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jamal-taylor

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Theoretical Issues in Psychology
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  1. Theoretical Issues in Psychology Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Mind for Psychologists B&LdJ

  2. Chapter 9 The extended mind • Evolutionary psychology: adaptation. • Brain, body and world: embodied and embedded. • A-life: bottom-up research. • Metaphors in the flesh. • Distributed cognition beyond the individual mind: social and cultural. B&LdJ

  3. Evolutionary psychology • Mental processes are behavioral • programs, like instincts promoting • survival of selfish genes. • To understand mind as adaptation, • we need biology. • The social science paradigm • (learning, social shaping) should be replaced by the • biological view (universal human nature). • Method: functional-adaptive thinking, a phenotypic trait • is a solution to an adaptive problem. • Mental archtecture is universal, modular and selected • for a hunter-gatherer society. B&LdJ

  4. Evolutionary psychology: some methodological principles • Mental archtecture is universal. • Is modular:Swiss army knife: separate mental tools for separate adaptive problems. • Is selected for a hunter-gatherer society, and unchanged since (cheater detection module, stereo-vision). But these principles are dubious, not supported by real evolutionary biology, nor experimental evidence. B&LdJ

  5. Gould & Lewontin’s metaphor of the ‘spandrel’ (S.Marco,Venice): byproduct, not designed/selected B&LdJ

  6. Adaptationism • Explain all phenotypic traits as adaptation; selected for adaptive function. • Also for human intellectual and psychological abilities (jealousy, altruism, language) there must have been selective advantages in their ancestral past (hunter-gatherer). • Problems with adaptationism: • Overgeneralizing of biological, functional-adaptive explanations. • not all traits are selected: some are by-products (‘spandrels’). • How-possible stories vs.how-actually stories. B&LdJ

  7. Artificial life: cognition from the bottom up • Life: evolution, self-reproduction, self-organization, and emergent behavior. • Synthetic ‘life’ in software (computersimulation), hardware (e.g., insect-like locomotion), wetware (biochemical). • Characteristic: bottom-up, distributed, local determination of behavior. Autonomous, adaptive, intelligent behavior – similar to cognition (?) B&LdJ

  8. Mind in action (1): embedded embodied cognition • Embodied: emphasizing the role of the body in (mindful) behavior, in contrast with mind-body dualism. • World-embedded: focus on organism–world coupling in adaptive behavior. (See also Chapter 8.3) • Thought and action unity: activity is an important ingredient in explaining mind, in contrast to the ‘onlooker’ or ‘spectator’ interpretation of mind, or mind as an exclusive ‘thinking’ • device (intellectualism). B&LdJ

  9. Mind in action (1): embedded embodied cognition, continued • Cycle of thought, perception and action. • Situated cognition to be studied in day-to-day activities in a real world. • On-line strategies employed by an organism in its adaptive world-embedded behavior, rather than controlled by pre-coded programs. • Emergent properties arising out of the coordinated activities • of many internal and external elements in an-organism- environment system. B&LdJ

  10. Mind in action (2): externalism • Externalism:the view that we have to explain mind by looking beyond the boundary of the skin (in contrast with internalism, or individualism). • Clark and Chalmers:extended mind example: Otto’s notebook intrinsic part of his memory, just like brain – • ‘extracranial cognition’. • vs. Adams and Aizawa real intrinsic cognitive processes occur exclusively inside the skin. B&LdJ

  11. Alternatives to the individualist mechanical view of cognition (1): embodiment • Dreyfus (phenomenology, Heidegger): • cognition is being-in-the world; • ‘what computers can’t do’: embodiment • rather than formal symbol manipulation; • cognition is know-how, not knowing-that. • Searle: ‘background’-knowledge we learn in activity; understanding language not in a mechanical way. • Lakoff and Johnson: Body in the mind, meta- • phorical structure of cognition. B&LdJ

  12. Alternatives to the individualist mechanical view of cognition (2): culture • Socially or culturally distributed cognition: cognitive operations which are taking place in systems larger than the individual. • Vygotsky: internalization: language and mental processes have social origin. • Wittgenstein: meanings not in the head, but in social exchange; ‘meaning is use’ in social context of language game; the brain does not think – only the whole person in context can think. • Hutchins: (‘cognition in the wild’), distributed cognition over different agents, supra-individual. B&LdJ