• Integrated Information Theory as a Conplexity Science Approach to Consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (1-2): 21-47. 2019.
    I claim that the integrated information theory of consciousness is a complexity science approach to consciousness. In general, complexity science investigates phenomena comprised of numerous non-linearly interacting parts, where global-scale behaviour and structures are irreducible to activities and properties of its constituent parts at local scales. I draw attention to some key features of IIT and complexity science in order to defend the claim that IIT is properly understood within the broade…Read more
  •  13
    Emergence By Way of Dynamic Interactions
    Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (1): 47-57. 2019.
    I defend the claim that emergence is always a kind of interaction dominance. I utilize Francescotti’s definition of emergence, which captures five features typically thought crucial for emergence: downward causal influence, novelty, relationality, supervenience, and unpredictability. I then explicate interaction dominance, a concept from complexity science. In short, a system is interaction dominant when the interactions of the parts give rise to features that override the features of the parts …Read more
  •  4
    An Ecological Account of Visual 'Illusions'
    Florida Philosophical Review 16 (1): 68-93. 2016.
    Direct realism in one form or another is gaining traction as an approach to perception. With the hope of bolstering such positions, we offer a framework upon which to base an argument for direct realism in matters of perception. Better yet, we offer an empirically supported framework. The framework on offer is that of ecological psychology. With the framework in place, we then discuss how it can address visual illusions, one of the major challenges facing proponents of direct realism.
  •  36
    The animal-environment system
    with Anthony Chemero
    In Y. Coelllo & M. H. Fischer (eds.), Foundations of Embodied Cognition: Volume 1: Perceptual and Emotional Embodiment, Routledge. pp. 59-74. 2016.
    Embodied cognition is a well-established and increasingly influential branch of the cognitive, neural, and psychological sciences. Unlike embodied cognition, extended cognition is not as well-established or influential. Our goal is to defend the idea that if cognition is truly embodied, then it is embodied in systems, and if it is embodied in systems, then it extends beyond animal boundaries. In order to demonstrate this, we situate the idea of extended cognitive systems in a historical context.…Read more
  •  12
    “Cognition” and Dynamical Cognitive Science
    with Jonathan Martin
    Minds and Machines 27 (2): 331-355. 2017.
    Several philosophers have expressed concerns with some recent uses of the term ‘cognition’. Underlying a number of these concerns are claims that cognition is only located in the brain and that no compelling case has been made to use ‘cognition’ in any way other than as a cause of behavior that is representational in nature. These concerns center on two primary misapprehensions: First, that some adherents of dynamical cognitive science think DCS implies the thesis of extended cognition and the r…Read more
  •  10
    A dynamical model of risky choice
    with Marieke M. J. W. van Rooij, MaryLauren Malone, and Michael J. Richardson
    Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 35 1510-1515. 2013.
    Individuals make decisions under uncertainty every day based on incomplete information concerning the potential outcome of the choice or chance levels. The choices individuals make often deviate from the rational or mathematically objective solution. Accordingly, the dynamics of human decision-making are difficult to capture using conventional, linear mathematical models. Here, we present data from a two-choice task with variable risk between sure loss and risky loss to illustrate how a simple n…Read more
  •  72
    The complex experience of touching metallic, damp, and slimy things
    with Mary Jean Amon
    Theory and Psychology 25 543-545. 2015.
    The importance of touch to mammalian survival and well-being cannot be overstated. The capacity for action depends on the sense of touch, which is a necessary feature of an animal’s being-in-the-world (O’Shaughnessy, 1989, pp. 38–39). Interpersonal touch has been shown to be an important part of human welfare, including disease prevention and treatment (see Field, 2001 for review). Throughout a mammal’s lifespan, social relation- ships are also mediated by touch behavior (see Thayer, 1986 for re…Read more
  •  32
    Review of Networks: An introduction by M. E. J. Newman (review)
    Dynamical Systems Magazine. 2014.
    Network theory arguably has its origins in Euler’s (1741) graph theory, which was first developed in the mid-1700s to solve the Königsberg bridge problem. Since then, the basic units of graph theory—vertices and edges—have been utilized by a number of scientific disciplines to describe and analyze a wide variety of phenomena. Mark Newman begins his clear and comprehensive introduction to networks with a sampling of various kinds that have been studied: information networks such as the World Wide…Read more
  •  8
    Modeling the Dynamics of Risky Choice
    with Marieke M. J. W. van Rooij, MaryLauren Malone, and Michael J. Richardson
    Ecological Psychology 25 293-303. 2013.
    Individuals make decisions under uncertainty every day. Decisions are based on in- complete information concerning the potential outcome or the predicted likelihood with which events occur. In addition, individuals’ choices often deviate from the rational or mathematically objective solution. Accordingly, the dynamics of human decision making are difficult to capture using conventional, linear mathematical models. Here, we present data from a 2-choice task with variable risk between sure loss an…Read more
  •  22
    Biological Theories of Consciousness: The Search for Experience
    Dissertation, San Diego State University. 2009.
    Consciousness has traditionally been the subject matter of philosophy. However, especially in recent years, various branches of science have attempted to develop theories of consciousness. I evaluate the biological theories of Francis Crick, Gerald Edelman, and Antti Revonsuo in order to gauge the current state of biological accounts of consciousness. I begin with an explication of the easy and hard problems of consciousness as defined by David Chalmers. Next, I summarize how each theory defines…Read more
  •  24
    The Value of Affordances
    with Anthony Chemero
    Religion, Brain and Behavior 4 147-149. 2014.
    Ecological psychology (see Gibson, 1979) is generally thought of as comprising two main claims. The first is that perception is direct insofar as it is not the result of information added to sensory representations. The second is that perception is comprised of affordances (at least most of the time) or opportunities for action that exist in the environment. Barrett explores the possibility of giving an objective account of perceiving religious meaning and value by means of ecological psychology…Read more
  •  22
    Discovering the Human Connectome
    Philosophical Psychology 29 (1): 153-156. 2016.
    Karl Popper (2002) once instructed a group of physics students to carefully write down what they observed. Popper relates that the students asked what he wanted them to observe and said that the sole instruction to “observe” was absurd. This story motivated Popper’s claim that, especially in science: Observation is always selective. It needs a chosen object, a definite task, an interest, a point of view, a problem. And its description presupposes a descriptive language . . . , which in its turn …Read more
  •  36
    Understanding Cognition via Complexity Science
    Dissertation, University of Cincinnati. 2015.
    Mechanistic frameworks of investigation and explanation dominate the cognitive, neural, and psychological sciences. In this dissertation, I argue that mechanistic frameworks cannot, in principle, explain some kinds of cognition. In its place, I argue that complexity science has methods and theories more appropriate for investigating and explaining some cognitive phenomena. I begin with an examination of the term 'cognition.' I defend the idea that "cognition" has been a moving target of investig…Read more
  •  18
    It is becoming ever more accepted that investigations of mind span the brain, body, and environment. To broaden the scope of what is relevant in such investigations is to increase the amount of data scientists must reckon with. Thus, a major challenge facing scientists who study the mind is how to make big data intelligible both within and between fields. One way to face this challenge is to structure the data within a framework and to make it intelligible by means of a common theory. Radical em…Read more