Introduction to Cognitive Science
Last Update: 2 May 2011
material is highlighted
7±2 Key Dates in Cognitive Science
To give you an idea of:
the nature of cognitive science
some of its principal topics, results, & open issues
To give you an idea of some of the cognitive-science research at UB
What is cognitive science?
≈def the interdisciplinary study of cognition, i.e., of:
(including categories, concepts, mental imagery)
computational cognitive science =
cognition is computable (weaker)
cognition is computation (stronger)
a working hypothesis:
how much of cognition is computable?
classical symbolic computation
"mind as machine"
express theories of cognition as computer programs
can test theory by running the program
Do computers running such programs
actually exhibit cognition?
If not, why not?
contrast with behaviorism:
from stimulus/input to response/output
share methodologies & results across disciplines
What is the mind?
personal search for truth in any field,
by rational (i.e., logical &/or scientific) means.
Mind-body problem: What is the relation between mind and brain?
dualisms (e.g., Descartes's interactionism)
(e.g., Berkeley's idealism;
materialism/physicalism & the identity theory)
psychological type of a brain state/process
is a function of its causal role
in the individual's cognitive life
qualia (including inverted & absent)
implementation (cognitive architecture)
may be important
Problem of other minds: How do I know that you have a mind?
Theory of Mind, Folk Psychology, & Modularity
BDI folk psychology is a
to explain & predict others' and our own behavior
We explain & predict others' behavior
the others' mind
Fodor's theory of mental modules
Pylyshyn's theory of cognitive impenetrability
anatomy (structure) & physiology (processing) of brain
McCulloch & Pitts's logical ANNs
is the brain a computer?
AI & computation
AI: "computational cognition"
Minsky: make computers do cognitive tasks
Boden: use computers to understand (human) cognition
programs as theories/models
of (human) cognition
how is cognition possible?
how much of cognition is computable?
What is computation?
Any algorithm can be expressed as a TM
GOFAI (classical symbolic AI): logic-based
Newell & Simon's PSSH:
a physical system can exhibit cognition
it is a physical
(= physical implementation of a TM)
Fodor's CTM & RTM:
cognitive states/processes are
computations over cognitive representations
cognitive representations are a language of thought (LOT),
with a syntax (& maybe a semantics)
Dennett's Intentional Stance:
best to treat complex systems
they were intentional (i.e., cognitive)
study of reasoning correctly
cognitive science: how people
not always correctly!
Wason card-selection task
Tversky & Kahneman on probabilistic reasoning
Johnson-Laird's theory of Mental Models
Rips's theory of Mental Rules
Simon: bounded rationality
computational theories of non-monotonic, default, defeasible reasoning
do we reason?
Mercier, Hugo; & Sperber, Dan (2011),
"Why Do Humans Reason?
Arguments for an Argumentative Theory"
Behavioral and Brain Sciences
34(2) (April): 57–111,
Minsky & Papert's objections
Rumelhart & McClelland's PDP
representation as activation patterns of artificial neurons
Fodor & Pylyshyn's objections:
unconscious inference/tacit knowledge
Dynamical Systems theory: differential-equation-based
deep vs. surface structure
& transformational rules
universal grammar (innate LAD)
competence vs. performance
Lakoff & Johnson:
conceptual systems are metaphorical
based on human body.
Guest Lecture: Jürgen Bohnemeyer
cognition is a function of the language we speak
Concepts and Categories
categories as sets defined by necessary & sufficient conditions
categories only have family resemblances
prototypes vs. exemplars
Guest Lecture: David Mark
categories & concepts of natural landforms
vary with speaker's language
Marr: perception requires processing:
primal image, 2.5D image, 3D image
3 levels of psychological explanation:
"computational" (functional): what (I/O)
"algorithmic" (computational): how (algorithms)
"implementation": multiple physical realizations
Gibson: direct perception of "affordances"
direct vs. indirect realism (Smith vs. Rapaport)
neuroscience of vision (Udin)
Guest Lecture: Barry Smith
Guest Lecture: Susan Udin
Pylyshyn: mental images are propositional
Kosslyn: mental images are pictorial
Maybe they're neither, just neuron firings
How does consciousness arise from neuron firings?
2 kinds of consciousness:
psychological/access ("easy" problem)
phenomenal ("hard" problem)
identity theory: conscious states
Nagel: only a bat can know "what it's like to be a bat"
McGinn: understanding consciousness is beyond our cognitive abilities
Rosenthal: consciousness is meta-thought
Dennett: multiple drafts theory
Chalmers: physicalism is false
are there neural correlates of consciousness?
Global Workspace theory
importance of context/the world
Putnam: Twin Earth: cognition is not (merely) in the head
Fodor: Methodological Solipsism: yes it is!
Hutchins/Clark: there are extended cognitive systems; so, no it isn't!
[Simon: yes it is]
[B.C. Smith: no it isn't]
Interdisciplinary cognitive science projects (at UB):
Deixis & Narrative
Turing Test & Chinese-Room Argument
Computers will be said to be able to think
to the extent that we cannot distinguish
their linguistic/cognitive ability from a human's
Chinese-Room Argument (Searle):
It's possible to pass a TT without really thinking
Pat Hayes has allegedly defined cognitive science as
"the ongoing research program
of showing Searle's CRA to be false"!
(Harnad, cited in Boden 2006:1384)
ultimately, might be a
Text copyright © 2011 by
William J. Rapaport
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