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Special Issue "Information-Processing and Embodied, Embedded, Enactive Cognition Part 2: Morphological Computing and Cognitive Agency"

A special issue of Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic

1 Department of Applied Information Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
2 School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Computer Science Laboratory, Mälardalen University, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: computing paradigms; computational mechanisms of cognition; philosophy of science; epistemology of science; computing and philosophy; ethics of computing; information ethics; roboethics and engineering ethics; sustainability ethics
Guest Editor
Dr. Robert Lowe

Department of Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: computing paradigms; neural-behavioural computational modeling; affective computing; emotions theory; embodied cognition; cognitive robotics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a previous Special Issue dedicated to "Information-Processing and Embodied, Embedded, Enactive Cognition” (Part 1), we presented the current state-of-the-art of the modeling of cognition and the role of computational, embodied, embedded and enactive approaches. We investigated possibilities for reconciliation of controversies regarding the nature of cognition and the question of its adequate modeling.

This subsequent Special Issue is based on the results of the symposium “Morphological Computing and Cognitive Agency” http://is4si-2017.org/morphological-computing-cognitive-agency/ held as a part of the is4si summit in Gothenburg 12–16 June, 2017. In this Special Issue we focus on the fundamental morphological computational processes of interaction of a cognitive agent with the world. Computation in general is considered to be information processing, and it takes place on a variety of levels of organisation in a cognitive architecture. Studying computation, including morphological computing entails studying information dynamics [1,2].

Morphological computing, at its core, entails that the morphology (shape + material properties) of an agent (a living organism or a machine) both enables and constrains its possible interactions with the environment, as well as its development, including its growth and reconfiguration. Such physical computation within cognitive systems includes the off-loading of control onto the body and its interaction within the environment, thus enabling flexible and adaptive behavior [3–7]. Within the morphological computing perspective, a process of information self-structuring, according to interactive constraints, is considered critical to the emergence of process and function in cognitive systems across evolutionary and developmental timescales [1,2,6–8].

The nature of morphological computing has been investigated within a number of different frameworks, such as info-computationalism (where the world for an agent is an informational structure with dynamics that can be described as natural computation). This approach is also called natural computationalism when focus is on the type of computations, and all of nature forms a network of computational processes [2]. Specific areas related to morphological computation have also been investigated within neuro-morphological computing, embodiment and development, and social and affective interaction. [11].


We invite contributions addressing morphological computing and cognitive agency. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Modeling cognitive architectures and processes.
  • Morphological computing: Advancing theories and frameworks
  • Neuromorphological computing
  • Evolutionary robotics and evolutionary computation and embodied systems
  • Developmental systems, computational processes and embodiment
  • Morphological aspects of affective, cognitive and social interaction

Prof. Dr. Gordana Dodig Crnkovic
Dr. Robert Lowe
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Entropy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  1. Dodig-Crnkovic, G. (2012) “The Info-computational Nature of Morphological Computing”, in Müller V. C. (ed.), Theory and Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence (SAPERE; Berlin: Springer), (Selected contributions from PT-AI conference @ACT) pp. 59-68. http://sssa.bioroboticsinstitute.it/subarea/Neuromorphological
  2. Dodig-Crnkovic, G. (2016) “Information, Computation, Cognition. Agency-Based Hierarchies of Levels”. In: FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, Müller V. C. (ed.), Synthese Library 377, pp 139-159. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26485-1_10
  3. Hauser, H.; Füchslin, R.M.; Nakajima, K. (2014) “Morphological Computation – The Physical Body as Computational Resource” in e-book on “Opinions and Outlooks on Morphological Computation”, Chapter 20,
ISBN 978-3-033-04515-6, http://tinyurl.com/pjvey43
  4. Pfeifer, R.; Bongard, J. (2006) “How the body shapes the way we think: a new view of intelligence” Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT press.
  5. Nakajima, K.; Hauser, H.; Li, T.; Pfeifer, R. (2015) “Information processing via physical soft body” Scientific Reports 5 doi:10.1038/srep10487 http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150527/srep10487/full/srep10487.html
  6. Hauser, H.; Ijspeert, A.; Füchslin, R.; Pfeifer, R.; Maass, W. (2011) “Towards a theoretical foundation for morphological computation with compliant bodies” Biological Cybernetics, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 105, 355-370 http://www.springerlink.com/content/j236312507300638/
  7. McEvoy, M.A.; Correll, N. (2015) “Materials that couple sensing, actuation, computation, and communication.” Science 347(6228):1261689
  8. Jablonka, E.; Lamb, M. (2005) “Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life”. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  9. Ginsburg, S.; Jablonka, E. (2009) “Epigenetic learning in non-neural organisms”. Journal of Biosciences, 34(4), 633–646.
  10. Jablonka, E.; Lamb, M.J. (1995) “Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution”, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  11. http://sssa.bioroboticsinstitute.it/subarea/Neuromorphological


  • Morphological computing
  • Cognitive architectures and processes
  • Neuromorphological computing
  • Evolutionary robotics
  • Evolutionary info-computation
  • Developmental systems
  • Computational processes and embodiment

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Eco-Cognitive Computationalism: From Mimetic Minds to Morphology-Based Enhancement of Mimetic Bodies
Entropy 2018, 20(6), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/e20060430
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
PDF Full-text (282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Eco-cognitive computationalism sees computation in context, exploiting the ideas developed in those projects that have originated the recent views on embodied, situated, and distributed cognition. Turing’s original intellectual perspective has already clearly depicted the evolutionary emergence in humans of information, meaning, and of
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Eco-cognitive computationalism sees computation in context, exploiting the ideas developed in those projects that have originated the recent views on embodied, situated, and distributed cognition. Turing’s original intellectual perspective has already clearly depicted the evolutionary emergence in humans of information, meaning, and of the first rudimentary forms of cognition, as the result of a complex interplay and simultaneous coevolution, in time, of the states of brain/mind, body, and external environment. This cognitive process played a fundamental heuristic role in Turing’s invention of the universal logical computing machine. It is by extending this eco-cognitive perspective that we can see that the recent emphasis on the simplification of cognitive and motor tasks generated in organic agents by morphological aspects implies the construction of appropriate “mimetic bodies”, able to render the accompanied computation simpler, according to a general appeal to the “simplexity” of animal embodied cognition. I hope it will become clear that eco-cognitive computationalism does not aim at furnishing a final and stable definition of the concept of computation, such as a textbook or a different epistemological approach could provide: I intend to take into account the historical and dynamical character of the concept, to propose an intellectual framework that depicts how we can understand not only the change of its meaning, but also the “emergence” of new forms of computations. Full article
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