Stephen J. Crowley and Colin Allen
This article focuses on comparative psychology, ethology, and cognitive ethology which explain animal behaviour. The same old questions raised by ancient Greek are discussed by scientists today. Morgan's pioneer work show that a quantitative approach to the physical features of animals and their behavioral products was not beyond imagination. He believed that a scientific understanding of the mental states of animals depends on a “double inductive” process, combining inductive inferences based on observation of animal behavior with knowledge of our own minds. The ethological work concentrated on non-mammalian species. Later “cognitive ethology” was used to describe the research program which combines both cognitive science and classical ethology. The fact that emotion plays a more significant role in animal behaviour was inferred. There have been various attempts to develop a fully integrative approach to animal behavior, but the study of behavior moves in different directions.
Diane Proudfoot and B. Jack Copeland
In this article the central philosophical issues concerning human-level artificial intelligence (AI) are presented. AI largely changed direction in the 1980s and 1990s, concentrating on building domain-specific systems and on sub-goals such as self-organization, self-repair, and reliability. Computer scientists aimed to construct intelligence amplifiers for human beings, rather than imitation humans. Turing based his test on a computer-imitates-human game, describing three versions of this game in 1948, 1950, and 1952. The famous version appears in a 1950 article in Mind, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ (Turing 1950). The interpretation of Turing's test is that it provides an operational definition of intelligence (or thinking) in machines, in terms of behavior. ‘Intelligent Machinery’ sets out the thesis that whether an entity is intelligent is determined in part by our responses to the entity's behavior. Wittgenstein frequently employed the idea of a human being acting like a reliable machine. A ‘living reading-machine’ is a human being or other creature that is given written signs, for example Chinese characters, arithmetical symbols, logical symbols, or musical notation, and who produces text spoken aloud, solutions to arithmetical problems, and proofs of logical theorems. Wittgenstein mentions that an entity that manipulates symbols genuinely reads only if he or she has a particular history, involving learning and training, and participates in a social environment that includes normative constraints and further uses of the symbols.
Sarah K. Robins and Carl F. Craver
This article examines the concept of mechanistic explanation by considering the mechanism of circadian rhythm or biological clocks. It provides an account of mechanistic explanation and some common failures of mechanistic explanation and discusses the sense in which mechanistic explanations typically span multiple levels. The article suggests that models that describe mechanisms are more useful for the purposes of manipulation and control than are scientific models that do not describe mechanisms. It comments on the criticism that the mechanistic explanation is far too simple to fully express the complexity of real explanations in neuroscience and that neuroscientific explanations require emergent properties that cannot be explained by decomposition into the parts, activities, and organizational features that constitute the mechanism.
Ruth Garrett Millikan
The term ‘biosemantics’ has usually been applied only to the theory of mental representation. This article first characterizes a more general class of theories called ‘teleological theories of mental content’ of which biosemantics is an example. Then it discusses the details that distinguish biosemantics from other naturalistic teleological theories. Naturalistic theories of mental representation attempt to explain, in terms designed to fit within the natural sciences, what it is about a mental representation that makes it represent something. Frequently these theories have been classified as either picture theories, causal or covariation theories, information theories, functionalist or causal-role theories, or teleological theories, the assumption being that these various categories are side by side with one another.
Over the latter half of the last century English-speaking philosophy became increasingly committed to naturalistic doctrines. Much of this naturalistic turn can be attributed to the widespread acceptance of the thesis that the physical realm is causally closed. This article contains four sections. The first section offers an initial formulation of the thesis that physics is causally closed and explains its immediate implications. The second section then discusses the evidence for the thesis from a historical perspective. The third section considers ways of making the thesis properly precise. Finally, the fourth section explores the connections between the thesis and the more general issue of naturalism.
Rick Grush and Lisa Damm
The article explores the relationship between cognition and the brain. Some researches indicate that emotions provide information, anticipate future responses, influence reasoning strategy, index value, and direct attention toward particular objects but few psychologists have attempted to incorporate these results into an integrative general theory of cognition and emotion. Antonio Damasio claims that emotions are primarily representations of somatic states, including visceral and musculoskeletal, at the psychological level. The relationship between the event type and the associated emotional reaction is learned so that when the same type of event is encountered, or the same type of action considered, it can induce the corresponding emotion and the valance of that emotion can influence how the agent behaves in that situation. Damasio argued that somatic markers help facilitate reasoning by providing a rapid processing of potential decision outcomes based on immediate endorsement or rejection, which then helps constrain the decision-making space to a manageable size for which it becomes reasonable to employ more traditional means of evaluation such as cost-benefit analysis on the remaining options. Berthoz argued that the brain is a simulator of action and a generator of hypotheses such that anticipating and predicting the consequences of actions based on the remembered past is one of the basic properties of the brain.
The so-called ‘cognitive revolution’ in American psychology owed much to developments in adjacent disciplines, especially theoretical linguistics and computer science. Indeed, the cognitive revolution brought forth not only a change in the conception of psychology, but also an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mind, involving philosophy, anthropology, and neuroscience along with computer science, linguistics, and psychology. Many commentators agree in dating the conception of this interdisciplinary approach, cognitive science, to 11 September 1956, the second day of a symposium on information theory held at MIT. Over the next twenty years or so, cognitive science developed an institutional presence through research centres, conferences, journals, and a substantial infusion of funds from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Morris N. Eagle
This chapter is primarily concerned with the scientific status of psychoanalysis as a theory of psychological functioning rather than as a form of treatment. It argues that certain characteristics of psychoanalysis, including theoretical formulations that are often obscure and untethered to observation, the proliferation of psychoanalytic ‘schools’, and habits of mind inculcated in psychoanalytic training and education count against according scientific status to psychoanalysis. The chapter also notes that psychoanalytic formulations have generated a good deal of research on psychological functioning and have yielded important insights into the nature of mind. It suggests that psychoanalytic education and training needs to change in ways that succeed in attenuating loyalty to particular psychoanalytic ‘schools’ and that encourage openness to empirical evidence and research and the operation of other self-corrective processes.
Eric Racine and Judy Illes
This article examines the implications of emergentism for research in philosophy and neurotechnology and evaluates the capabilities of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) to enhance brain function. It argues that the emergentist approach, for which reduction is necessary but insufficient to understand the higher level properties of the self, provides the strongest option for guiding the present ethical debate concerning BMI. The article suggests that BMI constitutes groundbreaking therapeutic interventions because it leads to a more complete ethical analysis that includes scientific, normative, and cultural considerations.
Ben Jeffares and Kim Sterelny
The article presents several models of evolutionary psychology. Nativist evolutionary psychology is built around a most important insight that ordinary human decision-making has a high cognitive load. Evolutionary nativists defend a modular solution to the problem of information load on human decision-making. Human minds comprises of special purpose cognitive devices or modules. One of the modules is a language module, a module for interpreting the thoughts and intentions of others, another is a ‘naive physics’ module for causal reasoning about sticks, stones, and similar inanimate objects, a natural history module for ecological decisions, and a social exchange module for monitoring economic interactions with peers. These modules evolved in response to the distinctive, independent, and recurring problems faced by the ancestors. Domain specific modules handle information about human language, human minds, inanimate causal interactions, the biological world, and other constant adaptive demands faced by human ancestors. Nativist evolutionary psychologists have turned to moral decision making, arguing that cross-cultural moral judgments are invariant in an unexpected way. Natural selection can build and equip a special purpose module only if the information an agent needs to know is stable over evolutionary time. Automatized skills are an alternative means of coping with high-load problems. These skills are phenomenologically rather like modules, but they have very different developmental and evolutionary histories.
The aim of the article is to review existing work in experimental philosophy. The experimental philosophy seeks to examine the phenomena that have been traditionally associated with philosophy using the methods that have more recently been developed within cognitive science. Conceptual analysis frequently relies on appeals to intuition, but it is rarely made clear precisely whose intuitions are being discussed. The emphasis in cross-cultural work in experimental philosophy has been shifting toward the study of moral judgments, with papers exploring cross-cultural differences in intuitions about consequentialism and moral responsibility. Philosophers have been working on the relationship between moral responsibility and determinism. One of the key points of contention is whether moral responsibility and determinism are compatible or incompatible. Philosophers working within the framework of the analytic project have long engaged in the study of people's intuitions, but their real interest has not typically been in human beings and the way they think. They work to understand the true nature of the properties and relations that people's concepts pick out. Some philosophers believe that the most important and fundamental issues are somehow getting overlooked as researchers turn more and more to empirically informed work in cognitive science.
Valerie Gray Hardcastle and C. Matthew Stewart
This article examines the application of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in neuroscience, particularly in the imaging of pain. It provides a brief primer on functional magnetic imaging techniques and describes pain processing and pain inhibiting systems. It discusses experiments where fMRI has illustrated what has gone wrong in the pain network's response to stimuli and suggests that imaging studies of pain have a crucial role to play in diagnosing pain disorders as well as advancing a theoretical framework for explaining them. It also offers suggestions for how to improve fMRI experiments and their theoretical implications.
The problem of mental causation is essentially coeval with the mind–body problem. Descartes arguably invented the latter when, in Meditation 2, he asked ‘But what then am I?’ to which he replied ‘A thing which thinks’, and then went on to argue, in Meditation 6, that ‘it is certain that this I is entirely and absolutely distinct from my body, and can exist without it’. As every student of western philosophy knows, Descartes's view was that minds and bodies constitute two disjoint categories of substance: minds are immaterial substances whose essential nature is thinking, while bodies are material substances located in physical space whose essence consists in being extended in space. Presumably, substance dualism of this form was not startling news to anyone at the time. However, Descartes, alone among the great rationalists of his day, urged a further view: minds and bodies are in causal interaction with each other, minds influencing bodies in voluntary actions and bodies influencing minds in perception and sensation.
Cei Maslen, Terry Horgan, and Helen Daly
Mental causation is held so dear because it seems essential in order for people to do anything (at least voluntarily). If one accepts Davidson's view that motivating reasons are causes, then (as Kim puts it) ‘agency is possible only if mental causation is possible’. Many kinds of mental items are supposed to be causes: beliefs, desires, sensations, emotions, the contents of beliefs and desires, and the phenomenal mental properties of sensations and beliefs (i.e. those properties such that there is ‘something it is like’ to experience them, if sensations and beliefs have such properties). Not only are mental states supposed to be causes (and effects), but so also are mental properties.
Anthony Chemero and Charles J. Heyser
This article looks at the research methodologies in behavioral neurosciences focusing on reductionism and object exploration procedures for rodents. It provides a brief description of reduction and reductionism and describes the object exploration methodology as it is used in behavioral neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and psychopharmacology. It discusses three of a series of experiments conducted using the object exploration methodology which showed that the affordances of the to-be-explored objects affect the way rodents explore objects. It concludes that neuroscientists, even those who focus their research on genes or neurotransmitter effects, must attend closely to the details of behavior and that neuroscientists who use the object exploration methodology must adopt an extended cognition approach.
This article examines the behavioural aspects and the molecular and cellular processes in the brain associated with memory consolidation. It suggests that ruthless reduction and mechanistic reduction are both reductionist in that they recognize the importance of seeking knowledge of brain processes at different levels of organization to understand cognitive function. They are also united in standing opposed to the attempts to divorce psychology and cognitive science from being constrained by our rapidly growing knowledge of brain processes and they both agree that information about molecular and cellular processes is also of potentially great relevance to understanding memory consolidation.
This article aims to examine the possible relation between neuroanatomy and cosmology. It describes brain-wiring optimization and suggests that such extreme neural network organization is a prerequisite for brain functioning, and it states that it is possible that other set of brain-enabling conditions of the universe exist. It also discusses the relation between brain-wiring minimization and optimization landscapes and between brain-wiring optimization and the anthropic principle.
Eric Racine and Veljko Dubljević
This article reviews different points of interest in neuroethics. These are exemplified by the three broad areas of neuroscience research—neuroimaging, neuropharmacology, and neurostimulation—and the major ethical questions with which they are associated. It considers primary research in neuroscience, ethics, and philosophy and identifies some important questions meriting further attention, primarily in the context of healthcare but also beyond, in the broad areas of education, business, and the military. A heavily debated trend, that of the enhancement use of neuropharmaceuticals and neurostimulation devices, is also discussed, especially in relationship to cognitive enhancement and neuroethics. In addition, emerging forms of neurostimulation are considered with respect to effectiveness and ethics.
Lynne Rudder Baker
The expression ‘non-reductive materialism’ refers to a variety of positions whose roots lie in attempts to solve the mind–body problem. Proponents of non-reductive materialism hold that the mental is ontologically part of the material world; yet mental properties are causally efficacious without being reducible to physical properties. After setting out a minimal schema for non-reductive materialism (NRM) as an ontological position, this article canvasses some classical arguments in favour of NRM. Then it discusses the major challenge facing any construal of NRM: the problem of mental causation, pressed by Jaegwon Kim. Finally, it offers a new solution to the problem of mental causation.
Three views of the orientation of the perceptual field are discussed. According to the simple orientation view, the perceptual field itself is an absolute space, and the positions of perceptual objects are intrinsic phenomenal qualities. The sophisticated orientation view rejects the claim that perceived space is intrinsically oriented, and locates the apparent orientation of the perceptual field at the level of egocentric perceptual modes of presentation. Finally, the no-orientation view proposes that the orientation of the perceptual field is due to post-perceptual (e.g. memory) processes. In conclusion, it is suggested that the notion of a frame of reference can be applied at three different levels: the ontological level of perceived position, the conscious level of how perceived position is presented to the subject, and the subpersonal level of the cognitive mechanisms underlying conscious perception.