In this paper, we argue that several recent ‘wide’ perspectives on cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, enactive, and distributed) are only partially relevant to the study of cognition. While these wide accounts override traditional methodological individualism, the study of cognition has already progressed beyond these proposed perspectives towards building integrated explanations of the mechanisms involved, including not only internal submechanisms but also interactions with others, groups, cognitive artifacts, and their environment. The claim is substantiated with reference to recent developments in the (...) study of “mindreading” and debates on emotions. We claim that the current practice in cognitive (neuro)science has undergone, in effect, a silent mechanistic revolution, and has turned from initial binary oppositions and abstract proposals towards the integration of wide perspectives with the rest of the cognitive (neuro)sciences. (shrink)
In their thought-provoking article, Sedlakova and Trachsel (2023) defend the view that the status—both epistemic and ethical—of Conversational Artificial Intelligence (CAI) used in psychotherapy is complicated. While therapeutic CAI seems to be more than a mere tool implementing particular therapeutic techniques, it falls short of being a “digital therapist.” One of the main arguments supporting the latter claim is that even though “the interaction with CAI happens in the course of conversation… the conversation is profoundly different from a conversation with (...) a human therapist” (Sedlakova and Trachsel 2023, 8). In particular, unlike a human therapist, CAI cannot help its users gain new insight and self-understanding (Sedlakova and Trachsel 2023). We agree that currently available therapeutic CAI cannot be considered a “digital therapist,” however, we think that the issue surrounding the acquisition of new self-understanding in the interaction with therapeutic CAI is more complicated than Sedlakova and Trachsel suggest. (shrink)
Replicability and reproducibility of computational models has been somewhat understudied by “the replication movement.” In this paper, we draw on methodological studies into the replicability of psychological experiments and on the mechanistic account of explanation to analyze the functions of model replications and model reproductions in computational neuroscience. We contend that model replicability, or independent researchers' ability to obtain the same output using original code and data, and model reproducibility, or independent researchers' ability to recreate a model without original code, (...) serve different functions and fail for different reasons. This means that measures designed to improve model replicability may not enhance (and, in some cases, may actually damage) model reproducibility. We claim that although both are undesirable, low model reproducibility poses more of a threat to long-term scientific progress than low model replicability. In our opinion, low model reproducibility stems mostly from authors' omitting to provide crucial information in scientific papers and we stress that sharing all computer code and data is not a solution. Reports of computational studies should remain selective and include all and only relevant bits of code. (shrink)
The cognitive foundations of geometry have puzzled academics for a long time, and even today are mostly unknown to many scholars, including mathematical cognition researchers. -/- Foundations of Geometric Cognition shows that basic geometric skills are deeply hardwired in the visuospatial cognitive capacities of our brains, namely spatial navigation and object recognition. These capacities, shared with non-human animals and appearing in early stages of the human ontogeny, cannot, however, fully explain a uniquely human form of geometric cognition. In the book, (...) Hohol argues that Euclidean geometry would not be possible without the human capacity to create and use abstract concepts, demonstrating how language and diagrams provide cognitive scaffolding for abstract geometric thinking, within a context of a Euclidean system of thought. -/- Taking an interdisciplinary approach and drawing on research from diverse fields including psychology, cognitive science, and mathematics, this book is a must-read for cognitive psychologists and cognitive scientists of mathematics, alongside anyone interested in mathematical education or the philosophical and historical aspects of geometry. (shrink)
Growing demand for broadly accessible mental health care, together with the rapid development of new technologies, trigger discussions about the feasibility of psychotherapeutic interventions based on interactions with Conversational Artificial Intelligence (CAI). Many authors argue that while currently available CAI can be a useful supplement for human-delivered psychotherapy, it is not yet capable of delivering fully fledged psychotherapy on its own. The goal of this paper is to investigate what are the most important obstacles on our way to developing CAI (...) systems capable of delivering psychotherapy in the future. To this end, we formulate and discuss three challenges central to this quest. Firstly, we might not be able to develop effective AI-based psychotherapy unless we deepen our understanding of what makes human-delivered psychotherapy effective. Secondly, assuming that it requires building a therapeutic relationship, it is not clear whether psychotherapy can be delivered by non-human agents. Thirdly, conducting psychotherapy might be a problem too complicated for narrow AI, i.e., AI proficient in dealing with only relatively simple and well-delineated tasks. If this is the case, we should not expect CAI to be capable of delivering fully-fledged psychotherapy until the so-called “general” or “human-like” AI is developed. While we believe that all these challenges can ultimately be overcome, we think that being mindful of them is crucial to ensure well-balanced and steady progress on our path to AI-based psychotherapy. (shrink)
In this paper, we focus on the development of geometric cognition. We argue that to understand how geometric cognition has been constituted, one must appreciate not only individual cognitive factors, such as phylogenetically ancient and ontogenetically early core cognitive systems, but also the social history of the spread and use of cognitive artifacts. In particular, we show that the development of Greek mathematics, enshrined in Euclid’s Elements, was driven by the use of two tightly intertwined cognitive artifacts: the use of (...) lettered diagrams; and the creation of linguistic formulae. Together, these artifacts formed the professional language of geometry. In this respect, the case of Greek geometry clearly shows that explanations of geometric reasoning have to go beyond the confines of methodological individualism to account for how the distributed practice of artifact use has stabilized over time. This practice, as we suggest, has also contributed heavily to the understanding of what mathematical proof is; classically, it has been assumed that proofs are not merely deductively correct but also remain invariant over various individuals sharing the same cognitive practice. Cognitive artifacts in Greek geometry constrained the repertoire of admissible inferential operations, which made these proofs inter-subjectively testable and compelling. By focusing on the cognitive operations on artifacts, we also stress that mental mechanisms that contribute to these operations are still poorly understood, in contrast to those mechanisms which drive symbolic logical inference. (shrink)
The debate between the defenders of explanatory unification and explanatory pluralism has been ongoing from the beginning of cognitive science and is one of the central themes of its philosophy. Does cognitive science need a grand unifying theory? Should explanatory pluralism be embraced instead? Or maybe local integrative efforts are needed? What are the advantages of explanatory unification as compared to the benefits of explanatory pluralism? These questions, among others, are addressed in this Synthese’s special issue. In the introductory paper, (...) we discuss the background of the questions, distinguishing integrative theorizing from building unified theories. On the one hand, integrative efforts involve collaboration between various disciplines, fields, approaches, or theories. These efforts could even be quite temporary, without establishing any long-term institutionalized fields or disciplines, but could also contribute to developing new interfield theories. On the other hand, unification can rely on developing complete theories of mechanisms and representations underlying all cognition, as Newell’s “unified theories of cognition”, or may appeal to grand principles, as predictive coding. Here, we also show that unification in contemporary cognitive science goes beyond reductive unity, and may involve various forms of joint efforts and division of explanatory labor. This conclusion is one of the themes present in the content of contributions constituting the special issue. (shrink)
The focus of this special issue of Theory & Psychology is on explanatory mechanisms in psychology, especially on problems of particular prominence for psychological science such as theoretical integration and unification. Proponents of the framework of mechanistic explanation claim, in short, that satisfactory explanations in psychology and related fields are causal. They stress the importance of explaining phenomena by describing mechanisms that are responsible for them, in particular by elucidating how the organization of component parts and operations in mechanisms gives (...) rise to phenomena in certain conditions. We hope for cross-pollination between philosophical approaches to explanation and experimental psychology, which could offer methodological guidance, in particular where mechanism discovery and theoretical integration are at issue. Contributions in this issue pertain to theoretical integration and unification of psychology as well as the growing importance of causal mechanistic explanations in psychological science. (shrink)
The modeling of the human mind based on quantum effects has been gaining considerable interest due to the intriguing possibility of applying non-local interactions in the studies of consciousness. Inasmuch as the majority of the pertinent studies are restricted to the exclusive analysis of mental phenomena, the quantum model of mind proposed by Roger Penrose constitutes a part of a much larger scheme of the ultimate unification of physics. Penrose's efforts to find the 'missing science of consciousness' presuppose the non-algorithmic (...) character of human thinking inferred from Gödel's incompleteness theorem. This is supposed to combine with the anticipated non-algorithmic character of the future quantum gravity theory involving the objective reduction of a quantum mechanical state vector. By surveying contemporary achievements of cognitive sciences as well as the development of Penrose's conjectures, presented in his recent work The Road to Reality, we wish to show that his non-algorithmic quantum model of human mind is contingent upon the fundamental philosophical assumption of the mathematicity of the Universe. (shrink)
This collection of essays - written by philosophers, logicians, and theologians - is devoted to the problem of the utilization of logic in theological discourse. Viewed from the perspective of logic, the issues covered include such topics as the logic of miracles, the problem of God's omniscience, the application of non-classical logics to theology, and the relationships between science and theology.
Leon Chwistek (1884-1944) was a Professor of Mathematical Logic at the Lviv University, but also philosopher, theoretician of modern art and avant-garde painter. The present article deals with the reception of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity (SR) according to Leon Chwistek. Firstly, Chwistek’s life and philosophical views are presented. Particular attention is paid to the following issues: the theory of the multiplicity of realities, the problem of idealism in the context of philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science, and (...) also positivist background of Chwistek’s philosophy. Secondly, the reception of the theory of relativity according to Chwistek is presented in detail. In order to explain this problem, the following steps are taken: Chwistek’s books and articles are presented. The charge of idealism against Albert Einstein’s and Hermann Minkowski’s theories, as well as alterations to special theory of relativity proposed by Chwistek are reported and analyzed. Finally, Chwistek’s mistakes are pointed out and recapitulated. (shrink)
The contributions in this book deal with the issue of normativity from various academic and scientific perspectives. The reader will learn how phenomena - such as norms, morality, and rule-following - are described and explained in philosophy, biology, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience. In addition, a discussion of the naturalistic fallacy, from philosophical and ethical perspectives, is included.
In this paper it has been argued that the theory of conceptual maps developed recently by Paul M. Churchland provides support for Wittgenstein’s claim that language is a tool for acting in the world. The role of language is to coordinate and shape the conceptual maps of the members of the given language community, reducing the cross-individual cognitive idiosyncrasies and paving the way for joint cognitive enterprises. Moreover, Churchland’s theory also explains our tendency to speak of language as consisting of (...) concepts which correspond to things we encounter in the world. The puzzle of common sense reference is no longer a puzzle: while at the fundamental level language remains a tool for orchestrating conceptual maps, the fact that the maps encode some communally shared categorization of experience fuels our talk of concepts capturing the essences of things, natural kinds, prototypes, etc. (shrink)
In this review-paper, I focus on biopsychological foundations of geometric cognition. Starting from the Kant’s views on mathematics, I attempt to show that contemporary cognitive scientists, alike the famous philosopher, recognize mutual relationships of visuospatial processing and geometric cognition. What I defend is a claim that Tinbergen’s explanatory questions are the most fruitful tool for explaining our “hardwired,” and thus shared with other animals, Euclidean intuitions, which manifest themselves in spatial navigation and shape recognition. I claim, however, that these “hardwired (...) intuitions” cannot capture full-blooded Euclidean geometry, which demands practice with cultural artifacts in various time-scales. (shrink)