Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Cognitive Science’ Category
Talk at Yeditepe by Sinem Elkatip Hatipoğlu (Sehir) on “Consciousness and Misrepresentation” (21/03/2014)
YEDITEPE UNIVERSITY COGNITIVE SCIENCE SEMINARS (SPRING 2014)
“Consciousness and Misrepresentation”
by Assist. Prof. Dr. Sinem Elkatip Hatipoğlu (Şehir University), on March 21, at 16.00, in Law Building Room 332.
Abstract: No one denies that we humans differ significantly from what one might call our cognitive relatives, i.e. complex machines such as robots or other forms of living beings. However what marks the difference is difficult to pin down. Consciousness has been taken to be one of the best candidates to account for this difference but an account of consciousness is just as difficult to give. In this talk I focus on one particular theory of consciousness, viz. the higher-order theory of consciousness and a troubling aspect of this theory. Higher-order theories assert that a mental state is conscious when there is a higher-order representation of that mental state. For instance the perception of a blue chair is conscious when there is a higher-order representation of the perception. But since representations are not infallible, higher-order theorists embrace the possibility of having a conscious perception of a blue chair where there is a perception of a red chair or even where there is no perception. The former is usually called a misrepresentation and the latter radical misrepresentation. Even though higher-order theories have many virtues, I suggest that the possibility of a radical misrepresentation undermines some of those virtues. As such either the possibility of a radical misrepresentation needs to be denied or the phenomenon of a radical misrepresentation needs to be understood in a different way.
Early Career Scholars Conference in Philosophy of Psychiatry: Overcoming Mind-Brain Dualism in 21st Century Medicine
21-22, November 2014
Center for Philosophy of Science, 817 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA USA 15260
Notification By: July 7, 2014
Email submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions and comments, contact Serife Tekin, email@example.com
Summary: The goal of this conference is to address the crisis in psychiatric research and treatment by exploring the ways in which the mind-brain dualism can be overcome in contemporary psychiatry.
Psychiatry’s aspirations as a branch of medicine are often in conflict with its aspirations as a branch of science. As a branch of medicine, it aims to clinically address the complaints of individuals with mental disorders, including the subjective, mental, and first- person aspects of psychopathology (such as feelings of worthlessness and hallucinations). As a branch of science, on the other hand, it targets the objective, embodied, and third-person correlates of mental distress (such as atypical brain mechanisms and behavioral anomalies). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the psychiatric taxonomy used in the US and increasingly around the world, has traditionally been employed to identify both the scientific and medical targets of psychiatry, as well as in the service of sociological, pedagogical, and forensic projects. In attempting to be everything for psychiatry, however, the manual has succeeded in fully pleasing no one. The virtually universal dissatisfaction with contemporary nosology has led to a tension between critics who argue the way forward is focusing on the needs of the clinic and those who believe psychiatry should work harder to resemble the sciences.
We believe that the resolution of this dilemma is hindered by a contemporary form of dualism, in which psychiatric disorders are seen as either disembodied problems in living or as subtypes of somatic disease. There is a tendency to perceive the etiology of psychiatric disorders as either brain-based (organic or biological), to be investigated by the biomedical sciences, or mind-based (functional or psychological), to be investigated by behavior-based schemas such as the DSM or patient-centered approaches that take a more holistic approach to disorder. There is also a tendency to divide psychiatric treatments into those that directly target the brain, e.g., antidepressants, and those that purportedly target the mind, e.g., cognitive behavior therapy, — often to the detriment of the latter. While significant work has been done to overcome the dualistic conception of persons in the contemporary philosophy of cognitive science and in the philosophy of neuroscience, the results of these debates have not been fully transferred to the domain of psychiatry.
The goal of this conference is to address the crisis in psychiatric research and treatment by exploring the ways in which the mind-brain dualism can be overcome in contemporary psychiatry through an integration of approaches from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science (including philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience) and philosophy of medicine. One goal of such re-evaluation is to reconcile the claim that psychopathology needs to be scientific with the claim that it needs to keep the experience of the sufferer at its core.
Format of Conference: The conference will take place over two days. Eight papers by early career scholars (graduate students, postdocs, and untenured faculty) will be commented on by senior philosophers who have expertise in philosophy of science, philosophy of neuroscience, or philosophy of medicine.
By matching each junior presenter with a senior commentator, our aim is to give junior scholars an opportunity to receive thoughtful and targeted feedback on their work and to facilitate lively discussions. Further, this format will initiate junior-mentor relationships that will help strengthen the philosophy of psychiatry community.
Each presenter will be given 25 minutes for his or her paper, followed by 15 minutes for commentary and 15 minutes for discussion.
If you are a senior scholar and would like to participate in the conference as a speaker or commentator, please contact Serife Tekin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizing Committee: William Bechtel, Trey Boone, Mazviita Shirimuuta, Peter Machamer, Edouard Machery, Ken Schaffner, Kathryn Tabb, and Serife Tekin.
Jennifer Radden, PhD (Professor Emerita of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Boston).
John Sadler, MD (Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Services, University of Texas Southwestern).
Mazviita Chirimuuta (University of Pittsburgh)
Peter Machamer (University of Pittsburgh)
Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh)
Kenneth F. Schaffner (University of Pittsburgh)
Jacqueline Sullivan (Western University)
Jonathan Tsou (Iowa State University)
When & Where: 20 April 2014, full day, Boğaziçi University
Submission Deadline: 8 March 2014
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary research field that seeks to understand the nature of the human mind, in all its implications. The International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS) invites research from all the fields that are connected to cognitive science. The individual disciplines include Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Anthropology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Education. Each discipline brings a set of tools, perspectives, and questions to the table. However, the big picture of the human mind cannot emerge by studying this multi-layered problem with a single lens. Communication and collaboration are essential for the cognitive scientist. It is under these premises that we initiate ISBCS.
One mission of ISBCS is to be a premier academic meeting of the cognitive science community. Established jointly by Bogazici University, Middle East Technical University and Yeditepe University (i.e. by the three universities that offer cognitive science programs in Turkey), ISBCS is planned to be held annually to gather researchers and students from leading national and international centers working on all areas of cognitive science. Our aim is to establish a platform where students can learn about recent research in cognitive science, researchers can network and initiate collaborations, and the participants can receive valuable feedback on their work.
Program Committee (only confirmed members listed here)
Ata Akin, Bilgi University
Varol Akman, Bilkent University
Ethem Alpaydin, Bogazici University
Sonia Amado, Ege University
Canan Aykut Bingöl, Yeditepe University
Haluk Bingöl, Bogazici University
Hüseyin Boyaci, Bilkent University
Resit Canbeyli, Bogazici University
Banu Cangöz, Hacettepe University
Kürsat Çagiltay, Middle East Technical University
Hilmi Demir, Bilkent University
Tamer Demiralp, Istanbul University
Ulas Basar Gezgin, Istanbul Gelişim University
Didem Gökçay, Middle East Technical University
Bülent Gözkan, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University
Burak Güçlü, Bogazici University
Sami Gülgöz, Koç University
Hakan Gürvit, Istanbul University
Altay Güvenir, Bilkent University
Bipin Indurkhya, Jagiellonian University
Aylin Küntay, Koç University
Mine Nakipoglu, Bogazici University
Sumru Özsoy, Bogazici University
Işık Özge Öztürk, Princeton University
Ilhan Raman, Middlesex University
Cem Say, Bogazici University
Gün R. Semin, Utrecht University
Serkan Sener, Yeditepe University
Oguz Tanridag, Üsküdar University
Ali Tekcan, Bogazici University
Lucas Thorpe, Bogazici University
Aziz Zambak, Middle East Technical University
Deniz Zeyrek, Middle East Technical University
CFP: 1st International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS) 20 April 2014, Bogazici University, Istanbul
1st International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS)
will take place on 20 April 2014, Bogazici University, Istanbul
Deadline for submission of papers is 2 March 2014. Details can be found here.
Peter Hagoort (Radboud) will give a talk at Koc University on Monday December 23rd from 5-7pm. on:
“On Speaking Terms with the Social Brain”
Details can be found here.
ABSTRACT: Despite a large amount of genetic overlap between humans and other primates, the expansion of the human brain is both substantial and remarkable. Two interrelated evolutionary developments might have provided the selectional pressures that resulted in our enlarged brains. One is the increased complexity of the social organization in human tribes. The other is the emergence of an intricate and open-ended communication system: language. I will discuss recent evidence from brain imaging that provides insights into the psychological and neurobiological infrastructure for our social behaviour and for human communication. I will show that social conformity in humans is regulated by dopamine in the reward system. I will also show that inferences about the intentions behind the exchange of linguistic utterances depend on the Theory of Mind network in the brain. Moreover, the brain measures indicate substantial individual differences, explaining why not all humans are equally equipped with social and communicative skills.
Talk at Bogazici: Jesse Prinz (CUNY-Graduate Center) “Neo-Empiricism: Grounding Concepts in Perception” (05/06/2013)
Jesse Prinz (CUNY- Graduate Centre) will give a talk on Wednesday (05/06/2013) from 5-7pm, at Bogazici (Room TB130) on:
“Neo-Empiricism: Grounding Concepts in Perception”
Jesse J. Prinz is a Distinguished Professor of philosophy and director of the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at theCity University of New York, Graduate Center. He took his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the direction of Murat Aydede. His books include: Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis (MIT: 2002), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (OUP: 2004), The Emotional Construction of Morals (OUP: 2007), Beyond Human Nature (Penguin/Norton: 2012).
Radu Bogdan (Tulane) will give a talk on Friday, May 24th, from 5-7pm in TB130:
“Imagination: Roots and Reasons.”
Radu Bogdan is a professor of philosophy of and director of the cognitive science program at Tulane university. He is the author of numerous articles and five books: Our Own Minds: Sociocultural Grounds for Self-Consciousness (MIT, 2010), Predicative Minds: The Social Ontogeny of Propositional Thinking (MIT 2009), Minding Minds (MIT, 2003), Interpreting Minds (MIT, 2003) and Grounds for Cognition (Psychology Press, 1994).
The Cognitive Science program of Bogazici University cordially invites all interested parties to the following events.
1) Philosophy-Cognitive Science Workshop: The Quest for Rationality
Wednesday, 8 May 2013, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Bogazici University, Computer Engineering Building (ETA) Ali Vahit Sahiner seminar room A 16 [North Campus, the building next to the Library]
Oguz Tanridag (Uskudar University and Neuropsychiatry Hospital Istanbul),
“Decision Making in the Brain.”
Gideon Keren (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research),
“Pondering about Rationality and its Meanings: Being Rational, Irrational, and In-Between.”
2) Cognitive Science Lunch Talk
Thursday, 9 May 2013, 11:00-12:00
Venue: Bogazici University, Computer Engineering Building (ETA) Ali Vahit Sahiner seminar room A 16 [North Campus, the building next to the Library]
Gideon Keren (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research)
“Perspectives on Framing – Theory and Applications”
Abstracts and bios are below.
“Pondering about rationality and its meanings: Being rational, irrational, and in-between”
Rationality is an overloaded term viewed differently from different perspectives. In this talk I will contrast two perspectives: The one derived from “Homo Economicus” underlying standard economic theory, and the psychological one based on psychological theory and related experiments. While Standard economic theory is founded on formal requirements of rationality (derived from a logico- mathematical perspective), human behavior is often based on more loose criteria of intuitions and commonsense. Experimental demonstrations will be presented exhibiting some incongruence between the economic view and actual human behavior. In an attempt to reconcile between the two perspectives, I propose that rationality is not about objective states of the world but about mental representations of these states which have to be taken into account on any discussion pertaining to rationality.
“Decision making in the brain”
Decision making process has been one of the recent research areas in neuroscience. Despite the fact that its monumental case, Phineas Gage, appeared in the literature in mid-19 th century, brain mechanisms underlying decision making have not come to the attention of neuroscientists until mid- 20 th century when behavioral neurology was re-established. There are five functional networks in the human brain; executive, language, limbic, what and where networks. Decision making in the brain takes place in one of them: executive network. There are mainly three functional sub-units of the executive network which lie into the prefrontal cortex; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), Ventromedian Prefrontal Cortex (vmPFC) and Orbitofrontal Cortex (OFC). DLPFC is the area of cognitive control, vmPFC is the area of brain’s attention and reward mechanisms and OFC is the area of emotional control. It has been suggested that vmPFC play crucial role in decision making. The hypothesis of this action is Somatic Marker Hypothesis in which bodily receptors called somatic markers urge brain whenever a new event happens which requires decision making. The brain center of the somatic markers has been located in vmPFC by functional imaging studies. However,more recent studies suggested that this area would not be a single area for decision making and additional mechanisms are warranted such as cultural factors, age and two other areas of the prefrontal cortex; dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal cortices, because decison making also requires cognitive and emotional controls.
“Perspectives on Framing – Theory and Applications”
The ubiquity and robustness of framing effects [i.e., interpreting the same message in different ways depending on how it is formulated] in different domains of psychology and beyond it can hardly be denied. Framing, in its most abstract interpretation, implies the composition of different parts of a message according to a particular design. It can refer to a construction (e.g., frame of a building), to a surrounding or a border (e.g., frame of a picture), to a state of mind (e.g., she is in a happy frame of mind), or to the linguistic composition of a sentence or an utterance. What all these usages have in common is that they afford a certain structural basis or, in perceptual terminology, determine the Gestalt of the message. My presentation will center on linguistic and psychological aspects of framing, examining the consequences of employing different message frames. I will review different types of framing effects, linguistic and non-linguistic ones, underlining both their theoretical and applied facets. Framing can be analyzed within different theoretical frameworks which will be briefly described. While no unifying theory of framing exists, the analogy with basic perceptual processes will be accentuated. Applications of framing effects in different domains such as health care, the court, marketing and Experimenter-subject interaction in an experiment, will be discussed. Implications of framing for rational choice theory will be examined.
Prof. Gideon Keren studied Economics and Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is presently at TIBER (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research), Dept. of Social Psychology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Prof Keren’s research is in decision making and behavioral economics. His research areas include coping with uncertainty and calibration of probabilities, interpretations of probability, gambling behavior, unique vs. repeated gambles, framing, and trust. His books include “Statistical and methodological issues in psychology and social sciences research” (1982), “A Handbook for Data Analysis in the Behavioral Sciences:Methodological Issues” (1993), “Perspectives on Framing” (2010).
Prof. Oğuz Tanrıdağ, MD, is a professor at Uskudar University, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, and the head of the Neurology unit of NPI, the Neuropsychiatry Hospital Istanbul. Dr. Tanrıdağ studied medicine at the Istanbul University (1975), and was a researcher at Vanderbilt University Neurology Department, and GATA Neurology. He became a full professor in 1993. He served as the editor-in-chief of the Turkish Journal of Neurology. He initiated the International Cognitive Neuroscience Meetings, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, and is one of the most important gatherings of the Turkish cognitive science community.
Participation is free. If you have any questions, you can contact Albert Ali Salah at email@example.com or at 0212 359 7774.
Our special issue of Review of Philosophy and Psychology is now out:
- Kourken Michaelian, John Sutton. Distributed Cognition and Memory Research: History and Current Directions
- Robert D. Rupert. Memory, Natural Kinds, and Cognitive Extension; or, Martians Don’t Remember, and Cognitive Science Is Not about Cognition
- Deborah P. Tollefsen, Rick Dale, Alexandra Paxton. Alignment, Transactive Memory, and Collective Cognitive Systems
- Georg Theiner. Transactive Memory Systems: A Mechanistic Analysis of Emergent Group Memory
- Martin M. Fagin, Jeremy K. Yamashiro, William C. Hirst. The Adaptive Function of Distributed Remembering: Contributions to the Formation of Collective Memory
- Robert W. Clowes. The Cognitive Integration of E-Memory
- Santiago Arango-Muñoz. Scaffolded Memory and Metacognitive Feelings
- Nils Dahlbäck, Mattias Kristiansson, Fredrik Stjernberg. Distributed Remembering Through Active Structuring of Activities and Environments
- Paul Loader. Is my Memory an Extended Notebook?
My debut book, The Peripheral Mind. Philosophy of Mind and the Peripheral Nervous System (OUP, 2013) now on pre-sale. Check out the official FB page of the book for all the relevant links. The cover art by Alex Robciuc, as well as advance praise by Shaun Gallagher are pasted below. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »
Talk at Bogazici: Thomas Metzinger (Mainz) on “Body Representation and Self-Consciousness: From Embodiment to Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood” 04/12/2012
Thomas Metzinger (Mainz) will give a talk at Bogazici on Tuesday, December 4th, from 5-7pm in TB130:
“Body Representation and Self-Consciousness:
From Embodiment to Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood.”
ABSTRACT: As a philosopher, I am interested in the relationship between body representation and the deep structure of self-consciousness. My epistemic goal in this lecture will be the simplest form of phenomenal self-consciousness: What exactly are the essential non-conceptual, pre-reflexive layers in conscious self-representation? What constitutes a minimal phenomenal self? Conceptually, I will defend the claim that agency is not part of the metaphysically necessary supervenience-basis for bodily self-consciousness. Empirically, I will draw on recent research focusing on out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and full-body illusions (FBIs). I will then proceed to sketch a new research program and advertise a new research target: “Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood”, ending with an informal argument for the thesis that agency or “global control”, phenomenologically as well as functionally, is not a necessary condition for self-consciousness.
Thomas Metzinger is a leading contemporary German philosopher. He has been active since the early 1990s in the promotion of consciousness studies as an academic endeavour. As a co-founder, he has been particularly active in the organization of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC), and sat on the board of directors of that organisation from 1995 to 2008. He served as president of the ASSC in 2009/10. Metzinger is director of the MIND group and has been president of the German cognitive science society from 2005 to 2007. In 2003 Metzinger published the monograph Being No One. In this book he argues that no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. He argues that the phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a “transparent self-model.” In 2009 Metzinger published a follow-up book to Being No One for a general audience: The Ego Tunnel. In English he has also published two edited works, Conscious Experience (1995), and Neural correlates of consciousness: empirical and conceptual issues (2000).
Brains, Mind and Language #2
A philosophy/cognitive science workshop.
Saturday 24/11/2012, 1pm-6pm Venue: TB130 [This is on the ground floor of the philosophy department. As the building is closed at weekends, one should enter from the back of the building).
13:00 – 14:30
Emrah Aktunc (Philosophy)
“Resolving Duhemian Problems in Cognitive Neuroscience”
14:45 – 16:15
Annette Hohenberger (Cognitive Science Department, Informatics Institute, ÖDTU)
“The Understanding of Normativity, Free Will and Emotions in Preschool Children.”
16:30 – 18:00
Oliver Wright (Psychology, Baçheşehir)
“The Whorfian (linguistic relativity) Hypothesis and Empirical Investigations in the Domain of Color.”
Abstracts below the fold:
Istanbul Technical University Talk (23.10 at 13:00). Zsolt Bátori (Budapest University of Technology and Economics). Philosophy of Perception Meets photography
“Philosophy of Perception Meets Photography”
Budapest University of Technology and Economics
23.10. 2012, Tuesday, 13.00
Istanbul technical University
Faculty of Science and Letters
Department of Humanities and Social Science, Seminar Room
In this paper I consider an important aspect of photographic realism that is strongly connected to the debate over photographic transparency, and to the question of what types of processes are to be considered perception proper. Photographic transparency theory holds that in photographs we see the scene photographed as we see objects through eyeglasses or in mirrors. I discuss some of the major arguments for and against transparency, and then I argue that formulating a position first requires an explication of one’s position about the nature of perception (seeing). In order to show what decisions one must make to arrive at a position about seeing, I consider beings with perceptual systems more or less different from ours. This discussion not only enables us to see how relative our notion of photographic realism is to our specific visual capacities, but it also helps to explicitly formulate a position about what conditions one might or might not consider necessary for seeing.! Although I do not argue for or against any of these specific conditions here, my considerations show through what steps the transparency debate may be resolved. This discussion also sheds some light on how to proceed when arguing for or against the (proper) perceptual status of specific perceptual mechanisms.
Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center, and the director of the Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology. He is a leading researcher of socio-cognitive, communicative, and moral development in young children and great apes. His books include Why We Cooperate (MIT Press, 2009); Origins of Human Communication (MIT Press, 2008); Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (Harvard University Press, 2003). His awards and distinctions include Klaus Jacobs Research Prize in 2011, the Wiley Prize in Psychology in 2011, the Hegel Prize in 2009, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997.
Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen) will be giving a talk at Bogazici university on Thursday, September 27th from 5-7pm, entitled ‘”Figuring the self: Can we learn anything from philosophy?”
Venue: Turgut Noyan Salonu (North Campus, next to the library)
Abstract: In both ancient and modern times, the existence of self has been called into question. Frequently, the claim of the self-skeptics has been that the self, if it exists, must be some kind of unchanging and ontologically independent entity. Given that no such entity exists, there is no self. In my talk, I will argue that this philosophical definition of self contrasts rather markedly with how the self is approached, understood, and explored in a variety of empirical disciplines, including developmental psychology, social psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry. I will consider two cases in particular, namely research in autism and the study of facial self-recognition. On the basis of these examples, I will discuss how one ought to conceive of the relationship between philosophical analysis and empirical investigation when it comes to the study of self.
Here are some papers that might be good for background reading:
Dan Zahavi: “The experiential self: Objections and Clarifications. ” In M. Siderits, E. Thompson, D. Zahavi (eds.): Self, no self? Perspectives from Analytical, Phenomenological, & Indian Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 56-78.
Dan Zahavi: “Is the self a social construct?” Inquiry 52/6, 2009, 551-573.
Dan Zahavi: “Self and other: The limits of narrative understanding.” In D.D. Hutto (eds): Narrative and Understanding Persons. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 60.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 179-201.
Dan Zahavi is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen. Zahavi writes on phenomenology and especially the philosophy of EdmundHusserl. He is co-editor of the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, and author of Intentionalität und Konstitution, Husserl und die transzendentale Intersubjektivität, Self-awareness and Alterity, Husserl’s Phenomenology, Subjectivity and Selfhood: Investigating the first-person perspective,Phänomenologie für Einsteiger, and (with Shaun Gallagher) The Phenomenological Mind.
Michael T. Ullman (Georgetown) “A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Neurocognition of First and Second Language”, At Bogazici 17/09/2012
Michael T. Ullman (Departments of Neuroscience, Linguistics, Psychology and Neurology, Georgetown University) on “A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Neurocognition of First and Second Language”
Monday, September 17, 2012, 10:30
Rectorate Conference Hall, Bogazici University. Organised by the Department of Foreign Language Education.
Abstract Increasing evidence suggests that language crucially depends on two long-term memorysystems in the brain, declarative memory and procedural memory. Because the behavioral, anatomical, physiological, molecular and genetic correlates of these two systems are quite well-studied in animals and humans, they lead to specific predictions about language that would not likely be made in the more circumscribed study of language alone. This approachis thus very powerful in being able to generate a wide range of new predictions for language. Iwill first give some background on the two memory systems, and then discuss the manner inwhich language is predicted to depend on them. One of the key concepts is that to some extent the two systems can subserve the same functions (e.g., for navigation, grammar, etc.), and thus they play at least partly redundant roles for these functions. This has a variety of important consequences for normal and disordered language and other cognitive domains. I will then present evidence that basic aspects of language do indeed depend on the two memory systems, though in different ways across different unimpaired and impaired populations. I will discuss normal first and second language, individual and group differences (e.g., sex differences), and our work on disorders, focusing on developmental disorders (e.g., Specific Language Impairment, dyslexia, autism, and Tourette syndrome).
Dr. Ullman is Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, with secondary appointments in the Departments of Linguistics, Psychology and Neurology. He is co-director of the Center for the Brain Basis of Cognition (CBBC), Director of the Brain and Language Lab, and Director of the Georgetown EEG/ERP Laboratory.
An excerpt from the preface:
My approach in this monograph could easily be classified as part of the currently burgeoning “embodied mind” school or trend in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Where it differs from most other works in this field is, I would say, in that (a) it offers a somewhat more focused view of embodiment via offering a conceptual role to the PNS as such in analyzing mental phenomena rather than keeping the discourse at the level of notions like “body” or “action”, (b) it interprets the idea of the embodied mind not as most other philosophers, namely, representationally, as the body in the mind , but literally, namely, the mind as truly distributed over the body (in this sense, viz. of distinguishing it from most other popular approaches, I would rather call my approach “enminded body” than “embodied mind”), and (c) it relies a lot more on first-personal, phenomenological reflection when evaluating various theories about how things stand with the mind, without ending up in purely a priori conceptual analysis, but taking a lot of inspiration from empirical science (almost exclusively from neuroscience). Although most arguments I offer, and even the problems I raise in the book are, to my knowledge, new, the general points enumerated above, (a) to (c) are not totally absent from the current literature. I would especially like to express my intellectual debt to Shaun Gallagher’s work, whose methodology and general approach to various issues was a great inspiration, even if the particular issues and debates he has been involved with are not present in this work.
(cover design: I. Aranyosi, own body PET scan)
“Oral phenomenology” Special Issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Guest Editor: István Aranyosi (Bilkent University)
Csontváry, “Old woman peeling apple”, 1894, (detail)
The philosophy of mind conference Minds, Bodies, and Problems, held at Bilkent University on 7 and 8 June this year, is now over, and based on the feedback from speakers, local faculty, and students, we can indubitably call it a big success. The interest was great, we got a large number of excellent submissions that would have been enough for at least two such conferences. And the post-conference trip to Cappadocia, central Turkey, was simply amazing. Here is a group photo taken there, followed by some afterthoughts and future plans connected to this conference, which we plan to organize every year at Bilkent University.
David Chalmers (NYU and ANU) will be giving a talk at Bogazici. Everyone
“Three Puzzles About Spatial Experience.” Tuesday, June 5, 5:30pm, Old Rector’s Library (Rektörlük Konferans Salonu). In the building behind the green kiosk at BU’s South Campus. Chalmers is one of the best known living philosophers. For those of you not familiar with his work, here’s a link to the Wikipedia page about him.
He will also be giving a talk at the “Minds, Bodies, and Problems” conference, at Bilkent University (Ankara), June 7-8, 2012.
Professor Gordon is the founder of Simulation Theory. As far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong about this) he introduced this expression in his extremely influential 1986 paper ““Folk Psychology as Simulation”.
“The Shared World in Which Minds Meet”
The title is based on William James, writing against Berkeleian idealism:
“Practically, … our minds meet in a world of objects which they share in common…. Your objects are over and over again the same as mine. If I ask you where some object of yours is, our old Memorial Hall, for example, you point to my Memorial Hall with your hand which I see. If you alter an object in your world, put out a candle, for example, when I am present, my candle ipso facto goes out.” (Radical Empiricism)
In the spirit of this quote, I defend a kind of externalist account of folk psychology, grounded in a hypothesis about shared neural representation. Shared representation (strongly overlapping neural implementation) is well‐established for visualizing and seeing, to give just one example; also, for pain and the perception of pain in others. I describe a kind of shared external representation that would cause us to frame our understanding of others in terms of a Jamesian shared world, by default. It is implicit in this default understanding that others have epistemic access to the world – that is, that the facts (as we ourselves believe them to be) are known to others. Shared representation of this sort would seem to support Williamson’s “knowledge first” thesis in epistemology. Although shared external representation would be consistent with a simulation account of folk psychology, it would be consistent with a pluralistic account as well; however, it would not support your typical “belief‐desire theory” theory.
A Joint Bogazici Cognitive-Science and Philosophy Tallk
“What is Neurophilosophy?”
Georg Northoff (Canada Research Chair in Neuropsychiatry)
Monday April 16th, 5-7pm, M1170 (Engineering Building)
Abstract: Neurophilosophy is a young and novel field right at the intersection between neuroscience and philosophy. Unlike more
established disciplines, it has not yet an established method that needs to be developed in the future as part of a future ‘Theoretical
Neurophilosophy’. At the same time though Neurophilosophy is a highly promising field of the future which will be able to provide novel answers to questions discussed in philosophy since more than 3000 years. This will not only enrich neuroscience and provide new ideas for experimental designs but will also change and reverberate in philosophy itself by allowing for a shift from the hitherto mind-based philosophy to a more brain-based neurophilosophy.
Read the rest of this entry »
In my previous post, “Is Truth Beneficial and/or Socially Constructed?,” I mentioned as a counterexample to the pragmatist theory of truth a nightmare a person had which she did not tell anyone about and kept as a secret for the rest of her life. The nightmare was so horrible and embarrassing that every time she remembered her nightmare, she was disturbed. Her life became a nightmare of sorts because of that nightmare.
Actually this kind of scenario is very rare in real life. The fact is that we tend to forget our dreams and nightmares soon after waking up. Even before we get up from bed, most of the content of our dream has already evaporated from our memory. We remember only very few, if any, of our dreams and nightmares in the rest of our lives. The ones we remember for a while are the ones which were extremely interesting or shocking for us, or those we had the chance to tell other people about on many occasions, which kept our memory of them alive. Ask yourself how many of your dreams and nightmares you still remember. I bet very few, if any.
The interesting thing is that we forget even the most vivid of our dreams and most frightful of our nightmares in the twinkling of an eye (unless our memory of them is reinforced by telling other people about them or by intentional recalling, for example). We forget our dreams even though some of them are more vibrant than certain waking experiences which we remember for much longer time.
Psychologists and brain physiologists tell us that dreams serve a useful function for our brain. So we have to have them. But it seems we also have to forget them fast after having them. I think there is a simple evolutionary explanation of this phenomenon. If we were to remember our dreams long after we woke up, we would be disposed to confuse the memories of our dreams with the memories of our waking experiences. Suppose I have a dream in which a friend of mine does something evil to me or an enemy of mine does a big favor for me. If my brain were to retain as lively a memory of that dream as the memories of my real life experiences, I might mistakenly think the contents of my dream correspond to some real experiences of mine that occurred in the past, and my attitude towards my friend or towards my enemy would unnecessarily be affected by that mistake. Such disorientations clearly would have negative survival value and therefore would be blocked by the mechanisms of human evolution. Hence the elusiveness of our dream contents.*
While doing philosophy absolutely requires a certain flexibility of mind and a great deal of inquisitiveness, interdisciplinary science that involves philosophy surely introduces many additional challenges, and promises broader perspectives to the unrelenting scholar. One such area involves the greatest puzzle of our time: the brain! Cognitive sciences look at this magnificently complex organ at different resolutions, attack it with different techniques, scrutinize how it performs its myriads of functions, slice it, dice it, model it, and then try to integrate everything that can be said about it into something the poor scholar can deal with… An arduous task!
One of the two established Cognitive Science programs in Turkey is the Cognitive Science MA program of Boğaziçi University, to which the Philosophy Department naturally contributes, in addition to Computer Engineering, Linguistics, and Psychology disciplines. Its aim is to introduce the students to the investigation of cognitive processes at various dimensions.
This program is now admitting students for the 2012-2013 term. The application period is 2-24 April 2012, so please circulate this among people who might be interested. More information is available on the program webpages: http://www.cogsci.boun.edu.tr
If you are interested in Cognitive Science in Turkey, please join the Bilişsel Bilim LinkedIn group, jointly maintained by Boğaziçi and ODTÜ Cognitive Science programs. Jointly organized conferences, colloquia and such will be announced there. If you don’t like LinkedIn, we do have social media alternatives, send salah [at] boun.edu.tr an e-mail and keep in touch! Read the rest of this entry »