[SydPhil] UOW Philosophy Research Presents (Dr. Nik Alksnis, La Trobe)

michael kirchhoff michael.david.kirchhoff at gmail.com
Sat Sep 30 12:32:06 AEST 2017

*UOW Philosophy Research Presents:*

*Hegel, Kepler, and the Sciences of Affordances*

Speaker: Dr. Nik Alksnis (La Trobe)

Date: 04 October 2017

Time: 15.30-16.45

Venue: 19.2072

(Research Hub)

Abstract: In his (2009) anti-computationalist theory of mind, Chemero
invokes the idea of Hegelian explanation:
drawing conclusions from irrelevant, *a priori*, information to justify an
empirical claim. Just as Hegel used Plato’s ideas of perfection to deduce
the number of planets in the solar system, for Chemero, the
computationalists, and similar, are in danger of doing the same: using
irrelevant abstract ideas to justify empirical facts about the mind and
intelligence. A similar appeal to historical figures can be found by
Chemero in partnership with Raja and Biener (2017). Here the idea is that
the mechanistic philosophies of Descartes, Kepler, and Newton are better
fitted to the ecological approach of J.J. Gibson, then to the
comptuationalism of Turing (1953) and later Fodor (1975, 2008). However,
Chemero's analysis seems to leave little room for the abstract cognitive
object he favours, namely, the affordance (Gibson 1977, 1979). By adapting
Fodor’s *explicitness principle* (Fodor 1987) I show the difficulties in
including the theory of affordances as an explanatory part of the cognitive
story. I argue that we can combine Chemero and Fodor’s critiques, but
that in doing so, there seems to be little room for either the concept of
mental representations, as supported by Fodor, or affordances, as favoured
by Chemero.

Aimed at staff and postgraduates, but open to all.

*Best wishes,*

*Dr. Michael D. Kirchhoff *
Lecturer in Philosophy
School of Humanities and Social Enquiry
Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts
University of Wollongong NSW 2522
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