1. 172874.384451
    Structural representations are likely the most talked about representational posits in the contemporary debate over cognitive representations. Indeed, the debate surrounding them is so vast virtually every claim about them has been made. Some, for instance, claimed structural representations are di erent from indicators. Others argued they are the same. Some claimed structural representations mesh perfectly with mechanistic explanations, others argued they can’t in principle mash. Some claimed structural representations are central to predictive processing accounts of cognition, others rebuked predictive processing networks are blissfully structural representation free. And so forth. Here, I suggest this confusing state of a airs is due to the fact that the term “structural representations” is applied to a number of distinct conceptions of representations. In this paper, I distinguish four such conceptions, argue that these four conceptions are actually distinct, and then show that such a fourfold distinction can be used to clarify some of the most pressing questions concerning structural representations and their role in cognitive theorizing, making these questions more easily answerable.
    Found 2 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  2. 173001.384627
    We give a new and elementary construction of primitive positive decomposition of higher arity relations into binary relations on finite domains. Such decompositions come up in applications to constraint satisfaction problems, clone theory and relational databases. The construction exploits functional completeness of 2-input functions in many-valued logic by interpreting relations as graphs of partially defined multivalued ‘functions’. The ‘functions’ are then composed from ordinary functions in the usual sense. The construction is computationally effective and relies on well-developed methods of functional decomposition, but reduces relations only to ternary relations. An additional construction then decomposes ternary into binary relations, also effectively, by converting certain disjunctions into existential quantifications. The result gives a uniform proof of Peirce’s reduction thesis on finite domains, and shows that the graph of any Sheffer function composes all relations there.
    Found 2 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  3. 744425.384636
    A distinction is made between superpositional and non-superpositional quantum computers. The notion of quantum learning systems { quantum computers that modify themselves in order to improve their performance { is introduced. A particular non-superpositional quantum learning system, a quantum neurocomputer, is described: a conventional neural network implemented in a system which is a variation on the familiar two-slit apparatus from quantum physics. This is followed by a discussion of the advantages that quantum computers in general, and quantum neurocomputers in particular, might bring, not only to our search for more powerful computational systems, but also to our search for greater understanding of the brain, the mind, and quantum physics itself.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Ron Chrisley's site
  4. 865368.384642
    In this paper, I argue that no theory of consciousness can simultaneously respect four initially plausible metaphysical claims – namely, ‘first-person realism’, ‘non-solipsism’, ‘non-fragmentation’, and ‘one world’ – but that any three of the four claims are mutually consistent. So, theories of consciousness face a ‘quadrilemma’. Since it will be hard to achieve a consensus on which of the four claims to retain and which to give up, we arrive at a landscape of competing theories, all of which have pros and cons. I will briefly indicate which kinds of theories correspond to the four horns of the quadrilemma.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  5. 865398.384647
    In this paper, I argue that current attempts at classifying life–mind continuity (LMC) feature several important ambiguities. We can resolve these ambiguities by distinguishing between the extensional, categorical, and systematic relationships that LMC might encompass. In section 1, I begin by introducing the notion of LMC and the theory behind it. In section 2, I show how different ideas of mind shape different approaches to continuity and how to achieve its aim. In section 3, I canvas various canonical formulations and classifications of LMC; I then demonstrate that they retain important ambiguities. Section 4 builds on this by arguing that we must conceive of the extensional and categorical aspects of continuity independently. In section 5, I show further that current literature has underexplored multiple systematic aspects of continuity. I then take a constructive approach in section 6 by providing a classification model for LMC based on extensional and categorical commitments. Here, I comment on aspects of the thesis omitted from the model but essential for a full classification and thorough comparison between various approaches to LMC. All of these arguments lay the foundation for more exhaustively classifying accounts of LMC.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  6. 1096205.384652
    Downward causation plays a central role in the debate around levels of mechanism. Both levels’ enthusiasts and skeptics reject it, arguing that it is incoherent to conceive of wholes causing the parts which constitute them. In this paper, I advance an argument from causal constraints against claims of the unintelligibility of constitutive downward causation, arguing that constitution relations neither exhaust the totality of relations that a proper whole is subject to, nor do they preclude another type of relation that a proper whole can have with respect to another proper whole.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  7. 1599482.38466
    Recently, there has been considerable interest in large language models: machine learning systems which produce human-like text and dialogue. Applications of these systems have been plagued by persistent inaccuracies in their output; these are often called “AI hallucinations”. We argue that these falsehoods, and the overall activity of large language models, is better understood as bullshit in the sense explored by Frankfurt (2005): the models are in an important way indifferent to the truth of their outputs. We distinguish two ways in which the models can be said to be bullshitters, and argue that they clearly meet at least one of these definitions. We further argue that describing AI misrepresentations as bullshit is both a more useful and more accurate way of predicting and discussing the behaviour of these systems.
    Found 2 weeks, 4 days ago on Michael Townsen Hicks's site
  8. 1673620.384667
    In this paper, I identify a novel challenge to reasoning about human cognitive evolution. Theorists engaged in producing a causal history of uniquely human psychology often implicitly or explicitly take the perspective of imaginary hominins to reason about a plausible evolutionary sequence. I argue that such speculations only appear plausible because we have employed our evolved cognitive capacities to decide what the imaginary hominin would think or do. Further, I argue that we are likely to continue making this kind of mistake, and so we must continuously contend with it, even in our best approaches to human cognitive evolution.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 1701239.384672
    The field of neuroscience and the development of artificial neural networks (ANNs) have mutually influenced each other, drawing from and contributing to many concepts initially developed in statistical mechanics. Notably, Hopfield networks and Boltzmann machines are versions of the Ising model, a model extensively studied in statistical mechanics for over a century. In the first part of this chapter, we provide an overview of the principles, models, and applications of ANNs, highlighting their connections to statistical mechanics and statistical learning theory. Artificial neural networks can be seen as high-dimensional mathematical functions, and understanding the geometric properties of their loss landscapes (i.e., the high-dimensional space on which one wishes to find extrema or saddles) can provide valuable insights into their optimization behavior, generalization abilities, and overall performance. Visualizing these functions can help us design better optimization methods and improve their generalization abilities. Thus, the second part of this chapter focuses on quantifying geometric properties and visualizing loss functions associated with deep ANNs.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Gregory Wheeler's site
  10. 2192736.384681
    This paper argues that the extended mind approach to cognition can be distinguished from its alternatives, such as embedded cognition and distributed cognition, not only in terms of metaphysics, but also in terms of epistemology. In other words, it cannot be understood in terms of a mere verbal redefinition of cognitive processing. This is because the extended mind approach differs in its theoretical virtues compared to competing approaches to cognition. The extended mind approach is thus evaluated in terms of its theoretical virtues, both essential to empirical adequacy and those that are ideal desiderata for scientific theories. While the extended mind approach may have similar internal consistency and empirical adequacy compared to other approaches, it may be more problematic in terms of its generality and simplicity as well as unificatory properties due to the cognitive bloat and the motley crew objections.
    Found 3 weeks, 4 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 2284539.384687
    We’ve been hard at work here in Edinburgh. Kris Brown has created Julia code to implement the ‘stochastic C-set rewriting systems’ I described last time. I want to start explaining this code and also examples of how we use it. …
    Found 3 weeks, 5 days ago on Azimuth
  12. 2308386.384693
    It has recently been remarked that the argument for physicalism from the causal closure of the physical is incomplete. It is only effective against mental causation manifested in the action of putative mental forces that lead to acceleration of particles in the nervous system. Based on consideration of anomalous, physically unaccounted-for correlations of neural events, I argue that irreducible mental causation whose nature is at least prima facie probabilistic is conceivable. The manifestation of such causation should be accompanied by a local violation of the Second Law of thermodynamics. I claim that mental causation can be viewed as the disposition of mental states to alter the state probability distribution within the nervous system, with no violation of the conservation laws. If confirmed by neurophysical research, it would indicate a kind of causal homogeneity of the world. Causation would manifest probabilistically in both quantum mechanical and psychophysical systems, and the dynamics of both would be determined by the temporal evolution of the corresponding system state function. Finally, I contend that a probabilistic account of mental causation can consistently explain the character of the selectional states that ensure uniformity of causal patterns, as well as the fact that different physical realizers of a mental property cause the same physical effects in different contexts.
    Found 3 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 2423781.3847
    We propose a pluralist account of content for predictive processing systems. Our pluralism combines Millikan’s teleosemantics with existing structural resemblance accounts. The paper has two goals. First, we outline how a teleosemantic treatment of signal passing in predictive processing systems would work, and how it integrates with structural resemblance accounts. We show that the core explanatory motivations and conceptual machinery of teleosemantics and predictive processing mesh together well. Second, we argue this pluralist approach expands the range of empirical cases to which the predictive processing framework might be successfully applied. This because our pluralism is practice-oriented. A range of different notions of content are used in the cognitive sciences to explain behaviour, and some of these cases look to employ teleosemantic notions. As a result, our pluralism gives predictive processing the scope to cover these cases.
    Found 4 weeks ago on PhilSci Archive
  14. 2470266.384705
    Commentary from Dimitri Coelho Mollo on today’s post from Mazviita Chirimuuta on The Brain Abstracted (MIT Press). I was lucky to have had the chance to discuss this brilliant book with Mazviita Chirimuuta and others while it was still in preparation, and I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas about it once more over here at the BrainsBlog! …
    Found 4 weeks ago on The Brains Blog
  15. 2470266.384712
    Post 4 of 5 from Mazviita Chirimuuta on The Brain Abstracted (Open Access: MIT Press). A central claim of the book is that recognition of the challenge of brain complexity — how it places pressure on scientists to devise experimental methods, theories and models, which drastically cut down the apparent complexity of neural processes – is indispensable when evaluating the philosophical import of neuroscientific results, and more generally, in understanding the historical trajectory of research on the brain. …
    Found 4 weeks ago on The Brains Blog
  16. 2543831.384721
    Commentary from Carrie Figdor on today’s post from Mazviita Chirimuuta on The Brain Abstracted (MIT Press). The animating idea of Chirimuuta’s book is that science, and neuroscience in particular, must engage in simplification in order to explain a complex world. …
    Found 4 weeks, 1 day ago on The Brains Blog
  17. 2557057.384728
    Post 3 of 5 from Mazviita Chirimuuta on The Brain Abstracted (Open Access: MIT Press). In the previous post I described how the literal interpretation of neurocomputational models encourages us to attend only to the perceived commonalities between brains and computers and to relegate the differences to the periphery of our attention. …
    Found 4 weeks, 1 day ago on The Brains Blog
  18. 2642398.384733
    Commentary from Mark Sprevak on today’s post from Mazviita Chirimuuta on The Brain Abstracted (MIT Press). I very much agree with the book’s main claim that abstraction and simplification are essential theoretical virtues in the cognitive and brain sciences. …
    Found 4 weeks, 2 days ago on The Brains Blog
  19. 2642398.38474
    Post 2 of 5 from Mazviita Chirimuuta on The Brain Abstracted (Open Access: MIT Press). The idea in my project to foreground the question of interpretation is loosely inspired by work in the philosophy of physics which takes the empirical success of e.g. …
    Found 4 weeks, 2 days ago on The Brains Blog
  20. 2709254.384745
    Since May 1st, Kris Brown, Nathaniel Osgood, Xiaoyan Li, William Waites and I have been meeting daily in James Clerk Maxwell’s childhood home in Edinburgh. We’re hard at work on our project called New Mathematics and Software for Agent-Based models. …
    Found 1 month ago on Azimuth
  21. 2712388.384751
    Introduction to Thematic Section: Archaeology and Cognitive Evolution In 1954 Christopher Hawkes proposed his influential “Ladder of Inference” model for archaeological interpretation (Hawkes, 1954). Hawkes was concerned with the limitations of “where and when” archaeology; that is, archaeology that was overly focussed on geography and chronology. The problem with where and when archaeology was that, in limiting itself “[...] to a mere external chronicling of material culture traits, it will be stopping short of its proper anthropological objective, and will simply be compiling statistics when it should be revealing culture.” (Hawkes, 1954: 156). A properly anthropological archaeology, on the other hand, would acknowledge that “[...] the statistical assembling of many archaeological data still can leave one outside the cultural reality of the life of the peoples one is studying” (1954: 160). In other words, the point of archaeology is to ‘get inside’ the cultural lives of past populations, and simply documenting the age and location of artifacts only gets us so far toward that goal.
    Found 1 month ago on PhilSci Archive
  22. 2716835.384756
    This week the Brains Blog is hosting a symposium on Mazviita Chirimuuta’s new book The Brain Abstracted: Simplification in the History and Philosophy of Neuroscience (Open Access: MIT Press). Today’s post from Chirimuuta provides a precis and overview of the content of the book. …
    Found 1 month ago on The Brains Blog
  23. 3053143.384762
    This paper is concerned with the semantics for the logics of ground that derive from a slight variant GG of the logic of [Fine, 2012b] that have already been developed in [deRosset and Fine, 2023]. Our aim is to outline that semantics and to provide a comparison with two related semantics for ground, given in [Correia, 2017] and [Kramer, 2018a]. This comparison highlights the strengths and difficulties of these different approaches. KEYWORDS: Impure Logic of Ground; Truthmaker Semantics; Logic of Ground; Ground This paper concerns the semantics for the logics of ground deriving from a slight variant GG of the logic of [Fine, 2012b] that have already been developed in [deRosset and Fine, 2023]. Our aim is to outline that semantics and to provide a comparison with two related semantics for ground, given in [Correia, 2017] and [Kramer, 2018a]. This will serve to highlight the strengths and difficulties of these different approaches. In particular, it will show how deRosset and Fine’s approach has a greater degree of flexibility in its ability to acccommodate different extensions of a basic minimal system of ground. We shall assume that the reader is already acquainted with some of the basic work on ground and on the framework of truthmaker semantics. Some background material may be found in [Fine, 2012b, 2017a,b].
    Found 1 month ago on Louis deRosset's site
  24. 3116125.384767
    Artificial neural networks and supervised learning have become an essential part of science. Beyond using them for accurate input-output mapping, there is growing attention to a new feature-oriented approach. Under the assumption that networks optimized for a task may have learned to represent and utilize important features of the target system for that task, scientists examine how those networks manipulate inputs and employ the features networks capture for scientific discovery. We analyse this approach, show its hidden caveats, and suggest its legitimate use. We distinguish three things that scientists call a “feature”: parametric, diagnostic, and real-world features. The feature-oriented approach aims for real-world features by interpreting the former two, which also partially rely on the network. We argue that this approach faces a problem of non-uniqueness: there are numerous discordant parametric and diagnostic features and ways to interpret them. When the approach aims at novel discovery, scientists often need to choose between those options, but they lack the background knowledge to justify their choices. Consequentially, features thus identified are not promised to be real. We argue that they should not be used as evidence but only used instrumentally. We also suggest transparency in feature selection and the plurality of choices.
    Found 1 month ago on PhilSci Archive
  25. 3347014.384772
    This work explores the hypothesis that subjectively attributed meaning constitutes the phenomenal content of conscious experience. That is, phenomenal content is semantic. This form of subjective meaning manifests as an intrinsic and non-representational character of qualia. Empirically, subjective meaning is ubiquitous in conscious experiences. We point to phenomenological studies that lend evidence to support this. Furthermore, this notion of meaning closely relates to what Frege refers to as "sense", in metaphysics and philosophy of language. It also aligns with Peirce's "interpretant", in semiotics. We discuss how Frege's sense can also be extended to the raw feels of consciousness. Sense and reference both play a role in phenomenal experience. Moreover, within the context of the mind-matter relation, we provide a formalization of subjective meaning associated to one's mental representations. Identifying the precise maps between the physical and mental domains, we argue that syntactic and semantic structures transcend language, and are realized within each of these domains. Formally, meaning is a relational attribute, realized via a map that interprets syntactic structures of a formal system within an appropriate semantic space. The image of this map within the mental domain is what is relevant for experience, and thus comprises the phenomenal content of qualia. We conclude with possible implications this may have for experience-based theories of consciousness.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  26. 3405227.384778
    This paper presents an argument for the realism about mechanisms, contents, and vehicles of mental representation at both the personal and subpersonal levels, and showcases its role in instrumental rationality and proper cognitive functioning. By demonstrating how misrepresentation is necessary for learning from mistakes and explaining certain failures of action, we argue that fallible rational agents must have mental representations with causally relevant vehicles of content. Our argument contributes to ongoing discussions in philosophy of mind and cognitive science by challenging anti-realist views about the nature of mental representation, and by highlighting the importance of understanding how different agents can misrepresent in pursuit of their goals. While there are potential rebuttals to our claim, our opponents must explain how agents can be rational without having mental representations. This is because mental representation is grounded in rationality.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  27. 3405257.384786
    The present paper is divided in two parts . In the first part we will propose Meinong’s theory of time outlined in 1899 interpreted in such a way that the subtlety of his argumentation is emphasised. In the second, we will discuss different solutions for the celebrated McTaggart’s paradox, reaching the conclusion that a theory of time suggested by the reflections of the Austrian Philosopher seems to be the most adequate perspective for tackling this problem . Meinong is concerned with time above all in his essays of 1894 and 1899; thereafter he deals again with the topic only in a cursory manner. Certainly the best of his reflections on the subject is the Third Section of the 1899 essay, and thus we will concern ourselves almost exclusively with this . Let us emphasise that time is not a Meinong’s topic, but briefly in the central part of his thinking, i.e. during the passage from his first psychological-descriptive works – influenced by his teacher Brentano – to the theoretical-objective period, stimulated firstly by the reading of Twardowski and Bolzano . In spite of this we have the feeling that in this short writing the Austrian philosopher outlines a theory of time which ante litteram opens a possible solution of the paradoxes connected with the flux of time, like McTaggart’s. We have to admire the remarkable subtlety of his psychological analysis, accompanied by a clear awareness of the objectivity of time; the latter helps him to avoid the psychologistic drift of Bergson’s perspective, the former to stay away from the scientistic point of view more and more in fashion in connection with modern physics .
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  28. 3515055.384791
    According to urban legend, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Death is number two.1 I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is, I’d bet that the most dreaded form of public speaking is to stand onstage, alone, attempting to make an audience of strangers laugh. …
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Under the Net
  29. 3524684.384796
    A specter is haunting economics—the specter of revealed preference theory. Many philosophers of old have entered into an alliance to exorcise this specter; Sen (1977) and Hausman (2012), Dietrich and List (2016), and Guala (2012; 2019). In the face of the trenchant critique it has faced, the longevity of revealed preference theory is quite surprising. While it still holds considerable power among economists, in recent years also philosophers have begun to offer novel arguments in its defense (e.g., Vredenburgh 2020; Clarke 2020; Thoma 2021a; 2021b). At its core, revealed preference theory can be stated as the view that preferences are just patterns in choice-behavior. My aim in this paper is to argue against the revival of revealed preference theory. Towards this end, I will first outline the different facets of revealed preference theory (Section 2). I will then briefly present the two most common arguments that philosophers of economics have offered against it. In particular, I will look at the argument from belief and the argument from causality (Section 3).
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Ergo
  30. 3524967.384806
    A classic and fraught question in the philosophy of film is this: when you watch a film, do you experience yourself in the world of the film, observing the scenes? In this paper, we argue that this subject of film experience is sometimes a mere impersonal viewpoint, sometimes a first-personal but unindexed subject, and sometimes a particular, indexed subject such as the viewer herself or a character in the film. We first argue for subject pluralism: there is no single answer to the question of what kind of subjectivity, if any, is mandated across film sequences. Then, we defend unindexed subjectivity: at least sometimes, films mandate an experience that is first-personal but not tied to any particular person, not even to the viewer. Taken together, these two theses allow us to see film experience as more varied than previously appreciated and to bridge in a novel way the cognition of film with the exercise of other imaginative capacities, such as mindreading and episodic recollecting.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Ergo