Biology and Philosophy 35 (3):1-45 (2020)

Authors
Abstract
What is the function of cognition? On one influential account, cognition evolved to co-ordinate behaviour with environmental change or complexity. Liberal interpretations of this view ascribe cognition to an extraordinarily broad set of biological systems—even bacteria, which modulate their activity in response to salient external cues, would seem to qualify as cognitive agents. However, equating cognition with adaptive flexibility per se glosses over important distinctions in the way biological organisms deal with environmental complexity. Drawing on contemporary advances in theoretical biology and computational neuroscience, we cash these distinctions out in terms of different kinds of generative models, and the representational and uncertainty-resolving capacities they afford. This analysis leads us to propose a formal criterion for delineating cognition from other, more pervasive forms of adaptive plasticity. On this view, biological cognition is rooted in a particular kind of functional organisation; namely, that which enables the agent to detach from the present and engage in counterfactual inference.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-020-09746-2
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,231
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David Kellogg Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
The Predictive Mind.Jakob Hohwy - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 90 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Human-Extended Machine Cognition.Paul Smart - 2018 - Cognitive Systems Research 49:9–23.
Info-Computational Constructivism and Cognition.G. Dodig-Crnkovic - 2014 - Constructivist Foundations 9 (2):223-231.
Individuality, Subjectivity, and Minimal Cognition.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):775-796.
Four Notions of Biological Function.Arno G. Wouters - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34 (4):633-668.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-04-29

Total views
27 ( #425,485 of 2,518,494 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #167,146 of 2,518,494 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes