Special Issue "Information-Processing and Embodied, Embedded, Enactive Cognition"
A special issue of Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2017)
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
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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
Dr. Robert Lowe
1. Cognition and Interaction Lab, School of Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde, Sweden
2. Department of Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
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Interests: computing paradigms; neural-behavioural computational modeling; affective computing; emotions theory; embodied cognition; cognitive robotics
The term cognition is a controversial one with respect to its constitution and function. Historically, it has been developed in philosophy and psychology, focused on the brain and closely connected to “thinking” (later to be re-phrased as “reasoning” and “decision making”). Cognition was identified with language-based rational thinking, construed from the formal point of view as syntactical manipulations of symbolic representations. In the early days, cognition was ascribed exclusively to humans (domains of philosophy and psychology), while among other living organisms, only certain apes would qualify as having just a minor degree of cognition. As a model of cognition, construed that way, the physical symbol system hypothesis was formulated by Newell and Simon: “a physical symbol system [such as a digital computer, for example] has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligent action.”
At the opposite, biological point of view, cognition is considered to be continuous with life; its constitution being constantly re-established by autopoietic self-organization fundamental to all living systems (Maturana and Varela). The evolutionary approach, the neuroscience approach, the network approach and the robotics approach to cognition are related in that they are either based on biological systems or inspired by biological systems as a whole and not exclusively interested in “mind” understood as “thinking”.
Many contemporary perspectives developed as combinations between information processing and embodied approaches. Advocates of constructivist (including enactivist) approaches are not alone in their eschewing of representational language, and computationalists are not only those who construe cognition as “language of thought” or even human language processing. Representatives of the “computing nature” understand cognitive processes as a part of computing nature, where computing stands for both sub-symbolic and symbolic computing.
In this Special Issue, we wish to encourage frank debate about the perceived differences in the various perspectives on embodied, embedded, and enactive versus information processing/computationalist accounts of cognition. This will be fostered by the balanced representation of contributions that represent opposing perspectives in the area.
Could it be that different approaches focus on different aspects of cognition and different phases of cognitive processes, such as thinking in early computationalism vs. generative and evolutionary mechanisms in embodied cognition? Is it possible to reconcile embodied, embedded and enactive constructivism with computationalism in a new synthesis?
The big and very important question left outside in the classical language-based, symbol system view of cognition is the role of sub-symbolic processes such as sensations, feelings and emotions. In embodied approaches the role of higher cognitive functions is still under theorized. Is it possible to smoothly connect AI without representation providing generative (constructive, evolutionary) explanations with language-based symbol-manipulating theories?
In this Special Issue, we would like to bring together different often opposing communities addressing basic assumptions, domains, aspects and forms of cognition studies, to discuss common problems we are facing when defining and studying the phenomenon of cognition.
We started the debate at the symposium “Embodied Cognition: Constructivist and Computationalist Perspectives” held at IACAP 2016 conference in Ferrara, with critical discussions among experts in the field concerning the controversies regarding the nature of cognition. Their contributions constitute the core of this Special Issue.
Contributions are invited on a topics including, but not limited to computational approaches to cognition, natural computation in cognitive processes, enactive cognition, embodied cognition, allostasis vs. homeostasis in cognition, emotions in cognition and related topics.
Prof. Dr. Gordana Dodig Crnkovic
Dr. Robert Lowe
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Computationalism, old and new directions
- Natural Computation
- Enactive Cognition
- Embodied Cognition
- Allostasis vs. Homeostasis in Cognition
- Emotions in Cognition