•  133
    The paper argues that cognitive states of biological systems are inherently temporal. Three adequacy conditions for neuronal models of representation are vindicated: the compositionality of meaning, the compositionality of content, and the co-variation with content. Classicist and connectionist approaches are discussed and rejected. Based on recent neurobiological data, oscillatory networks are introduced as a third alternative. A mathematical description in a Hilbert space framework is develope…Read more
  •  132
    The doctrine that meanings are entitieswith a determinate and independent reality is often believed tohave been undermined by Quine's thought experiment of radicaltranslation, which results in an argument for the indeterminacy oftranslation. This paper argues to the contrary. Starting fromQuine's assumption that the meanings of observation sentences arestimulus meanings, i.e., set-theoretical constructions of neuronalstates uniquely determined by inter-subjectively observable facts,the paper sho…Read more
  •  111
    The volume contains the written versions of all papers given at the workshop, divided into five chapters and followed by Alvin Goldman¿s replies in the sixth ...
  •  100
    What is episodic memory if it is a natural kind?
    with Sen Cheng
    Synthese 193 (5): 1345-1385. 2016.
    Colloquially, episodic memory is described as “the memory of personally experienced events”. Even though episodic memory has been studied in psychology and neuroscience for about six decades, there is still great uncertainty as to what episodic memory is. Here we ask how episodic memory should be characterized in order to be validated as a natural kind. We propose to conceive of episodic memory as a knowledge-like state that is identified with an experientially based mnemonic representation of a…Read more
  •  79
    Minds, persons, and space: An fMRI investigation into the relational complexity of higher-order intentionality
    with Anna Abraham, Hannes Rakoczy, D. Yves von Cramon, and Ricarda I. Schubotz
    Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2): 438-450. 2008.
    Mental state reasoning or theory-of-mind has been the subject of a rich body of imaging research. Although such investigations routinely tap a common set of regions, the precise function of each area remains a contentious matter. With the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we sought to determine which areas are involved when processing mental state or intentional metarepresentations by focusing on the relational aspect of such representations. Using non-intentional relational …Read more
  •  79
    The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality (edited book)
    with Wolfram Hinzen and Edouard Machery
    Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Leading linguists and philosophers report on all aspects of compositionality, the notion that the meaning of an expression can be derived from its parts. This book explores every dimension of this field, reporting critically on different lines of research, revealing connections between them, and highlighting current problems and opportunities.
  •  77
    Experimental data suggest that the division between the visual ventral and dorsal pathways may indeed indicate that static and dynamical information is processed separately. Contrary to Hurford, it is suggested that the ventral pathway primarily generates representations of objects, whereas the dorsal pathway produces representations of events. The semantic object/event distinction may relate to the morpho-syntactic noun/verb distinction.
  •  61
    What has the self to be like such that introspective awareness of it is possible? The paper asks if Descartes’s idea of an inner self can be upheld and discusses this issue by invoking two principles: the phenomenal transparency of experience and the semantic compositionality of conceptual content. It is assumed that self-awareness is a second-order state either in the domain of experience or in the domain of thought. In the former case self-awareness turns out empty if experience is transparent…Read more
  •  57
    Partee (2009) conjectures a formal semantics for natural language (hereafter, single-type semantics) that interprets CPs and referential DPs in the same semantic type: properties of situations. Partee’s semantics contrasts with Montague semantics and its recent contenders (dubbed dual- or multi-type semantics) which assume distinct basic types for the semantic values of referential DPs (i.e. individuals) and CPs (i.e. propositions, truth-values, or sets of assignment functions). Partee’s conject…Read more
  •  55
    This paper addresses various solutions to Meno's Problem: Why is it that knowledge is more valuable than merely true belief? Given both a pragmatist as well as a veritist understanding of epistemic value, it is argued that a reliabilist analysis of knowledge, in general, promises a hopeful strategy to explain the extra value of knowledge. It is, however, shown that two recent attempts to solve Meno's Problem within reliabilism are severely flawed: Olsson's conditional probability solution and Go…Read more
  •  51
    We defend a realistic attitude towards biological species. We argue that two species are not different species because they differ in intrinsic features, be they phenotypic or genomic, but because they are separated with regard to gene flow. There are no intrinsic species essences. However, there are relational ones. We argue that bearing a gene flow relation to conspecifics may serve as the essence of a species. Our view of the species as a Gene-Flow Community differs from Mayr’s definition of …Read more
  •  50
    Conceptual fingerprints: Lexical decomposition by means of frames – a neuro-cognitive model
    In U. Priss, S. Polovina & R. Hill (eds.), Conceptual structures: Knowledge architectures for smart applications, . 2007.
    Frames, i.e., recursive attribute-value structures, are a general format for the decomposition of lexical concepts. Attributes assign unique values to objects and thus describe functional relations. Concepts can be classified into four groups: sortal, individual, relational and functional concepts. The classification is reflected by different grammatical roles of the corresponding nouns. The paper aims at a cognitively adequate decomposition, particularly, of sortal concepts by means of frames. …Read more
  •  48
    Synesthesia, sensory-motor contingency, and semantic emulation: how swimming style-color synesthesia challenges the traditional view of synesthesia
    Frontiers in Psychology / Research Topic Linking Perception and Cognition in Frontiers in Cognition 3 (279): 1-12. 2012.
    Synesthesia is a phenomenon in which an additional nonstandard perceptual experience occurs consistently in response to ordinary stimulation applied to the same or another modality. Recent studies suggest an important role of semantic representations in the induction of synesthesia. In the present proposal we try to link the empirically grounded theory of sensory-motor contingency and mirror system based embodied simulation to newly discovered cases of swimming-style color synesthesia. In the la…Read more
  •  29
    The Complex-First Paradox consists in a set of collectively incompatible but individually well-confirmed propositions that regard the evolution, development, and cortical realization of the meanings of concrete nouns. Although these meanings are acquired earlier than those of other word classes, they are semantically more complex and their cortical realizations more widely distributed. For a neurally implemented syntaxsemantics interface, it should thus take more effort to establish a link betwe…Read more
  •  21
    Guest Editors' Preface
    with C. Horn and S. Lobner
    Journal of Semantics 29 (4): 439-443. 2012.
  •  21
    Non-symbolic compositional representation and its neuronal foundation: towards an emulative semantics
    In Markus Werning, Wolfram Hinzen & Edouard Machery (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality, Oxford University Press. 2012.
    This article proposes a neurobiologically motivated theory of meaning as internal representation that holds on to the principle of compositionality, but negates the principle of semantic constituency. The approach builds on neurobiological findings regarding topologically structured cortical feature maps and the mechanism of object-related binding by neuronal synchronization. It incorporates the Gestalt principles of psychology and is implemented by recurrent neural networks. The semantics to be…Read more
  •  17
    The paper develops an account of minimal traces devoid of representational content and exploits an analogy to a predictive processing framework of perception. As perception can be regarded as a prediction of the present on the basis of sparse sensory inputs without any representational content, episodic memory can be conceived of as a “prediction of the past” on the basis of a minimal trace, i.e., an informationally sparse, merely causal link to a previous experience. The resulting notion of epi…Read more
  •  16
    Synchrony and composition: Toward a cognitive architecture between classicism and connectionism
    In Benedikt Löwe, Thoralf Räsch & Wolfgang Malzkorn (eds.), Foundations of the Formal Sciences Ii, Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 261--278. 2003.
  •  14
    Reading Words Hurts: The impact of pain sensitivity on people’s ratings of pain-related words
    In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings & P. P. Maglio (eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, . pp. 453-458. 2015.
    This study explores the relation between pain sensitivity and the cognitive processing of words. 130 participants evaluated the pain-relatedness of a total of 600 two-syllabic nouns, and subsequently reported on their own pain sensitivity. The results demonstrate that pain-sensitive people (based on their self-report) associate words more strongly with pain than less sensitive people. In particular, concrete nouns like syringe, wound, knife, and cactus, are considered to be more pain-related for…Read more
  •  11
    The “complex first” paradox
    In M. Arbib D. Bickerton (ed.), The Emergence of Protolanguage: Holophrasis Vs Compositionality, John Benjamins. pp. 24--67. 2010.
  •  10
    The “complex first” paradox: Why do semantically thick concepts so early lexicalize as nouns?
    Interaction Studies: Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 9 (1): 67-83. 2008.
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    The paper critically reviews Jerry Fodor's book In Critical Condition: Polemic Essays on Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind. It focuses on Fodor's compositionality arguments and their relevance to the following questions: How should concepts be individuated? What has semantics to do with epistemology? Who is right in the debate over classical and connectionist theories of cognition? How can the semantic properties of a mental state be inherited from the semantic properties of the state…Read more