The philosophical case for extended cognition is often made with reference to ‘extended-memory cases’ ; though, unfortunately, proponents of the hypothesis of extended cognition as well as their adversaries have failed to appreciate the kinds of epistemological problems extended-memory cases pose for mainstream thinking in the epistemology of memory. It is time to give these problems a closer look. Our plan is as follows: in §1, we argue that an epistemological theory remains compatible with HEC only if its (...) epistemic assessments do not violate what we call ‘the epistemic parity principle’. In §2, we show how the constraint of respecting the epistemic parity principle stands in what appears to be a prima facie intractable tension with mainstream thinking about cases of propositional memory. We then outline and evaluate in §3 several lines of response. (shrink)
In Cognitive Integration: Attacking The Bounds of Cognition Richard Menary argues that the real pay-off from extended-mind-style arguments is not a new form of externalism in the philosophy of mind, but a view in which the 'internal' and 'external' aspects of cognition are integrated into a whole. Menary argues that the manipulation of external vehicles constitutes cognitive processes and that cognition is hybrid: internal and external processes and vehicles complement one another in the completion of cognitive tasks. (...) However, we cannot make good on these claims without understanding the cognitive norms by which we manipulate bodily external vehicles of cognition. -/- Shaun Gallagher: “Menary sets out some extremely welcome clarifications that help to integrate the models of embodied and extended cognition. He not only provides convincing responses to all of the main objections that have been made against these approaches, he also puts flesh on the integrated model by incorporating concepts such as epistemic action, by expanding the discussion to include a Peircean view of representation, by demonstrating its evolutionary roots, and by exploring its implications for language and cognition. This is one of those books that takes us forward a number of giant steps. Menary makes it comprehensive and comprehensible.” . (shrink)
Cognition is a basic introductory text for college courses in the philosophy of knowledge. Joseph Owens, C.Ss.R., here expands the narrowly metaphysical treatment of knowledge given in his earlier book, An Elementary Christian Metaphysics, into a full-fledged epistemology. This text utilizes the traditions of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to reacquaint students of philosophy with a number of insights basic for a philosophic understanding of knowledge. These insights into the nature of abstraction, truth, the ground of certitude, and other major (...) concerns of epistemology will help students clarify the approaches of contemporary philosophies. (shrink)
Embodied cognition is sweeping the planet. On a non-embodied approach, the sensory system informs the cognitive system and the motor system does the cognitive system’s bidding. There are causal relations between the systems but the sensory and motor systems are not constitutive of cognition. For embodied views, the relation to the sensori-motor system to cognition is constitutive, not just causal. This paper examines some recent empirical evidence used to support the view that cognition is embodied and (...) raises questions about some of the claims being made by supporters. (shrink)
In this chapter, we analyze the relationships between the Internet and its users in terms of situated cognition theory. We first argue that the Internet is a new kind of cognitive ecology, providing almost constant access to a vast amount of digital information that is increasingly more integrated into our cognitive routines. We then briefly introduce situated cognition theory and its species of embedded, embodied, extended, distributed and collective cognition. Having thus set the stage, we begin by (...) taking an embedded cognition view and analyze how the Internet aids certain cognitive tasks. After that, we conceptualize how the Internet enables new kinds of embodied interaction, extends certain aspects of our embodiment, and examine how wearable technologies that monitor physiological, behavioral and contextual states transform the embodied self. On the basis of the degree of cognitive integration between a user and Internet resource, we then look at how and when the Internet extends our cognitive processes. We end this chapter with a discussion of distributed and collective cognition as facilitated by the Internet. (shrink)
Conscious experience is one of the most difficult and thorny problems in psychological science. Its study has been neglected for many years, either because it was thought to be too difficult, or because the relevant evidence was thought to be poor. Bernard Baars suggests a way to specify empirical constraints on a theory of consciousness by contrasting well-established conscious phenomena - such as stimulus representations known to be attended, perceptual, and informative - with closely comparable unconscious ones - such as (...) stimulus representations known to be preperceptual, unattended, or habituated. Adducing data to show that consciousness is associated with a kind of global workplace in the nervous system, and that several brain structures are known to behave in accordance with his theory, Baars helps to clarify many difficult problems. (shrink)
Robert Rupert argues against the view that human cognitive processes comprise elements beyond the boundary of the organism, developing a systems-based conception in place of this extended view. He also argues for a conciliatory understanding of the relation between the computational approach to cognition and the embedded and embodied views.
An alarming number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have argued that mind extends beyond the brain and body. This book evaluates these arguments and suggests that, typically, it does not. A timely and relevant study that exposes the need to develop a more sophisticated theory of cognition, while pointing to a bold new direction in exploring the nature of cognition Articulates and defends the “mark of the cognitive”, a common sense theory used to distinguish between cognitive and non-cognitive (...) processes Challenges the current popularity of extended cognition theory through critical analysis and by pointing out fallacies and shortcoming in the literature Stimulates discussions that will advance debate about the nature of cognition in the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
As the cognitive revolution was slow to come to the study of animal behavior, the vast majority of what we know about primate cognition has been discovered in the last 30 years. Building on the recognition that the physical and social worlds of humans and their living primate relatives pose many of the same evolutionary challenges, programs of research have established that the most basic cognitive skills and mental representations that humans use to navigate those worlds are already possessed (...) by other primates. There may be differences between humans and other primates, however, in more complex cognitive skills, such as reasoning about relations, causality, time, and other minds. Of special importance, the human primate seems to possess a species-unique set of adaptations for “cultural intelligence,” which are broad reaching in their effects on human cognition. (shrink)
Cognitive enhancement takes many and diverse forms. Various methods of cognitive enhancement have implications for the near future. At the same time, these technologies raise a range of ethical issues. For example, they interact with notions of authenticity, the good life, and the role of medicine in our lives. Present and anticipated methods for cognitive enhancement also create challenges for public policy and regulation.
We outline a framework of multilevel neurocognitive mechanisms that incorporates representation and computation. We argue that paradigmatic explanations in cognitive neuroscience fit this framework and thus that cognitive neuroscience constitutes a revolutionary break from traditional cognitive science. Whereas traditional cognitive scientific explanations were supposed to be distinct and autonomous from mechanistic explanations, neurocognitive explanations aim to be mechanistic through and through. Neurocognitive explanations aim to integrate computational and representational functions and structures across multiple levels of organization in order to explain (...)cognition. To a large extent, practicing cognitive neuroscientists have already accepted this shift, but philosophical theory has not fully acknowledged and appreciated its significance. As a result, the explanatory framework underlying cognitive neuroscience has remained largely implicit. We explicate this framework and demonstrate its contrast with previous approaches. (shrink)
This paper discusses critically a proposal by David Kaplan and others to ground reference in an antecedent having in mind and it examines the commitments of a conception of reference freed of cognition.
Embodied cognition often challenges standard cognitive science. In this outstanding introduction, Lawrence Shapiro sets out the central themes and debates surrounding embodied cognition, explaining and assessing the work of many of the key figures in the field, including George Lakoff, Alva Noë, Andy Clark, and Arthur Glenberg. Beginning with an outline of the theoretical and methodological commitments of standard cognitive science, Shapiro then examines philosophical and empirical arguments surrounding the traditional perspective. He introduces topics such as dynamic systems (...) theory, ecological psychology, robotics, and connectionism, before addressing core issues in philosophy of mind such as mental representation and extended cognition. Including helpful chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, _Embodied Cognition_ is essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind, psychology, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Perception is typically distinguished from cognition. For example, seeing is importantly different from believing. And while what one sees clearly influences what one thinks, it is debatable whether what one believes and otherwise thinks can influence, in some direct and non-trivial way, what one sees. The latter possible relation is the cognitive penetration of perception. Cognitive penetration, if it occurs, has implications for philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. This paper offers an analysis of the (...) phenomenon, its theoretical consequences, and a variety of experimental results and possible interpretations of them. The paper concludes by proposing some constraints for analyses and definitions of cognitive penetrability. (shrink)
Cognitive ecology is the study of cognitive phenomena in context. In particular, it points to the web of mutual dependence among the elements of a cognitive ecosystem. At least three fields were taking a deeply ecological approach to cognition 30 years ago: Gibson’s ecological psychology, Bateson’s ecology of mind, and Soviet cultural-historical activity theory. The ideas developed in those projects have now found a place in modern views of embodied, situated, distributed cognition. As cognitive theory continues to shift (...) from units of analysis defined by inherent properties of the elements to units defined in terms of dynamic patterns of correlation across elements, the study of cognitive ecosystems will become an increasingly important part of cognitive science. (shrink)
Does thought have distinctive experiential features? Is there, in addition to sensory phenomenology, a kind of cognitive phenomenology--phenomenology of a cognitive or conceptual character? Leading philosophers of mind debate whether conscious thought has cognitive phenomenology and whether it is part of conscious perception and conscious emotion.
In this paper I argue that it's possible that the contents of some visual experiences are influenced by the subject's prior beliefs, hopes, suspicions, desires, fears or other mental states, and that this possibility places constraints on the theory of perceptual justification that 'dogmatism' or 'phenomenal conservativism' cannot respect.
According to the cognitive penetrability hypothesis, our beliefs, desires, and possibly our emotions literally affect how we see the world. This book elucidates the nature of the cognitive penetrability and impenetrability hypotheses, assesses their plausibility, and explores their philosophical consequences. It connects the topic's multiple strands (the psychological findings, computationalist background, epistemological consequences of cognitive architecture, and recent philosophical developments) at a time when the outcome of many philosophical debates depends on knowing whether and how cognitive states can influence perception. (...) All sixteen chapters were written especially for the book. The first chapters provide methodological and conceptual clarification of the topic and give an account of the relations between penetrability, encapsulation, modularity, and cross-modal interactions in perception. Assessments of psychological and neuroscientific evidence for cognitive penetration are given by several chapters. Most of the contributions analyse the impact of cognitive penetrability and impenetrability on specific philosophical topics: high-level perceptual contents, the epistemological consequences of penetration, nonconceptual content, the phenomenology of late perception, metacognitive feelings, and action. The book includes a comprehensive introduction which explains the history of the debate, its key technical concepts (informational encapsulation, early and late vision, the perception-cognition distinction, hard-wired perceptual processing, perceptual learning, theory-ladenness), and the debate's relevance to current topics in the philosophy of mind and perception, epistemology, and philosophy of psychology. (shrink)
This paper explores the ramifications of the extended cognition thesis in the philosophy of mind for contemporary epistemology. In particular, it argues that all theories of knowledge need to accommodate the ability intuition that knowledge involves cognitive ability, but that once this requirement is understood correctly there is no reason why one could not have a conception of cognitive ability that was consistent with the extended cognition thesis. There is thus, surprisingly, a straightforward way of developing our current (...) thinking about knowledge such that it incorporates the extended cognition thesis. (shrink)
If our experiences are cognitively penetrable, they can be influenced by our antecedent expectations, beliefs, or other cognitive states. Theorists such as Churchland, Fodor, Macpherson, and Siegel have debated whether and how our cognitive states might influence our perceptual experiences, as well as how any such influences might affect the ability of our experiences to justify our beliefs about the external world. This article surveys views about the nature of cognitive penetration, the epistemological consequences of denying cognitive penetration, and the (...) epistemological consequences of affirming cognitive penetration. (shrink)
Book Description (Blurb): Cognitive Design for Artificial Minds explains the crucial role that human cognition research plays in the design and realization of artificial intelligence systems, illustrating the steps necessary for the design of artificial models of cognition. It bridges the gap between the theoretical, experimental and technological issues addressed in the context of AI of cognitive inspiration and computational cognitive science. -/- Beginning with an overview of the historical, methodological and technical issues in the field of Cognitively-Inspired (...) Artificial Intelligence, Lieto illustrates how the cognitive design approach has an important role to play in the development of intelligent AI technologies and plausible computational models of cognition. Introducing a unique perspective that draws upon Cybernetics and early AI principles, Lieto emphasizes the need for an equivalence between cognitive processes and implemented AI procedures, in order to realise biologically and cognitively inspired artificial minds. He also introduces the Minimal Cognitive Grid, a pragmatic method to rank the different degrees of biologically and cognitive accuracy of artificial systems in order project and predict their explanatory power with respect to the natural systems taken as source of inspiration. -/- Providing a comprehensive overview of cognitive design principles in constructing artificial minds, this text will be essential reading for students and researchers of artificial intelligence and cognitive science. (shrink)
The capacity to control emotion is important for human adaptation. Questions about the neural bases of emotion regulation have recently taken on new importance, as functional imaging studies in humans have permitted direct investigation of control strategies that draw upon higher cognitive processes difficult to study in nonhumans. Such studies have examined (1) controlling attention to, and (2) cognitively changing the meaning of, emotionally evocative stimuli. These two forms of emotion regulation depend upon interactions between prefrontal and cingulate control systems (...) and cortical and subcortical emotion-generative systems. Taken together, the results suggest a functional architecture for the cognitive control of emotion that dovetails with findings from other human and nonhuman research on emotion. (shrink)
Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one's cognitive system, for example, one's thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case (...) is one in which it seems subjects' beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism. (shrink)
This paper explores a variety of different versions of the thesis that natural language is involved in human thinking. It distinguishes amongst strong and weak forms of this thesis, dismissing some as implausibly strong and others as uninterestingly weak. Strong forms dismissed include the view that language is conceptually necessary for thought (endorsed by many philosophers) and the view that language is _de facto_ the medium of all human conceptual thinking (endorsed by many philosophers and social scientists). Weak forms include (...) the view that language is necessary for the acquisition of many human concepts, and the view that language can serve to scaffold human thought processes. The paper also discusses the thesis that language may be the medium of _conscious_ propositional thinking, but argues that this cannot be its most fundamental cognitive role. The idea is then proposed that natural language is the medium for non-domain-specific thinking, serving to integrate the outputs of a variety of domain-specific conceptual faculties (or central-cognitive ‘quasi-modules’). Recent experimental evidence in support of this idea is reviewed, and the implications of the idea are discussed, especially for our conception of the architecture of human cognition. Finally, some further kinds of evidence which might serve to corroborate or refute the hypothesis are mentioned. The overall goal of the paper is to review a wide variety of accounts of the cognitive function of natural language, integrating a number of different kinds of evidence and theoretical consideration in order to propose and elaborate the most plausible candidate. (shrink)
This article has two goals. First, it synthesizes and critically assesses current scientific knowledge about the cognitive bases of human tool use. Second, it shows how the cognitive traits reviewed help to explain why technological accumulation evolved so markedly in humans, and so modestly in apes.
In the history of external information systems, the World Wide Web presents a significant change in terms of the accessibility and amount of available information. Constant access to various kinds of online information has consequences for the way we think, act and remember. Philosophers and cognitive scientists have recently started to examine the interactions between the human mind and the Web, mainly focussing on the way online information influences our biological memory systems. In this article, we use concepts from the (...) extended cognition and distributed cognition frameworks and from transactive memory theory to analyse the cognitive relations between humans and the Web. We first argue that while neither of these approaches neatly capture the nature of human-Web interactions, both offer useful concepts to describe aspects of such interactions. We then conceptualize relations between the Web and its users in terms of cognitive integration, arguing that most current Web applications are not deeply integrated and are better seen as a scaffold for memory and cognition. Some highly personalised applications accessed on wearable computing devices, however, may already have the capacity for deep integration. Finally, we draw out some of the epistemic implications of our cognitive analysis. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor deemed informational encapsulation ‘the essence’ of a system’s modularity and argued that human perceptual processing comprises modular systems, thus construed. Nowadays, his conclusion is widely challenged. Often, this is because experimental work is seen to somehow demonstrate the cognitive penetrability of perceptual processing, where this is assumed to conflict with the informational encapsulation of perceptual systems. Here, I deny the conflict, proposing that cognitive penetration need not have any straightforward bearing on the conjecture that perceptual processing is composed (...) of nothing but informationally encapsulated modules, the conjecture that each and every perceptual computation is performed by an informationally encapsulated module, and the consequences perceptual encapsulation was traditionally expected to have for a perception-cognition border, the epistemology of perception and cognitive science. With these points in view, I propose that particularly plausible cases of cognitive penetration would actually seem to evince the encapsulation of perceptual systems rather than refute/problematize this conjecture. (shrink)
According to the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, remembering does not always occur entirely inside the brain but is often distributed across heterogeneous systems combining neural, bodily, social, and technological resources. These ideas have been intensely debated in philosophy, but the philosophical debate has often remained at some distance from relevant empirical research, while empirical memory research, in particular, has been somewhat slow to incorporate distributed/extended ideas. This situation, however, appears to be changing, as we witness an increasing (...) level of interaction between the philosophy and the empirical research. In this editorial, we provide a high-level historical overview of the development of the debates around the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, as well as relevant theory and empirical research on memory, considering both the role of memory in theoretical debates around distributed/extended ideas and strands of memory research that resonate with those ideas; we emphasize recent trends towards increased interaction, including new empirical paradigms for investigating distributed memory systems. We then provide an overview of the special issue itself, drawing out a number of general implications from the contributions, and conclude by sketching promising directions for future research on distributed memory. (shrink)
In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of a contemporary approach to cognitive psychology known as 4E cognition. According to this ‘extracranial’ view of cognition, the mind is not ensconced in the head, but dynamically intertwined with a host of different entities, social as well as technological. The purpose of the present article is to raise a concern about 4E cognition. The concern is not about whether the mind is in fact extended, but about how this (...) condition is currently portrayed in the 4E literature. It is argued that 4E scholars tend to paint an overly idealized picture of human–technology relations in which all entities are presumed to cooperate and collaborate. The article first describes the basic tenets of extended cognition and distributed cognition, two of the most thingly approaches in this new wave of cognitive psychology. It then proceeds to discuss the twin notions of cognition and representation and argues that it may be time to leave these concepts behind. Finally, it sketches out the so-called ‘dogma of harmony’ in the 4E literature and argues for the importance of making analytical room for conflictual human–technology relations. Two examples of such conflictual relations are provided: bad habits and deskilling. (shrink)
Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions became the most widely read book about science in the twentieth century. His terms 'paradigm' and 'scientific revolution' entered everyday speech, but they remain controversial. In the second half of the twentieth century, the new field of cognitive science combined empirical psychology, computer science, and neuroscience. In this book, the theories of concepts developed by cognitive scientists are used to evaluate and extend Kuhn's most influential ideas. Based on case studies of the Copernican revolution, (...) the discovery of nuclear fission, and an elaboration of Kuhn's famous 'ducks and geese' example of concept learning, this volume, first published in 2006, offers accounts of the nature of normal and revolutionary science, the function of anomalies, and the nature of incommensurability. (shrink)
The Internet is an important focus of attention for those concerned with issues of extended cognition. In particular, the application of active externalist theorizing to the Internet gives rise to the notion of Internet-extended cognition: the idea that the Internet can form part of an integrated nexus of material elements that serves as the realization base for human mental states and processes. The current review attempts to survey a range of issues and controversies that arise in respect of (...) the notion of Internet-extended cognition. These include the issue of whether the Internet, as a technological system, is able to support real-world cases of cognitive extension. It also includes issues concerning the cognitive and epistemic impacts of the Internet. Finally, the review highlights a range of issues and concerns that have not been the focus of previous philosophical attention. These include issues of ‘network-extended cognitive bloat’, ‘conjoined minds’, and an entirely new form of cognitive extension that goes under the heading of ‘human-extended machine cognition’. Together, these issues serve to highlight the value and importance of Internet-extended cognition to contemporary philosophical debates about the extended mind. In particular, the notion of Internet-extended cognition has the potential to highlight points of philosophical progress that are not easily revealed by the kind of technologically low-grade cases that tend to animate the majority of philosophical discussions in this area. (shrink)
Thirty years ago, grounded cognition had roots in philosophy, perception, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuropsychology. During the next 20 years, grounded cognition continued developing in these areas, and it also took new forms in robotics, cognitive ecology, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychology. In the past 10 years, research on grounded cognition has grown rapidly, especially in cognitive neuroscience, social neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. Currently, grounded cognition appears to be achieving (...) increased acceptance throughout cognitive science, shifting from relatively minor status to increasing importance. Nevertheless, researchers wonder whether grounded mechanisms lie at the heart of the cognitive system or are peripheral to classic symbolic mechanisms. Although grounded cognition is currently dominated by demonstration experiments in the absence of well-developed theories, the area is likely to become increasingly theory driven over the next 30 years. Another likely development is the increased incorporation of grounding mechanisms into cognitive architectures and into accounts of classic cognitive phenomena. As this incorporation occurs, much functionality of these architectures and phenomena is likely to remain, along with many original mechanisms. Future theories of grounded cognition are likely to be heavily influenced by both cognitive neuroscience and social neuroscience, and also by developmental science and robotics. Aspects from the three major perspectives in cognitive science—classic symbolic architectures, statistical/dynamical systems, and grounded cognition—will probably be integrated increasingly in future theories, each capturing indispensable aspects of intelligence. (shrink)
In various contexts and for various reasons, writers often define cognitive processes and architectures as those involving representational states and structures. Similarly, cognitive theories are also often delineated as those that invoke representations. In this paper, I present several reasons for rejecting this way of demarcating the cognitive. Some of the reasons against defining cognition in representational terms are that doing so needlessly restricts our theorizing, it undermines the empirical status of the representational theory of mind, and it encourages (...) wildly deflationary and explanatorily vacuous conceptions of representation. After criticizing this outlook, I sketch alternative ways we might try to capture what is distinctive about cognition and cognitive theorizing. (shrink)
In his groundbreaking new book, John Pollock establishes an outpost at the crossroads where artificial intelligence meets philosophy. Specifically, he proposes a general theory of rationality and then describes its implementation in OSCAR, an architecture for an autonomous rational agent he claims is the "first AI system capable of performing reasoning that philosophers would regard as epistemically sophisticated." A sequel to Pollock's How to Build a Person, this volume builds upon that theoretical groundwork for the implementation of rationality through artificial (...) intelligence. Pollock argues that progress in AI has stalled because of its creators' reliance upon unformulated intuitions about rationality. Instead, he bases the OSCAR architecture upon an explicit philosophical theory of rationality, encompassing principles of practical cognition, epistemic cognition, and defeasible reasoning. One of the results is the world's first automated defeasible reasoner capable of reasoning in a rich, logical environment. Underlying Pollock's thesis is a conviction that the tenets of artificial intelligence and those of philosophy can be complementary and mutually beneficial. And, while members of both camps have in recent years grown skeptical of the very possibility of "symbol processing" AI, Cognitive Carpentry establishes that such an approach to AI can be successful. A Bradford Book. (shrink)
Synthesizing the domains of investigation highlighted in current research in distributed cognition and related fields, this paper offers an initial taxonomy of the overlapping types of resources which typically contribute to distributed or extended cognitive systems. It then outlines a number of key dimensions on which to analyse both the resulting integrated systems and the components which coalesce into more or less tightly coupled interaction over the course of their formation and renegotiation.
Cognitive penetration of perception, broadly understood, is the influence that the cognitive system has on a perceptual system. The paper shows a form of cognitive penetration in the visual system which I call ‘architectural’. Architectural cognitive penetration is the process whereby the behaviour or the structure of the perceptual system is influenced by the cognitive system, which consequently may have an impact on the content of the perceptual experience. I scrutinize a study in perceptual learning that provides empirical evidence that (...) cognitive influences in the visual system produce neural reorganization in the primary visual cortex. The type of cognitive penetration can be synchronic and diachronic. (shrink)
An analytic cognitive style denotes a propensity to set aside highly salient intuitions when engaging in problem solving. We assess the hypothesis that an analytic cognitive style is associated with a history of questioning, altering, and rejecting supernatural claims, both religious and paranormal. In two studies, we examined associations of God beliefs, religious engagement, conventional religious beliefs and paranormal beliefs with performance measures of cognitive ability and analytic cognitive style. An analytic cognitive style negatively predicted both religious and paranormal beliefs (...) when controlling for cognitive ability as well as religious engagement, sex, age, political ideology, and education. Participants more willing to engage in analytic reasoning were less likely to endorse supernatural beliefs. Further, an association between analytic cognitive style and religious engagement was mediated by religious beliefs, suggesting that an analytic cognitive style negatively affects religious engagement via lower acceptance of conventional religious beliefs. Results for types of God belief indicate that the association between an analytic cognitive style and God beliefs is more nuanced than mere acceptance and rejection, but also includes adopting less conventional God beliefs, such as Pantheism or Deism. Our data are consistent with the idea that two people who share the same cognitive ability, education, political ideology, sex, age and level of religious engagement can acquire very different sets of beliefs about the world if they differ in their propensity to think analytically. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers and psychologists defending the embodied cognition research program have offered arguments against mindreading as a general model of our social understanding. The embodied cognition arguments are of two kinds: those that challenge the developmental picture of mindreading and those that challenge the alleged ubiquity of mindreading. Together, these two kinds of arguments, if successful, would present a serious challenge to the standard account of human social understanding. In this paper, I examine the strongest of these embodied (...)cognition arguments and argue that mindreading approaches can withstand the best of these arguments from embodied cognition. (shrink)
Many models of cognitive ability and disability rely on the idea of cognition as abstract reasoning processes implemented in the brain. Research in cognitive science, however, emphasizes the way that our cognitive skills are embodied in our more basic capacities for sensing and moving, and the way that tools in the external environment can extend the cognitive abilities of our brains. This chapter addresses the implications of research in embodied cognition and extended cognition for how we think (...) about cognitive impairment and rehabilitation, how cognitive reserve mitigates neural impairment, and the distinction between medical and social models of disability. (shrink)
It is easy to give a list of cognitive processes. They are things like learning, memory, concept formation, reasoning, maybe emotion, and so on. It is not easy to say, of these things that are called cognitive, what makes them so? Knowing the answer is one very important reason to be interested in the mark of the cognitive. In this paper, consider some answers that we think do not work and then offer one of our own which ties cognition (...) to actions explained via the having of reasons. (shrink)
A line of research within embodied cognition seeks to show that an organism’s body is a determinant of its conceptual capacities. Comparison of this claim of body determinism to linguistic determinism bears interesting results. Just as Slobin’s (1996) idea of thinking for speaking challenges the main thesis of linguistic determinism, so too the possibility of thinking for acting raises difficulties for the proponent of body determinism. However, recent studies suggest that the body may, after all, have a determining role (...) in cognitive processes of sentence comprehension. (shrink)
Research on brain or cognitive/affective processes, culture, social interaction, and structural analysis are overlapping but often independent ways humans have attempted to understand the origins of their evolution, historical, and contemporary development. Each level seeks to employ its own theoretical concepts and methods for depicting human nature and categorizing objects and events in the world, and often relies on different sources of evidence to support theoretical claims. Each level makes reference to different temporal bandwidths (milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, (...) years, decades, and centuries) and focuses on different spatio-temporal activities and controlled and non-controlled stimulus conditions. Biological mechanisms and environmental pressures for survival simultaneously created a gradual intersection and enhancement of cognitive/affective skills, cultural practices, and changes in collaborative social interaction and communicative skills. The evolution of a given level of analysis is assumed to have been incremental and overlapping. These innovative and independent ways humans have learned to characterize their brain or cognitive/affective and social/economic/political life often depend on unexamined, representational re-descriptions or cognitive/affective and socio-cultural devices and forms of communication that facilitate the depiction of practices and beliefs we attribute to respondents or subjects and research colleagues. (shrink)