•  2
    On the (Too) Many Faces of Consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 28 (7-8): 61-66. 2021.
  • Rational Disagreement in Peer Review (review)
    Science, Technology and Human Values 10 (3): 55-62. 1985.
  •  9
    Codes, communication and cognition
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42. 2019.
    Brette criticizes the notion of neural coding because it seems to entail that neural signals need to “decoded” by or for some receiver in the head. If that were so, then neural coding would indeed be homuncular, requiring an entity to decipher the code. But I think Brette's plea to think instead in terms of complex, interactive causal throughput is preaching to the converted. Turing has already shown the way. In any case, the metaphor of neural coding has little to do with the symbol grounding p…Read more
  • Grounding Symbolic Representation in Categorical Perception
    Dissertation, Princeton University. 1992.
    How do internal symbols become connected to the object they stand for?$\sp1$ A symbol system is a set of physical objects or states and the formal rules for manipulating them. The rules are syntactic, operating only on the shapes of the symbols, not their meanings. Yet the symbol combinations can be given a systematic interpretation or states of affairs ). These meanings, however, are not "grounded"; they derive from the mind of the interpreter of the symbols. How can the meanings of symbols be …Read more
  •  154
    Explaining the mind: Problems, problems
    The Sciences 41 (2): 36-42. 2001.
    The mind/body problem is the feeling/function problem: How and why do feeling systems feel? The problem is not just "hard" but insoluble . Fortunately, the "easy" problems of cognitive science are not insoluble. Five books are reviewed in this context
  •  15
    The evolu on of language made it possible for us to think aloud, share our thoughts, pass them on by word‐of‐mouth.
  •  223
    When in 1979 Zenon Pylyshyn, associate editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS, a peer commentary journal which I edit) informed me that he had secured a paper by John Searle with the unprepossessing title of [XXXX], I cannot say that I was especially impressed; nor did a quick reading of the brief manuscript -- which seemed to be yet another tedious "Granny Objection"[1] about why/how we are not computers -- do anything to upgrade that impression
  • Behavior and the selective role of the environment
    with A. C. Catania
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7 473-724. 1984.
  •  106
    In our century a Frege/Brentano wedge has gradually been driven into the mind/body problem so deeply that it appears to have split it into two: The problem of "qualia" and the problem of "intentionality." Both problems use similar intuition pumps: For qualia, we imagine a robot that is indistinguishable from us in every objective respect, but it lacks subjective experiences; it is mindless. For intentionality, we again imagine a robot that is indistinguishable from us in every objective respect …Read more
  •  16
    The experimental analysis of naming behavior can tell us exactly the kinds of things Horne & Lowe (H & L) report here: (1) the conditions under which people and animals succeed or fail in naming things and (2) the conditions under which bidirectional associations are formed between inputs (objects, pictures of objects, seen or heard names of objects) and outputs (spoken names of objects, multimodal operations on objects). The "stimulus equivalence" that H & L single out is really just the reflex…Read more
  •  35
    The ethical case for Open Access (OA) (free online access) to research findings is especially salient when it is public health that is being compromised by needless access restrictions. But the ethical imperative for OA is far more general: It applies to all scientific and scholarly research findings published in peer-reviewed journals. And peer-to-peer access is far more important than direct public access. Most research is funded so as to be conducted and published, by researchers, in order to…Read more
  •  76
    Both Artificial Life and Artificial Mind are branches of what Dennett has called "reverse engineering": Ordinary engineering attempts to build systems to meet certain functional specifications, reverse bioengineering attempts to understand how systems that have already been built by the Blind Watchmaker work. Computational modelling (virtual life) can capture the formal principles of life, perhaps predict and explain it completely, but it can no more be alive than a virtual forest fire can be ho…Read more
  •  35
    Churchland underestimates the power and purpose of the Turing Test, dismissing it as the trivial game to which the Loebner Prize (offered for the computer program that can fool judges into thinking it's human) has reduced it, whereas it is really an exacting empirical criterion: It requires that the candidate model for the mind have our full behavioral capacities -- so fully that it is indistinguishable from any of us, to any of us (not just for one Contest night, but for a lifetime). Scaling up…Read more
  •  48
    Deceiving ourselves about self-deception
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (1): 25-26. 2011.
    Were we just the Darwinian adaptive survival/reproduction machines von Hippel & Trivers invoke to explain us, the self-deception problem would not only be simpler, but also nonexistent. Why would unconscious robots bother to misinform themselves so as to misinform others more effectively? But as we are indeed conscious rather than unconscious robots, the problem is explaining the causal role of consciousness itself, not just its supererogatory tendency to misinform itself so as to misinform (or …Read more
  •  37
    Language and the game of life
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4): 497-498. 2005.
    Steels & Belpaeme's (S&B's) simulations contain all the right components, but they are put together wrongly. Color categories are unrepresentative of categories in general and language is not merely naming. Language evolved because it provided a powerful new way to acquire categories (through instruction, rather than just the old way of other species, through trial-and-error experience). It did not evolve so that multiple agents looking at the same objects could let one another know which of the…Read more
  •  164
    What language allows us to do is to "steal" categories quickly and effortlessly through hearsay instead of having to earn them the hard way, through risky and time-consuming sensorimotor "toil" (trial-and-error learning, guided by corrective feedback from the consequences of miscategorisation). To make such linguistic "theft" possible, however, some, at least, of the denoting symbols of language must first be grounded in categories that have been earned through sensorimotor toil (or else in cate…Read more
  •  196
    Correlation vs. causality: How/why the mind-body problem is hard
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4): 54-61. 2000.
    The Mind/Body Problem is about causation not correlation. And its solution will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show how/why M is not supererogatory; and that's the hard part
  •  291
    What's wrong and right about Searle's chinese room argument?
    In Michael A. Bishop & John M. Preston (eds.), [Book Chapter] (in Press), Oxford University Press. 2001.
    Searle's Chinese Room Argument showed a fatal flaw in computationalism (the idea that mental states are just computational states) and helped usher in the era of situated robotics and symbol grounding (although Searle himself thought neuroscience was the only correct way to understand the mind)
  •  68
    Grounding symbols in the analog world with neural nets
    Think (misc) 2 (1): 12-78. 1993.
    Harnad's main argument can be roughly summarised as follows: due to Searle's Chinese Room argument, symbol systems by themselves are insufficient to exhibit cognition, because the symbols are not grounded in the real world, hence without meaning. However, a symbol system that is connected to the real world through transducers receiving sensory data, with neural nets translating these data into sensory categories, would not be subject to the Chinese Room argument. Harnad's article is not only the…Read more
  •  31
    Europe is losing almost 50% of the potential return on its research investment until research funders and institutions mandate that all research findings must be made freely accessible to all would be users, webwide. It is not the number of articles published that reflects the return on Europe's research investment: A piece of research, if it is worth funding and doing at all, must not only be published, but used, applied and built upon by other researchers, worldwide. This is called 'research i…Read more
  •  42
    We must distinguish between what can be described or interpreted as X and what really is X. Otherwise we are just doing hermeneutics. It won't do simply to declare that the thermostat turns on the furnace because it feels cold or that the chess-playing computer program makes a move because it thinks it should get its queen out early. In what does real feeling and thinking consist?
  •  43
    Verifying machines' minds (review)
    Contemporary Psychology 29. 1984.
    he question of the possibility of artificial consciousness is both very new and very old. It is new in the context of contemporary cognitive science and its concern with whether a machine can be conscious; it is old in the form of the mind/body problem and the "other minds" problem of philosophy. Contemporary enthusiasts proceed at their peril if they ignore or are ignorant of the false starts and blind alleys that the older thinkers have painfully worked through.
  •  31
    Neoconstructivism: A unifying constraint for the cognitive sciences
    In Thomas W. Simon & Robert J. Scholes (eds.), [Book Chapter], Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 1-11. 1982.
    Behavioral scientists studied behavior; cognitive scientists study what generates behavior. Cognitive science is hence theoretical behaviorism (or behaviorism is experimental cognitivism). Behavior is data for a cognitive theorist. What counts as a theory of behavior? In this paper, a methodological constraint on theory construction -- "neoconstructivism" -- will be proposed (by analogy with constructivism in mathematics): Cognitive theory must be computable; given an encoding of the input to a …Read more
  •  13
    Broca's area and language evolution
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4): 1-5. 2005.
    : Grodzinsky associates Broca's area with three kinds of deficit, relating to articulation, comprehension (involving trace deletion), and production (involving "tree priming"). Could these be special cases of one deficit? Evidence from research on language evolution suggests that they may all involve syllable structure or those aspects of syntax that evolved through exploiting the neural mechanisms underlying syllable structure
  •  2
    Turing on reverse-engineering the mind
    Journal of Logic, Language, and Information. 1999.
  •  49
    Exorcizing the ghost of mental imagery
    Computational Intelligence 9 (4): 337-339. 1993.
    The problem seems apparent even in Glasgow's term ``depict'', which is used by way of contrast with ``describe''. Now ``describe'' refers relatively unproblematically to strings of symbols, such as those in this written sentence, that are systematically interpretable as propositions describing objects, events, or states of affairs. But what does ``depict'' mean? In the case of a picture -- whether a photo or a diagram -- it is clear what depict means. A picture is an object (I will argue below t…Read more
  •  41
    In his chapter titled "Consciousness, Charles Taylor suggests that the traditional mind/body, mental/physical dichotomy is an undesirable legacy of the seventeenth century. Its faults are that it gives rise to a dualism that must then be resolved in various unsatisfactory ways. The most prevalent of these ways is currently "functionalism," which explains cognition in terms of functional states and processes like those of a computer and "marginalizes" (i.e., minimizes or denies completely the cau…Read more
  •  388
    The usual way to try to ground knowing according to contemporary theory of knowledge is: We know something if (1) it’s true, (2) we believe it, and (3) we believe it for the “right” reasons. Floridi proposes a better way. His grounding is based partly on probability theory, and partly on a question/answer network of verbal and behavioural interactions evolving in time. This is rather like modeling the data-exchange between a data-seeker who needs to know which button to press on a food-dispenser…Read more