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09-23 Intro to Cog Sci Lecture 7

09-23 Intro to Cog Sci Lecture 7 - Introduction to...

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Introduction to Cognitive Science Lecture 7: 9/23/09 Outline: Dualism Evolution Turing Machines Methods in Cognitive Science Dualism - The mind is something weird, something else, something special, something we can’t explain - Scholl: This isn’t about what you should believe. You can believe things for NO REASON! We will treat the mind as a natural part of the world that is no different from the body. We believe thus that the mind is the result of evolution – which is how other body parts originated. - Darwin to Alberto Mosi Evolution - The mind-body problem used to be a mystery. Remember that a mystery arises when we have no clue about what the outline of an answer would be. - Darwin turned the mystery of the origins of the natural world into a problem of working out the details. - Pre-Darwin: There was only a religion answer. People said there was no way to explain the wondrous diversity of nature. - http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/ - The most common mistake people make: It is NOT a theory of possibility or how something could have happened. It’s a theory of how things MUST have happened A Simple Idea? Quote from “The Moral Animal” by Wright o …the theory of natural selection is a small and simple theory… In more detail: 5 steps 1) Reproductive Math – organisms have many offspring, who also have many offspring, etc. This leads to a geometrically growing population 2) Crunch time ! – This population will grow too large for the available resources, resulting in a ‘crunch time’ (Daniel Dennett). It is ALWAYS CRUNCH TIME. So who wins? 3) Darwin’s 1 st Insight : It’s NOT a lottery! – If, at crunch time, there is any significant variation among the contestants, then any advantages enjoyed by any of the contestants would bias the sample that reproduced (beyond a simple lottery). 4) Darwin’s 2 nd Insight: Inheritance – If there is a strong principle of inheritance, then any biasing advantages (however small) would become amplified over time, creating indefinitely growing trends. a. If a mutant produces just 1% more offspring than its rivals, it can increase its representation in the population from 0.1% to 99.9% in just over 4000 generations b. “A grain in the balance will determine which individuals shall live and which shall die – which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become instinct.” – Darwin 5) The best idea of all time! – What Darwin saw was that if one merely supposed these few general conditions to apply at crunch time (and he had ample evidence), the resulting process would necessarily result in future generations…” 2 Sentences “If during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life…” – Darwin
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Evolutionary logic lies behind everything we talk about in this course. The design of the mind comes from
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