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Ross Pain [10]Ross Alexander Pain [1]
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Ross Pain
Australian National University
  1. Free Energy: A User's Guide.Stephen Francis Mann, Ross Alexander Pain & Michael Kirchhoff - manuscript
    Over the last fifteen years, an ambitious explanatory framework has been proposed to unify explanations across biology and cognitive science. Active inference, whose most famous tenet is the free energy principle, has inspired excitement and confusion in equal measure. Here, we lay the ground for proper critical analysis of active inference, in three ways. First, we give simplified versions of its core mathematical models. Second, we outline the historical development of active inference and its relationship to other theoretical approaches. Third, (...)
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  2.  17
    Cognitive Archaeology and the Minimum Necessary Competence Problem.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-15.
    Cognitive archaeologists attempt to infer the cognitive and cultural features of past hominins and their societies from the material record. This task faces the problem of minimum necessary competence: as the most sophisticated thinking of ancient hominins may have been in domains that leave no archaeological signature, it is safest to assume that tool production and use reflects only the lower boundary of cognitive capacities. Cognitive archaeology involves selecting a model from the cognitive sciences and then assessing some aspect of (...)
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  3.  29
    What Can the Lithic Record Tell Us About the Evolution of Hominin Cognition?Ross Pain - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):245-259.
    This paper examines the inferential framework employed by Palaeolithic cognitive archaeologists, using the work of Wynn and Coolidge as a case study. I begin by distinguishing minimal-capacity inferences from cognitive-transition inferences. Minimal-capacity inferences attempt to infer the cognitive prerequisites required for the production of a technology. Cognitive-transition inferences use transitions in technological complexity to infer transitions in cognitive evolution. I argue that cognitive archaeology has typically used cognitive-transition inferences informed by minimal-capacity inferences, and that this reflects a tendency to favour (...)
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  4.  72
    Stone Tools, Predictive Processing and the Evolution of Language.Ross Pain - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recent work by Stout and colleagues indicates that the neural correlates of language and Early Stone Age toolmaking overlap significantly. The aim of this paper is to add computational detail to their findings. I use an error minimisation model to outline where the information processing overlap between toolmaking and language lies. I argue that the Early Stone Age signals the emergence of complex structured representations. I then highlight a feature of my account: It allows us to understand the early evolution (...)
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  5.  14
    Unification at the Cost of Realism and Precision.Rachael L. Brown, Carl Brusse, Bryce Huebner & Ross Pain - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    Veissière et al. must sacrifice explanatory realism and precision in order to develop a unified formal model. Drawing on examples from cognitive archeology, we argue that this makes it difficult for them to derive the kinds of testable predictions that would allow them to resolve debates over the nature of human social cognition and cultural acquisition.
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  6. Teleosemantics and the Hard Problem of Content.Stephen Francis Mann & Ross Pain - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (1):22-46.
    Hutto and Myin claim that teleosemantics cannot account for mental content. In their view, teleosemantics accounts for a poorer kind of relation between cognitive states and the world but lacks the theoretical tools to account for a richer kind. We show that their objection imposes two criteria on theories of content: a truth-evaluable criterion and an intensionality criterion. For the objection to go through, teleosemantics must be subject to both these criteria and must fail to satisfy them. We argue that (...)
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  7.  15
    How WEIRD is Cognitive Archaeology? Engaging with the Challenge of Cultural Variation and Sample Diversity.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-25.
    In their landmark 2010 paper, “The weirdest people in the world?”, Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan outlined a serious methodological problem for the psychological and behavioural sciences. Most of the studies produced in the field use people from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic societies, yet inferences are often drawn to the species as a whole. In drawing such inferences, researchers implicitly assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that WEIRD populations are generally representative of the species. (...)
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  8.  25
    Phenomenology and Cognitive Neuroscience: Can a Process Ontology Help Resolve the Impasse?Ross Pain - 2018 - Australasian Philosophical Review 2 (2):204-208.
    Shaun Gallagher [2019] argues for a ‘non-classical’ conception of nature, which includes subjects as irreducible constituents. As such, first-person phenomenology can be naturalised and at the same time resist reduction to the third-person. In the first part of this paper, I raise three concerns for the claim that nature is irreducibly subject-involving. In the second part of the paper, I suggest that embracing a process ontology could help strengthen Gallagher’s proposal.
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  9.  17
    Mind the Gap: A More Evolutionarily Plausible Role for Technical Reasoning in Cumulative Technological Culture.Ross Pain & Rachael L. Brown - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2467-2489.
    How do technologies that are too complex for any one individual to produce arise and persist in human populations? Contra prevailing views focusing on social learning, Osiurak and Reynaud argue that the primary driver for cumulative technological culture is our ability for technical reasoning. Whilst sympathetic to their overall position, we argue that two specific aspects of their account are implausible: first, that technical reasoning is unique to humans; and second, that technical reasoning is a necessary condition for the production (...)
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  10.  9
    You: A Natural History, by William B Irvine. [REVIEW]Ross Pain - 2020 - Quarterly Review of Biology 95 (3):250-251.
  11. Culture, Genes, Selection, and Learning: A Response to Nichols, Mackey & Moll.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (2):297-300.