philosophy - • Important Philosophical Concepts...

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Unformatted text preview: • Important Philosophical Concepts Underlying Cognitive Science Dualism o The belief that the body is physical while the mind is something else (e.g., spirit, mental energy,…) o Not popular within science o But almost all people believed this before the modern age and most people still do believe this o Rene Descartes Usually credited with this philosophy Actually Descartes created a theory of how dualism fit with new discoveries Influenced by anatomy and machines Body, including the nervous system, is a biological machine The mind (volitional action, rational thought) is not physical Mind controls the body through the nervous system Brain is used to communicate between mind and nervous system • Pineal gland Descartes was influenced by religion, so this is one reason that he did not say the mind is a machine But also there was no such thing as a machine that could think at that time So it was hard to see how a mind could be a machine o The existence of a thinking machine – computers – greatly weakens the arguments for dualism o But we still have consciousness Materialism o Everything that actually exists is material, or physical No gods, fairies, magic, ESP, etc. o The essence of something is what it is made of Reductionism Study things by taking them apart o The mind is a biological machine, just like the body o So it has to be possible for biological machines to think And be conscious o The brain causes behavior therefore to understand behavior we need to understand the physical workings of the brain o Genetics causes the brain so we need to understand that as well Materialist dualism o Everything exists physically o But the mind is not all in the brain So where is it o Physics Chalmers • • • • • Consciousness is something from physics that attaches itself to biological information processors • Just as gravity attaches itself to things with mass o Quantum Physics Penrose and Hameroff Consciousness arises from the quantum physics underlying neurons o Emergent property The mind exists in the interaction between the brain and the outer world • Dynamic systems theory • Affordances o Distributed The mind is distributed across people and things It just seems like it’s in your head • Situated action • Distributed cognition • Extended world hypothesis Functionalism o Popularized in Psychology by William James o Very important for Cognitive Science o The view that the essence of something is its function What it's for How it works o Can study the brain without taking it apart!!! Just study what functions it performs o Most concepts in psychology are defined and studied from a functional perspective Attention Emotion Memory Perception Attitudes Personality o Computers can think and be conscious if they carry out the same functions as the mind Materialism and Functionalism o Different approaches to studying the mind o Most Psychologists and Cognitive Scientists view them as complimentary o Materialist dualism is accepted but…. More recent development Focus is still mainly on mind equals brain The Computer Metaphor o Computers are thinking machines o if the brain is a biological machine (materialism) • • • • o then a machine made of different material could perform the same functions o and therefore should be able to do all the same things o and have all the same experiences (functionalism) Adaptation o Evolution Charles Darwin The mind evolved as an adaptation to the environment o Learning People can find solutions to novel problems and learn from others We adapt by learning o We are not studying something that stands still Modularity o Noam Chomsky, Jerry Fodor o Idea that the mind is made up of specialized modules o Similar to a computer o Physical modularity Different parts of the brain do different things o Functional modularity Different functions of the brain operated more or less independently May or may not be separate brain areas Systems Levels o Alan Newell o Takes system level idea from computer science Hardware Operating system Programs, data Internet o Human behavior can be similarly understood at different levels Neural level Cognitive level Knowledge level Social level o Top down versus bottom up effects o System leakiness Framing research o Adaptation Are we studying something that is learned or evolved? Or both? o Modularity What part of the mind are we studying? How many parts are involved? o System levels At what level of analysis are we studying it? ...
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