10 found
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  1. Conjoined twinning & biological individuation.Alexandria Boyle - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2395-2415.
    In dicephalus conjoined twinning, it appears that two heads share a body; in cephalopagus, it appears that two bodies share a head. How many human animals are present in these cases? One answer is that there are two in both cases—conjoined twins are precisely that, conjoined twins. Another is that the number of humans corresponds to the number of bodies—so there is one in dicephalus and two in cephalopagus. I show that both of these answers are incorrect. Prominent accounts of (...)
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  2. The impure phenomenology of episodic memory.Alexandria Boyle - 2019 - Mind and Language 35 (5):641-660.
    Episodic memory has a distinctive phenomenology: it involves “mentally reliving” a past event. It has been suggested that characterising episodic memory in terms of this phenomenology makes it impossible to test for in animals, because “purely phenomenological features” cannot be detected in animal behaviour. Against this, I argue that episodic memory's phenomenological features are impure, having both subjective and objective aspects, and so can be behaviourally detected. Insisting on a phenomenological characterisation of episodic memory consequently does nothing to damage the (...)
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  3.  62
    The mnemonic functions of episodic memory.Alexandria Boyle - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):327-349.
    Episodic memory is the form of memory involved in remembering personally experienced past events. Here, I address two questions about episodic memory’s function: what does episodic memory do for us, and why do we have it? Recent work addressing these questions has emphasized episodic memory’s role in imaginative simulation, criticizing the mnemonic view on which episodic memory is “for” remembering. In this paper, I offer a defense of the mnemonic view by highlighting an underexplored mnemonic function of episodic memory – (...)
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  4. Experience replay algorithms and the function of episodic memory.Alexandria Boyle - forthcoming - In Lynn Nadel & Sara Aronowitz (eds.), Space, Time, and Memory. Oxford University Press.
    Episodic memory is memory for past events. It’s characteristically associated with an experience of ‘mentally replaying’ one’s experiences in the mind’s eye. This biological phenomenon has inspired the development of several ‘experience replay’ algorithms in AI. In this chapter, I ask whether experience replay algorithms might shed light on a puzzle about episodic memory’s function: what does episodic memory contribute to the cognitive systems in which it is found? I argue that experience replay algorithms can serve as idealized models of (...)
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  5.  69
    Remembering events and representing time.Alexandria Boyle - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2505-2524.
    Episodic memory—memory for personally experienced past events—seems to afford a distinctive kind of cognitive contact with the past. This makes it natural to think that episodic memory is centrally involved in our understanding of what it is for something to be in the past, or to be located in time—that it is either necessary or sufficient for such understanding. If this were the case, it would suggest certain straightforward evidential connections between temporal cognition and episodic memory in nonhuman animals. In (...)
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  6. Elements of Episodic Memory: Insights from Artificial Agents.Alexandria Boyle & Andrea Blomkvist - forthcoming - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
    Many recent AI systems take inspiration from biological episodic memory. Here, we ask how these ‘episodic-inspired’ AI systems might inform our understanding of biological episodic memory. We discuss work showing that these systems implement some key features of episodic memory whilst differing in important respects, and appear to enjoy behavioural advantages in the domains of strategic decision-making, fast learning, navigation, exploration and acting over temporal distance. We propose that these systems could be used to evaluate competing theories of episodic memory’s (...)
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  7.  72
    Mapping the Minds of Others.Alexandria Boyle - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):747-767.
    Mindreaders can ascribe representational states to others. Some can ascribe representational states – states with semantic properties like accuracy-aptness. I argue that within this group of mindreaders, there is substantial room for variation – since mindreaders might differ with respect to the representational format they take representational states to have. Given that formats differ in their formal features and expressive power, the format one takes mental states to have will significantly affect the range of mental state attributions one can make, (...)
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  8. Disagreement & classification in comparative cognitive science.Alexandria Boyle - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Comparative cognitive science often involves asking questions like ‘Do nonhumans have C?’ where C is a capacity we take humans to have. These questions frequently generate unproductive disagreements, in which one party affirms and the other denies that nonhumans have the relevant capacity on the basis of the same evidence. I argue that these questions can be productively understood as questions about natural kinds: do nonhuman capacities fall into the same natural kinds as our own? Understanding such questions in this (...)
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  9. Mirror Self‐Recognition and Self‐Identification.Alexandria Boyle - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):284-303.
    That great apes are the only primates to recognise their reflections is often taken to show that they are self-aware—however, there has been much recent debate about whether the self-awareness in question is psychological or bodily self-awareness. This paper argues that whilst self-recognition does not require psychological self-awareness, to claim that it requires only bodily self-awareness would leave something out. That is that self-recognition requires ‘objective self-awareness’—the capacity for first person thoughts like ‘that's me’, which involve self-identification and so are (...)
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  10.  51
    Replication, uncertainty and progress in comparative cognition.Alexandria Boyle - 2021 - Animal Behaviour and Cognition 8 (2):296-304.
    Replications are often taken to play both epistemic and demarcating roles in science: they provide evidence about the reliability of fields’ methods and, by extension, about which fields “count” as scientific. I argue that, in a field characterized by a high degree of theoretical openness and uncertainty, like comparative cognition, replications do not sit well in these roles. Like other experiments conducted under conditions of uncertainty, replications are often equivocal and open to interpretation. As a result, they are poorly placed (...)
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