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Plan. Introducing the SINTELNET white paper The background: agent-based models, social simulations, logical analysis, and mirror-neuron system... Where do wide cognition explanations excel?. SINTELNET.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Introducing the SINTELNET white paper
  • The background: agent-based models, social simulations, logical analysis, and mirror-neuron system...
  • Where do wide cognition explanations excel?
  • The aim of the network is to understand the radically new forms of Information Technology-enabled social environments
    • by critically examining the basic concepts used to described them,
    • and to propose new approaches to understand future IT-enabled social situations.
  • The manifesto of the network is CristianoCastelfranchi’s position paper “Minds as social institutions” (Phenomenology & Cognitive Science 2013)
    • social interactions as requiring mind reading and mental content ascription
    • “Our social minds for social interactions are coordination artifacts and social institutions.”
  • I proposed to review what new approaches in cognitive science have to say about social phenomena such as this.
  • Structure of the white paper:
    • Introduce five different approaches, jointly dubbed ‘wide cognition’:
      • extended,
      • embodied,
      • enacted,
      • situated,
      • and distributed cognition.
    • Describe case studies that give more insight than agent-based modeling into social intelligence
      • (in particular, but not limited to, in IT-enabled contexts).
the background
The background
  • Some relevant research for SINTELNET is based on agent-based models, various social simulations, game-theoretic things, and mirror neuron speculations...
  • But there are interesting wide approaches as well...
game theoretic models and mirror neurons
Game-theoretic models and mirror-neurons
  • With mirror-neuron speculations, it’s obvious that they are usually empirically underdetermined
    • But neural basis of sociality does not screen off the wide cognition models.
  • Game-theoretic explanations are usually heavily idealized but might screen off wide cognition.
    • More details is not always better. If we only understand why a game-theoretic model applies, it may be treated as an abstract mechanistic model.
why not agent based models
Why not agent-based models?
  • ABMs are ‘computational method that enables a researcher to create, analyze, and experiment with models composed of agents that interact within an environment’
    • The models are not just equation-based but mimic agents
    • Artificial societies, non-linear interactions
    • Not explanatory in themselves but help run virtual experiments
  • Is there anything that these virtual models cannot cover?
  • If not: Do they omit something essential for social intelligence that wide cognition does account for?
where exactly is wide cognition relevant
Where, exactly, is wide cognition relevant?
  • Embodied joint action
  • Mind-reading
  • Social memory and social knowledge
  • Social emotions
  • Self
  • Embodied semantics and distributed language studies
  • Pretence play, virtual identities
  • Collective intentionality
  • Non-individual aspects of cultural background

Duplication of effort

  • Social intelligence can be explained and modeled in various approaches. There is a danger of duplicating effort.


  • Empirical evidence in various theories may rather constrain other theories rather than screen them off. We should strive for integration (via truth-constraints).
what next
What next?
  • I want to include selected case studies in the white paper. We will discuss this on Friday.
  • Dangers and challenges are important.
  • Thank you!