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Discussion: Becoming cognitive

September 6th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Reply here to provide your challenge to the speakers of the second day’s general discussion. This should take the form of: i) a tweet-like question (maximum of 144 characters) and ii) a follow up explanation, abstract or set of bullet points with a minimum of 150 words and maximum of 300, in the following format:

Group Name
Short description of challenge in bold
Content of the summary or abstract or bullet points


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6 Responses to “Discussion: Becoming cognitive”

  1. David Suarez David Suarez says:

    Group 4

    Challenge Question:

    Both speakers seemed to be committed to a symmetry between genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors. Would causal or constitutional symmetries of this kind entail an explanatory symmetry?


    A few possible problem cases:

    Autopoietic theories of life and agency seem to require an asymmetric relation on the part of the individual to its environment.

    In addition, for certain phenotypes, knocking out a specific gene results in a very different phenotypic outcome. Would this count as a counter-example to the symmetricality to which developmental systems theory is committed?

  2. David Silverman David Silverman says:

    Group 5

    How can the individuation process achieve stability at the various levels of description?

    At the individual level, if neither environment nor genes have a special role in creating stability, then what other factors or processes should we look to to account for stable systems?

    Given the role of social environment mentioned by Oyama, and the mention of Canguilhem’s notion of normalisation, how does stability emerge at that level and what bearing does it have on the levels below?

  3. Miriam Kyselo Miriam Kyselo says:

    Group 1

    What could be advantages of drawing boundaries? At what level could boundaries by drawn so they are useful/valuable?

    * Are boundaries necessary to account for concepts like agency, perspective, etc.?
    * Can we coherently discuss stability in a developmental system without drawing boundaries?
    * How do you define/distinguish and organism without boundaries?

  4. Alexander Maye Alexander Maye says:

    Group 2

    Challenge: In both talk the role of the *body* in DST was clearly described. But what is the role of *actions* (e.g., movements) in the development of cognition?

    Abstract: Being at a summer school of the extended sensori – *motor* contingency theory (eSMCs) project on topics of the en*active* viewpoint, we are looking for aspects of actions in the presented theories.

  5. Dave Ward Dave Ward says:

    Group 3

    Question: What is the role of individuality and agency in developmental systems?

    Autopoiesis theory assumes that we need an asymmetry to characterize the individuation of a system with respect to its environment. On the other hand, autopoietic systems are structurally coupled. And from a developmental systems perspective this coupling appears to be symmetrical. But is there an asymmetry in this coupling; is there a leader and a follower in the dance of the autopoeitic system and the environment? And if so, could this asymmetry be cashed out in such a way as to ground our concepts of individuality and agency?

  6. Group 6

    What would DST and Deleuze make of Clark’s natural born cyborgs?

    Why does matter matter, and what do we mean by matter? Do we know what we mean? What (if anything) are we contrasting it with?
    The historicity of these theories has not been addressed: do we need to look at historical factors, at the way any theory is embedded in a particular sociocultural-historical context? What does it mean to be human, and what are the problems with any strictly biological definition?

    Challenge point: why are you not talking more about technology and its role?

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