as vibrant as e…Read more
  •  81
    Equivalence of the Frame and Halting Problems
    with Chris Fields
    Algorithms 13 (175): 1-9. 2020.
    The open-domain Frame Problem is the problem of determining what features of an open task environment need to be updated following an action. Here we prove that the open-domain Frame Problem is equivalent to the Halting Problem and is therefore undecidable. We discuss two other open-domain problems closely related to the Frame Problem, the system identification problem and the symbol-grounding problem, and show that they are similarly undecidable. We then reformulate the Frame Problem as a quant…Read more
  •  72
    This paper examines three cases of the clash between science and philosophy: Zeno’s paradoxes, the Frame Problem, and a recent attempt to experimentally refute skepticism. In all three cases, the relevant science claims to have resolved the purported problem. The sciences, construing the term broadly, are mathematics, artificial intelligence, and psychology. The goal of this paper is to show that none of the three scientific solutions work. The three philosophical problems remain as vibrant as e…Read more
  • Computer Thought: Propositional Attitudes and Meta-Knowledge
    Dissertation, The University of Arizona. 1985.
    Though artificial intelligence scientists frequently use words such as "belief" and "desire" when describing the computational capacities of their programs and computers, they have completely ignored the philosophical and psychological theories of belief and desire. Hence, their explanations of computational capacities which use these terms are frequently little better than folk-psychological explanations. Conversely, though philosophers and psychologists attempt to couch their theories of belie…Read more
  •  12
    On the inappropriate use of the naturalistic fallacy in evolutionary psychology
    with David Wilson and Anne Clark
    Biology and Philosophy 18 (5): 669-681. 2003.
    The naturalistic fallacy is mentionedfrequently by evolutionary psychologists as anerroneous way of thinking about the ethicalimplications of evolved behaviors. However,evolutionary psychologists are themselvesconfused about the naturalistic fallacy and useit inappropriately to forestall legitimateethical discussion. We briefly review what thenaturalistic fallacy is and why it is misusedby evolutionary psychologists. Then we attemptto show how the ethical implications of evolvedbehaviors can be …Read more
  •  15
    Do Noncassical Worlds Entail Dualism? (review)
    Constructivist Foundations 12 (3): 275-276. 2017.
    The vast differences between the objective, classical realm of our everyday lives and any nonclassical realm have worried researchers for almost a century. No attempt at resolving the differences or explaining them away has ever worked. Maybe there are two realms, the classical and the nonclassical, and maybe they are paradoxical.
  •  563
    Analogical insight: toward unifying categorization and analogy.
    Cognitive Processing 11 (4): 331-. 2010.
    The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed unification rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that d…Read more
  •  598
    Understanding humans requires viewing them as mechanisms of some sort, since understanding anything requires seeing it as a mechanism. It is science’s job to reveal mechanisms. But science reveals much more than that: it also reveals enduring mystery—strangeness in the proportion. Concentrating just on the scientific side of Selinger’s and Engström’s call for a moratorium on cyborg discourse, I argue that this strangeness prevents cyborg discourse from diminishing us.
  •  1124
    Sometimes analogy researchers talk as if the freshness of an experience of analogy resides solely in seeing that something is like something else -- seeing that the atom is like a solar system, that heat is like flowing water, that paint brushes work like pumps, or that electricity is like a teeming crowd. But analogy is more than this. Analogy isn't just seeing that the atom is like a solar system; rather, it is seeing something new about the atom, an observation enabled by 'looking' at atoms f…Read more
  •  238
    On the inappropriate use of the naturalistic fallacy in evolutionary psychology
    with Anne B. Clark and David Sloan Wilson
    Biology and Philosophy 18 (5): 669-81. 2003.
      The naturalistic fallacy is mentionedfrequently by evolutionary psychologists as anerroneous way of thinking about the ethicalimplications of evolved behaviors. However,evolutionary psychologists are themselvesconfused about the naturalistic fallacy and useit inappropriately to forestall legitimateethical discussion. We briefly review what thenaturalistic fallacy is and why it is misusedby evolutionary psychologists. Then we attemptto show how the ethical implications of evolvedbehaviors can b…Read more
  •  11
    Objections to AI and computational cognitive science are myriad. Accordingly, there are many different reasons for these attacks. But all of them come down to one simple observation: humans seem a lot smarter that computers -- not just smarter as in Einstein was smarter than I, or I am smarter than a chimpanzee, but more like I am smarter than a pencil sharpener. To many, computation seems like the wrong paradigm for studying the mind. (Actually, I think there are deeper and darker reasons why A…Read more
  •  593
    Whither structured representation?
    with Arthur B. Markman
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4): 626-627. 1999.
    The perceptual symbol system view assumes that perceptual representations have a role-argument structure. A role-argument structure is often incorporated into amodal symbol systems in order to explain conceptual functions like abstraction and rule use. The power of perceptual symbol systems to support conceptual functions is likewise rooted in its use of structure. On Barsalou's account, this capacity to use structure (in the form of frames) must be innate.
  •  662
    Discrete thoughts: Why cognition must use discrete representations
    with Arthur B. Markman
    Mind and Language 18 (1): 95-119. 2003.
    Advocates of dynamic systems have suggested that higher mental processes are based on continuous representations. In order to evaluate this claim, we first define the concept of representation, and rigorously distinguish between discrete representations and continuous representations. We also explore two important bases of representational content. Then, we present seven arguments that discrete representations are necessary for any system that must discriminate between two or more states. It…Read more
  •  481
    It Does So: Review of Jerry Fodor, The Mind Doesn't Work That Way (review)
    AI Magazine 22 (4): 121-24. 2001.
    Objections to AI and computational cognitive science are myriad. Accordingly, there are many different reasons for these attacks. But all of them come down to one simple observation: humans seem a lot smarter that computers -- not just smarter as in Einstein was smarter than I, or I am smarter than a chimpanzee, but more like I am smarter than a pencil sharpener. To many, computation seems like the wrong paradigm for studying the mind. (Actually, I think there are deeper and darker reasons why A…Read more
  •  279
    Computationalism
    Social Epistemology 4 (2): 135-154. 1990.
    This paper argues for a noncognitiveist computationalism in the philosophy of mind. It further argues that both humans and computers have intentionality, that is, their mental states are semantical -- they are about things in their worlds.
  •  412
    Mostly philosophers cause trouble. I know because on alternate Thursdays I am one -- and I live in a philosophy department where I watch all of them cause trouble. Everyone in artificial intelligence knows how much trouble philosophers can cause (and in particular, we know how much trouble one philosopher -- John Searle -- has caused). And, we know where they tend to cause it: in knowledge representation and the semantics of data structures. This essay is about a recent case of this sort of thin…Read more
  •  2701
    There Is No Progress in Philosophy
    Essays in Philosophy 12 (2): 9. 2011.
    Except for a patina of twenty-first century modernity, in the form of logic and language, philosophy is exactly the same now as it ever was; it has made no progress whatsoever. We philosophers wrestle with the exact same problems the Pre-Socratics wrestled with. Even more outrageous than this claim, though, is the blatant denial of its obvious truth by many practicing philosophers. The No-Progress view is explored and argued for here. Its denial is diagnosed as a form of anosognosia, a mental co…Read more
  •  26
    On the inappropriate use of the naturalistic fallacy in evolutionary psychology
    with David Sloan-Wilson and Anne Clark
    Biology and Philosophy 18 (5): 669-681. 2003.
    The naturalistic fallacy is mentioned frequently by evolutionary psychologists as an erroneous way of thinking about the ethical implications of evolved behaviors. However, evolutionary psychologists are themselves confused about the naturalistic fallacy and use it inappropriately to forestall legitimate ethical discussion. We briefly review what the naturalistic fallacy is and why it is misused by evolutionary psychologists. Then we attempt to show how the ethical implications of evolved behavi…Read more
  •  272
    Dynamic Systems and Paradise Regained, or How to avoid being a calculator (review)
    J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI 11 (4): 473-478. 1999.
    The new kid on the block in cognitive science these days is dynamic systems. This way of thinking about the mind is, as usual, radically opposed to computationalism - - the hypothesis that thinking is computing. The use of dynamic systems is just the latest in a series of attempts, from Searle's Chinese Room Argument, through the weirdnesses of postmodernism, to overthrown computationalism, which as we all know is a perfectly nice hypothesis about the mind that never hurt anyone.
  •  242
    Extending the classical view of representation
    with Arthur B. Markman
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (12): 470-475. 2000.
    Representation is a central part of models in cognitive science, but recently this idea has come under attack. Researchers advocating perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems have argued against central assumptions of the classical representational approach to mind. We review the core assumptions of the dominant view of representation and the four suggested alternatives. We argue that representation should remain a core part of cognitive science, but …Read more
  •  150
    A recent issue of Time magazine (March 29, 1999) was devoted to the twenty greatest "thinkers" of the twentieth century -- scientists, inventors, and engineers. There is one interesting omission: there are no cognitive psychologists or cognitive scientists. (Cognitive science is an amalgam of cognitive, neuro, and developmental psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, linguistics, biology, and anthropology.) Freud is there, to be sure. But, while he was very influential, it is not even c…Read more
  •  741
    The Paradox of Consciousness and the Realism/Anti-Realism Debate
    with Julietta Rose
    Logos Architekton 3 (1): 7-37. 2009.
    Beginning with the paradoxes of zombie twins, we present an argument that dualism is both true and false. We show that avoiding this contradiction is impossible. Our diagnosis is that consciousness itself engenders this contradiction by producing contradictory points of view. This result has a large effect on the realism/anti-realism debate, namely, it suggests that this debate is intractable, and furthermore, it explains why this debate is intractable. We close with some comments on what our re…Read more
  •  438
    Review of David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind (review)
    Minds and Machines 8 (3): 441-461. 1998.
    When Charles Darwin died in April, 1882, he left behind a world changed forever. Because of his writings, most notably, of course, The Origin of Species, by 1882, evolution was an almost universally acknowledged fact. What remained in dispute, however, was how evolution occurred. So because of Darwin’s work, everyone accepted that new species emerge over time, yet few agreed with him that it was natural selection that powered the change, as Darwin hypothesized. Chalmers’ book, The Conscious Mind…Read more
  •  411
    Subvert the dominant paradigm!
    J. Of Experimental and Theoretical AI. 2002.
    We again press the case for computationalism by considering the latest in ill- conceived attacks on this foundational idea. We briefly but clearly define and delimit computationalism and then consider three authors from a new anti- computationalist collection.