[SydPhil] Cognition in Context (CiC) 2014 - Cognition Wars - Macquarie University April 7, 2014 - Workshop Reminder

Mirko Farina farinamirko at gmail.com
Wed Apr 2 10:33:11 AEDT 2014

Announcement: Cognition in Context (CiC) 2014 Seminar Series

*Cognition Wars *

Workshop with Professor *Fred Adams* (University of Delaware); Dr. *David
Kaplan* (Macquarie University); Dr. *Karola Stotz* (Macquarie University)
[April 7th, 2014].

(Usual apologies for cross-posting this message)

Dear all,

On Monday 7 April 2014, Professor Fred Adams (Department of Philosophy,
University of Delaware), Dr David Kaplan (Department of Cognitive Science,
Macquarie University), and Dr Karola Stotz (Department of Philosophy,
Macquarie University) will present three papers at a workshop entitled
Wars*'. The workshop will take place at the Department of Cognitive Science
[ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD)], Macquarie
University. Professor Fred Adams (http://udel.edu/~fa/); Dr. David Kaplan (
http://www.ccd.edu.au/people/profile.php?memberID=1066) and Dr. Karola
Stotz (http://paul.representinggenes.org/Stotz/) are prominent philosophers
of mind, biology, and cognition.

Attendance to the workshop is free and registration is not required.

*Time*: Monday April 7th, 2014, from 2:30 PM until 4:30 PM

*Venue*: Room 3.610, Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub [
http://hearinghub.edu.au/], 16 University Avenue, Macquarie University, NSW

Abstract of the talks (in alphabetical order) available below:

* Title*: 'Cognition Wars'
*Speaker*: Professor *Fred Adams *(Delaware)
*Date and Time*: Monday, 7 April 2014, 2:30PM until 3:15 PM
*Location*: Australian Hearing Hub (AHH), room 3.610, Macquarie University

In case you missed it, there is a war going on over what counts as
cognition. Luckily, it is a war among academics, so likely no one will get
hurt, but it is a war nonetheless. It started with challenges to the
traditional conception of human cognition holding that cognition takes
place in the brain after perception and before motor processing. On the
traditional view, perception was to get information into the brain, then
concepts and reasoning take over, and finally the motor system is employed
to do the mind's bidding. Embodied cognitivists have been challenging this
view of cognition at least since the late 1990s and probably since long
before among continental philosophers. On the embodied view, cognition
literally takes place in the perceptual and motor systems. On the
traditional view, that was never believed to be the case. On the embodied
view, the body itself plays a much larger and more constitutive role in
cognition than on the traditional view of cognition. The war spread to
include theories of extended cognition. These theories claim that the
boundary of the body and brain is an arbitrary one and there is no
principled reason why cognition does not spread out into the environment in
the form of perceptual-motor interaction, tool uses, and other forms of
cognitive off-loading or scaffolding. This view too started in the late
1990s, but has continued to pick up steam ever since. On this view,
cognition is not a process that takes place inside the brain alone anymore.
So for example, if cognition extends, then physically rotating a jigsaw
puzzle piece might count as cognizing. In addition, when using pencil and
paper to do a long division problem, the manipulation of numerals on the
paper would count as cognizing (and not just an aid to cognizing) on the
extended view. Finally, plant scientists and bacteriologists (Garzon 2007,
Garzon & Keijer, 2009, Keijer & Lyon, forthcoming, Ben-Jacob, 2009) now are
telling us that there is cognition in plants and in bacteria. As one of us
(Adams) has addressed the issues with respect to embodied and extended
cognition before, in this paper we turn our attention to the claims that
there is cognition in plants and in bacteria. We hope to get to the bottom
of this and understand why people are saying these things and to evaluate
the plausibility of the claims.

* Title*: 'Re-envisioning the debate over extended cognition'
*Speaker*: Dr *David Kaplan* (Macquarie)
*Date and Time*: Monday, 7 April 2014, 3:30PM until 4:00PM
*Location*: Australian Hearing Hub (AHH), room 3.610, Macquarie University

*Abstract *The debate over extended cognition -- now well over a decade old
-- is one in which interesting and important issues have become enmeshed in
a framework that obstructs their productive exploration. Participants on
all sides of the debate have largely proceeded under the assumption that
there must be some plausible proprietary criterion for demarcating the
boundaries of cognition -- that is, some answer exclusive to the subject
matter of cognition. I contend that this starting point for the debate is
misguided and in need of re-envisioning. As an alternative, I argue that we
should instead be searching for a generic boundary demarcation criterion
adequate not just to the task of demarcating cognitive boundaries but also
the boundaries of mechanisms or systems more generally. To this end, I
propose one such criterion -- the mutual manipulability criterion -- and
discuss some of its main advantages over other competing criteria defended
in the literature including its close connections to the primary strategies
that scientists use to test boundary claims.

 *Title*: 'Towards a biologically basic cognition: from developmental
plasticity to higher learning'
*Speaker*: Dr *Karola Stotz* (Macquarie)
*Date and Time*: Monday, 7 April 2014, 4:00PM until 4:30 PM
*Location*: Australian Hearing Hub (AHH), room 3.610, Macquarie University

*Abstract *
The question of the material or biological basis of cognition, of the mark
of the cognitive, of 'what cognition is', 'what it does', and 'how it
works', was always of interest to cognitive scientists. More than two
decades ago, however, there would at least likely have been a consensus
that the answers will be found somewhere within the brain. Since then the
cognitive sciences have began to look beyond 'what is inside your head' to
the old Gibsonian question of 'what is your head inside of'. It is no
longer heresy to believe the mind to be embodied, embedded, enacted and
even extended. In this paper I will among other things, analyse the
boundaries between inner and outer cognitive resources, between the natural
and the artificial.  I will be questioning the origin and emergence of
socalled 'natural', internal resources and attempt to show an allegedly
profound and rigid dichotomy between internal and external cognitive
resources to rather be a fluid, dynamic, and fragile *developmental
achievement*. To some the last idea of cognitive systems as on-linearly
coupled brain-body-niche system is as yet the most radical position held.
However, one may even question to what extend there needs to be any kind of
brain to produce a cognitive system. I go on by asking what are the basic,
common problems organisms encounter that require a cognitive solution?
Cognition enables a living system to continually and actively maintain
itself and further its existential goals in an ever-changing environment.
Cognition is central to setting and meeting existential and other goals by
integrating information from the sensory periphery to solve adaptive
problems like getting by, getting around and getting away. A working
toolkit of basic cognitive constructs that will scale across phyla would
enable a diverse set of researchers to benefit from research in diverse
model organisms and thereby assist in the development of general
principles. Only from such a basis it makes sense to inquire at what point
organisms were to come up with more complete solution, like the requirement
of a specialized subsystem, namely the central nervous system, dedicated to
these problems.

*Best Regards*
Mirko Farina and Nicolas Bullot
Convenors of the Cognition in Context Seminar Series

Mirko Farina

PhD Candidate
Department of Cognitive Science
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD)
Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Avenue
Macquarie University, NSW 2109 AUSTRALIA
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman.sydney.edu.au/pipermail/sydphil/attachments/20140402/a176e5e9/attachment-0002.html>

More information about the SydPhil mailing list