In the analytical colour debate there are currently two positions facing each other: color objectivism and color subjectivism. For color objectivists, colors are purely physical properties, whereas for color subjectivists they are phenomenal properties that are ontologically dependent on subjects. Although both positions have strong arguments, a stalemate and idleness in the debate has been evident for decades that requires explanation. In this essay I will show, on the basis of some considerations of Carnap's color view, what causes the stalemate (...) and idleness situation structurally and how it is 'solved' after Carnap. (shrink)
It is often assumed that similar domain-specific behavioural impairments found in cases of adult brain damage and developmental disorders correspond to similar underlying causes, and can serve as convergent evidence for the modular structure of the normal adult cognitive system. We argue that this correspondence is contingent on an unsupported assumption that atypical development can produce selective deficits while the rest of the system develops normally (Residual Normality), and that this assumption tends to bias data collection in the field. Based (...) on a review of connectionist models of acquired and developmental disorders in the domains of reading and past tense, as well as on new simulations, we explore the computational viability of Residual Normality and the potential role of development in producing behavioural deficits. Simulations demonstrate that damage to a developmental model can produce very different effects depending on whether it occurs prior to or following the training process. Because developmental disorders typically involve damage prior to learning, we conclude that the developmental process is a key component of the explanation of endstate impairments in such disorders. Further simulations demonstrate that in simple connectionist learning systems, the assumption of Residual Normality is undermined by processes of compensation or alteration elsewhere in the system. We outline the precise computational conditions required for Residual Normality to hold in development, and suggest that in many cases it is an unlikely hypothesis. We conclude that in developmental disorders, inferences from behavioural deficits to underlying structure crucially depend on developmental conditions, and that the process of ontogenetic development cannot be ignored in constructing models of developmental disorders. Key Words: Acquired and developmental disorders; connectionist models; modularity; past tense; reading. (shrink)
In this response, we consider four main issues arising from the commentaries to the target article. These include further details of the theory of interactive specialization, the relationship between neuroconstructivism and selectionism, the implications of neuroconstructivism for the notion of representation, and the role of genetics in theories of development. We conclude by stressing the importance of multidisciplinary approaches in the future study of cognitive development and by identifying the directions in which neuroconstructivism can expand in the Twenty-first Century.
What makes us conscious? Many theories that attempt to answer this question have appeared recently in the context of widespread interest about consciousness in the cognitive neurosciences. Most of these proposals are formulated in terms of the information processing conducted by the brain. In this overview, we survey and contrast these models. We first delineate several notions of consciousness, addressing what it is that the various models are attempting to explain. Next, we describe a conceptual landscape that addresses how the (...) theories attempt to explain consciousness. We then situate each of several representative models in this landscape and indicate which aspect of consciousness they try to explain. We conclude that the search for the neural correlates of consciousness should be usefully complemented by a search for the computational correlates of consciousness. (shrink)
Our language and metaphors about environmental issues reflect and affect how we perceive and manage them. Discourse on invasive species is dominated by aggressive language of aliens and invasion, which contributes to the use of war-like metaphors to promote combative control. This language has been criticised for undermining scientific objectivity, misleading discourse, and restricting how invasive species are perceived and managed. Calls have been made for alternative metaphors that open up new management possibilities and reconnect with a deeper conservation ethic. (...) Here, we turn to Indigenous perspectives because they are increasingly recognised as offering important and novel voices in invasive species discourse. We examine how Australian Aboriginal elders and land managers speak about 'environmental weeds' and weed management. Based on qualitative research with five Aboriginal groups in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, our findings indicate that Aboriginal elders speak about weeds through passive, neutral language and prefer metaphors for weed management that focus on health, care and creation. We outline the influence that this language has for how rangers practice weed work and discuss its implications for the mainstream paradigm. (shrink)
Neuroconstructivism: How the Brain Constructs Cognition proposes a unifying framework for the study of cognitive development that brings together (1) constructivism (which views development as the progressive elaboration of increasingly complex structures), (2) cognitive neuroscience (which aims to understand the neural mechanisms underlying behavior), and (3) computational modeling (which proposes formal and explicit specifications of information processing). The guiding principle of our approach is context dependence, within and (in contrast to Marr ) between levels of organization. We propose that three (...) mechanisms guide the emergence of representations: competition, cooperation, and chronotopy; which themselves allow for two central processes: proactivity and progressive specialization. We suggest that the main outcome of development is partial representations, distributed across distinct functional circuits. This framework is derived by examining development at the level of single neurons, brain systems, and whole organisms. We use the terms encellment, embrainment, and embodiment to describe the higher-level contextual influences that act at each of these levels of organization. To illustrate these mechanisms in operation we provide case studies in early visual perception, infant habituation, phonological development, and object representations in infancy. Three further case studies are concerned with interactions between levels of explanation: social development, atypical development and within that, developmental dyslexia. We conclude that cognitive development arises from a dynamic, contextual change in embodied neural structures leading to partial representations across multiple brain regions and timescales, in response to proactively specified physical and social environment. (shrink)
We argue that are no such things as literal categories in human cognition. Instead, we argue that there are merely temporary coalescences of dimensions of similarity, which are brought together by context in order to create the similarity structure in mental representations appropriate for the task at hand. Fodor contends that context‐sensitive cognition cannot be realised by current computational theories of mind. We address this challenge by describing a simple computational implementation that exhibits internal knowledge representations whose similarity structure alters (...) fluidly depending on context. We explicate the processing properties that support this function and illustrate with two more complex models, one applied to the development of semantic knowledge , the second to the processing of simple metaphorical comparisons . The models firstly demonstrate how phenomena that seem problematic for literal categorisation resolve to particular cases of the contextual modulation of mental representations; and secondly prompt a new perspective on the relation between language and thought: language affords the strategic control of context on semantic knowledge, allowing information to be brought to bear in a given situation that might otherwise not be available to influence processing. This may explain one way in which human thought is creative, and distinctive from animal cognition. (shrink)
We address two points in this commentary. First, we question the extent to which O'Brien & Opie have established that the classical approach is unable to support a viable vehicle theory of consciousness. Second, assuming that connectionism does have the resources to support a vehicle theory, we explore how the activity of the units of a PDP network might sum together to form phenomenal experience (PE).
In the multidisciplinary field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, statistical associations between levels of description play an increasingly important role. One example of such associations is the observation of correlations between relatively common gene variants and individual differences in behavior. It is perhaps surprising that such associations can be detected despite the remoteness of these levels of description, and the fact that behavior is the outcome of an extended developmental process involving interaction of the whole organism with a variable environment. Given (...) that they have been detected, how do such associations inform cognitive-level theories? To investigate this question, we employed a multiscale computational model of development, using a sample domain drawn from the field of language acquisition. The model comprised an artificial neural network model of past-tense acquisition trained using the backpropagation learning algorithm, extended to incorporate population modeling and genetic algorithms. It included five levels of description—four internal: genetic, network, neurocomputation, behavior; and one external: environment. Since the mechanistic assumptions of the model were known and its operation was relatively transparent, we could evaluate whether cross-level associations gave an accurate picture of causal processes. We established that associations could be detected between artificial genes and behavioral variation, even under polygenic assumptions of a many-to-one relationship between genes and neurocomputational parameters, and when an experience-dependent developmental process interceded between the action of genes and the emergence of behavior. We evaluated these associations with respect to their specificity, to their developmental stability, and to their replicability, as well as considering issues of missing heritability and gene–environment interactions. We argue that gene–behavior associations can inform cognitive theory with respect to effect size, specificity, and timing. The model demonstrates a means by which researchers can undertake multiscale modeling with respect to cognition and develop highly specific and complex hypotheses across multiple levels of description. (shrink)
Based in a global array of case studies - Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, and Islamic education in the United States - this volume shows how the discourse concerning educational technology in the Islamic world has emphasized neoliberal and neofundamentalist themes, and argues that the design and implementation of educational technologies in schools would be better accomplished by taking a culturally grounded approach. This approach would be rooted in the context and local needs of learners, with implications and possible application (...) in the Muslim world and beyond. (shrink)
The Reception of Derrida explores the cross-cultural reception of Derrida's work, specifically how that work in all its diversity, has come to be identified with the word deconstruction. In response to this cultural and academic phenomenon, the book examines how Derrida's own understanding of translation and inheritance illuminate the 'translation and transformation' of his own works. Positioned against the misreadings of deconstruction, the book traces the relationship between Derrida's concern with the ethico-political dimension of deconstruction and an authorial legacy. This (...) timely new study is the first book to consider the cultural reception of Derrida's works, and its accessible language and structure help to make this a benchmark amongst introductory Derrida studies. (shrink)