830 201 principles of cognitive science (spring 07)[notes]

830 201 principles of cognitive science (spring 07)[notes]...

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1/17/07 830:201:02 Principles of Cognitive Science Prof. Michael Leyton Required Book: “Symmetry, Causality, Mind” Michael Leyton (MIT Press) Exam: Only one final: The easiest arrangement possible!! 50 multiple-choice questions Tests both the (1) lecture notes + (2) the readings from the book assigned for homework Recommendation: Write down all the notes given in class – very valuable for review!!! List of readings given during the semester: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 5, Chapter 8 pages 477-566 Chapter 9 (i.e., missing out Chapters 3,4,6,7) I. Cognitive Science A. Different divisions of psychology: social, adult dev., physiological, etc. B. Cognitive: studies of our minds with respect to information C. Cognitive Science = the study of the knowledge functions of the mind D. What is knowledge? i. Allen Newell’s answer: 1. Newell’s definition of knowledge a. Newell says: “If you look at a creature, and it is behaving with sufficient flexibility, complexity, and adaptivity, then you will want to say that it possesses knowledge.” b. So he defines knowledge in terms of what it allows creatures to do. 2. However: this does not actually say what knowledge is!!! ii. Leyton’s theory : 1. Newell’s theory does not define knowledge directly . 2. Leyton gives the following direct definition of knowledge: a. KNOWLEDGE IS CAUSAL EXPLANATION i. (Explaining how things are caused.) b. Furthermore: i. A cognitive system , i.e. a mind , is something that forms and manipulates causal explanations. c. Furthermore: i. Causal explanation and memory are essentially equivalent. iii. This class will present Leyton’s theory , as opposed to Newell’s. II.Introduction (p.1 of book) A. How is memory related to causal explanation? i. Imagine entering a New York subway station. ii. You see a dented garbage can. 1. The garbage can was dented before you arrived, e.g. weeks ago! a. Yet the present shape tells you that there was an event in the past, where something smashed into the can. iii. So you extracted information about the past, from the object. 1. But: memory = information about the past. 2. Therefore, since the garbage can has information about the past , it has memory (for you). 1/22/07
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II. Introduction (p.1 of book) cont’d A. How is this related to causal explanation? i. Answer: you derive the information about the past (memory) by causally explaining how the garbage can got to have its present state. 1. That is: a. One converts an object into memory by causally explaining it b. Leyton claims: all memory works in this way c. Therefore: i. DEFINITION OF MEMORY: ii. Memory is: (1) a physical object, that (2) has a certain state in the present, which (3) an observer causally explains, i.e. explains how the present state was caused. iii. (1) ex.: O.J. Simpson murder trial physical evidence d. We say that the observer converts the object into memory i. The object might be in the external environment of the observer, (e.g. a dented garbage can) ii. Or, it might be a piece of neuronal material inside the observer B. Why do we need memory?
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This note was uploaded on 05/06/2008 for the course 830 201 taught by Professor Leyton during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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830 201 principles of cognitive science (spring 07)[notes]...

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