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Discussion: Experience, embodiment, intersubjectivity

September 7th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Reply here to provide your challenge to the speakers of the third 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

 

Embodiment and psychopathology

September 7th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Thomas Fuchs
Klinik für Allgemeine Psychiatrie, Zentrum für Psychosoziale Medizin,
Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg,
Germany

The talk first gives an overview on the phenomenological approach to embodiment in psychopathology, in particular on a polarity of ‘disembodiment’ and ‘hyperembodiment’ which is illustrated by the examples of schizophrenia and depression. Recent contributions to phenomenological accounts of these disorders are presented.

Second, the paper discusses the relationship of phenomenological and neuropsychiatric perspectives on embodiment. Embodied and ecological concepts of mental illness emphasize the circular interaction of altered subjective experience, disturbed social interactions and neurobiological dysfunctions in the development of the illness. Thus, phenomenological and enactive accounts of embodiment may be combined in order to overcome reductionist concepts that prevail in present psychiatry.

Thomas Fuchs: “Embodiment and psychopathology” from eSMCs on Vimeo.

Enactively extended intentionality

September 7th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Shaun Gallagher
Moss Chair of Excellence in Philosophy, University of Memphis, USA
Research Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science. University of Hertfordshire, UK

I argue that the extended mind hypothesis requires an enactive, neo-pragmatic concept of intentionality if it is to develop proper responses to a variety of objections.  This enactive concept of intentionality is based on the phenomenological concept of a bodily (or motor or operative) intentionality outlined by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty.  I explore the connections between this concept and recent embodied approaches to social cognition.


Shaun Gallagher: Enactively extended intentionality from eSMCs on Vimeo.

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

 

Deleuze’s contribution to an enactive approach to biology

September 6th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

John Protevi
Department of French Studies,
Lousiana State University,
USA

I will preface my presentation with a brief outline of the three-fold ontology of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995). Deleuze’s formula is that (1) intensive morphogenetic processes follow the structures inherent in (2) virtual differential multiplicities to produce (3) actual localized and individuated substances with extensive properties and differenciated qualities. Simply put, the actualization of the virtual, that is, the production of the actual things of the world, proceeds by way of intensive processes. Various authors have shown how this scheme provides an ontology for dynamic systems theory.

I will then suggest three ways in which this schema can provide a conceptual framework for an enactive approach to biology, keeping in mind at all times the tradeoff between the effort necessary for learning a new vocabulary and new ontological scheme versus the benefits of adopting that new framework. My model here is the work of Hubert Dreyfus in making the vocabulary and ontological scheme of Martin Heidegger relevant for cognitive science.

First, I will discuss Deleuze’s notion of a “larval subject” accompanying “spatio-temporal dynamisms” (= intensive morphogenetic processes) in relation to the sense-making of autonomous systems, as laid out in Thompson’s synthesis of Varela’s notion of autopoiesis and Di Paolo’s notion of adaptivity.

Second, I will discuss Deleuze’s notion of “counter-effectuation” (roughly speaking the feedback from actual and intensive to the virtual) in relation to Mary Jane West-Eberhard’s notion of environmentally induced phenotypic variation (=  “developmental plasticity”) as the leader in evolution.

Finally, I will discuss two notions associated with Developmental Systems Theory in Deleuzean terms: a) the heterogenous nature of the developmental system (intra- and extra-somatic elements) in terms of Deleuze’s notion of “assemblage” and b) the notion of niche-construction in terms of Deleuze’s notion of “territorialization.”

Presentation Slides [pdf]

 

John Protevi: Deleuze’s contribution to an enactive approach to biology from eSMCs on Vimeo.

Development and evolution in a world without labels

September 6th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Susan Oyama
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The Graduate School and University Center, CUNY,
USA

Accounts of development and evolution typically involve complementary notions of prespecification–organismic and environmental ‘labeling,’ if you will. In the case of development these can take the form of genetic programs or instructions and the like, while descriptions of evolution often invoke preexisting environmental demands or problems that organisms must meet.
The traditions of thought informing The Embodied Mind and Developmental Systems Theory (DST) both challenge such ways of conceiving life processes. Yet these traditions sprang from different grounds, and they bring distinctive sensibilities to their overlapping projects. I describe the systemic contingencies of self-organizing systems in DST, pointing out the importance of alternative pathways, both in biological processes and the theorizing they inspire.

 

Susan Oyama: Development and evolution in a world without labels from eSMCs on Vimeo.

Discussion: Dynamics, information, representation

September 5th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Reply here to provide your challenge to the speakers of the first 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

 

The origins and self-maintenance of representing

September 5th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Inman Harvey
Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics,
University of Sussex,
UK

What is happening when a caveman paints a bison on the wall of a cave, and how does this relate to the spoken word ‘bison’? I shall be exploring the many different ways in which people — and potentially animals and robots — can represent things. I focus on the ways that representing is done, the ways that representations are used (by whom and for whom), as well as the nature of the representations themselves.
In many fields where explanations are in the form of mechanisms (including cognitive science and neuroscience), the metaphor of modules trading representations has been rife in recent years. I shall discuss where such metaphors are justified, and where they are philosophically flawed, perhaps symptomatic of crypto-Cartesianism.
We should celebrate the first caveman-artist, and similarly we should respect the challenge of creating robots that can autonomously perform similar acts of representing. I shall discuss what steps can be taken towards this.

Harvey, I., Di Paolo, E., Wood, R., Quinn, M, and E. A., Tuci, (2005).
Evolutionary Robotics: A new scientific tool for studying cognition.
Artificial Life, 11(1-2), pp. 79-98.

Harvey, I. (2008). Misrepresentations.
In S. Bullock, J. Noble, R. A. Watson, and M. A. Bedau (Eds.)
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Artificial
Life, pp.227-233, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

Presentation Slides [pdf]
 

Inman Harvey: The origins and self-maintenance of representing from eSMCs on Vimeo.

Information and dynamics in minimally-cognitive agents

September 5th, 2011 by Thomas Buehrmann

Randall Beer
Cognitive Science Program
School of Informatics and Computing
Indiana University
USA

Whatever else they may be, the notions of information and dynamics are mathematical concepts grounded in information theory and dynamical systems theory, respectively. Too often, debates regarding these concepts misconstrue or completely ignore these mathematical underpinnings. As mathematical theories, they can be applied to any system that takes the proper form. Thus, they intrinsically make no scientific claim as to “what’s really going on” in a given system. The more interesting question is what kinds of insights and explanations do these different mathematical languages provide and, perhaps most importantly, how do these distinct explanations relate when both languages are applied to the same system? In this talk, I compare and contrast the explanations that arise from applying both information theory and dynamical systems theory to the analysis of an evolved model agent capable of a solving a simple relational categorization task.

Presentation Slides [pdf]

 

Randall Beer: Information and dynamics in minimally-cognitive agents from eSMCs on Vimeo.

3, 2, 1… The Future of the Embodied Mind

September 3rd, 2011 by Xabier Barandiaran

We are about to start the Summer School, it is twenty years since the first publication of The Embodied Mind and it is time to look forward into the open challenges and paradigmatic progress made throughout these years. We are glad to welcome all the participants to this event.

  • Please get to the venue no later than 9.15am. There will be a registration desk next to the conference room, please make sure you get there on time to pick up your badge and tickets for the coffee break. Registration desk will be open at 8.45am and the first talk will start at 9.30. The registration desk will remain open till 15min after the end of the morning session in order to allow for late registrations during the coffee break and at the beginning of the lunch break
  • The venue is easy to locate and visible, but the location of the entrance is not very intuitive, check out the Venue section to find out how to get there.
  • We will provide a folder with a printed copy of the full program, the instructions for the afternoon discussion groups, a map of restaurants around the venue and the night activities. There will also be pen and paper available for those that need it, but we highly recommend you bring your laptops with you to make online participation and collaboration fluent.
  • For those who have not done it yet: please check out our resources page to find out relevant contributions by the speakers, select those that are relevant to you and read them beforehand, that will make the discussions and the whole summer school more productive.