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Special Issue "Information-Processing and Embodied, Embedded, Enactive Cognition Part 1"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 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

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
Website | E-Mail
Interests: computing paradigms; neural-behavioural computational modeling; affective computing; emotions theory; embodied cognition; cognitive robotics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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
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.

Keywords

  • Computationalism, old and new directions
  • Natural Computation
  • Enactive Cognition
  • Embodied Cognition
  • Allostasis vs. Homeostasis in Cognition
  • Emotions in Cognition

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Bodily Processing: The Role of Morphological Computation
Entropy 2017, 19(7), 295; doi:10.3390/e19070295
Received: 13 April 2017 / Revised: 10 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
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Abstract
The integration of embodied and computational approaches to cognition requires that non-neural body parts be described as parts of a computing system, which realizes cognitive processing. In this paper, based on research about morphological computations and the ecology of vision, I argue that
[...] Read more.
The integration of embodied and computational approaches to cognition requires that non-neural body parts be described as parts of a computing system, which realizes cognitive processing. In this paper, based on research about morphological computations and the ecology of vision, I argue that nonneural body parts could be described as parts of a computational system, but they do not realize computation autonomously, only in connection with some kind of—even in the simplest form—central control system. Finally, I integrate the proposal defended in the paper with the contemporary mechanistic approach to wide computation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Model-Based Approaches to Active Perception and Control
Entropy 2017, 19(6), 266; doi:10.3390/e19060266
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 9 June 2017
PDF Full-text (268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is an on-going debate in cognitive (neuro) science and philosophy between classical cognitive theory and embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive (“4-Es”) views of cognition—a family of theories that emphasize the role of the body in cognition and the importance of brain-body-environment interaction
[...] Read more.
There is an on-going debate in cognitive (neuro) science and philosophy between classical cognitive theory and embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive (“4-Es”) views of cognition—a family of theories that emphasize the role of the body in cognition and the importance of brain-body-environment interaction over and above internal representation. This debate touches foundational issues, such as whether the brain internally represents the external environment, and “infers” or “computes” something. Here we focus on two (4-Es-based) criticisms to traditional cognitive theories—to the notions of passive perception and of serial information processing—and discuss alternative ways to address them, by appealing to frameworks that use, or do not use, notions of internal modelling and inference. Our analysis illustrates that: an explicitly inferential framework can capture some key aspects of embodied and enactive theories of cognition; some claims of computational and dynamical theories can be reconciled rather than seen as alternative explanations of cognitive phenomena; and some aspects of cognitive processing (e.g., detached cognitive operations, such as planning and imagination) that are sometimes puzzling to explain from enactive and non-representational perspectives can, instead, be captured nicely from the perspective that internal generative models and predictive processing mediate adaptive control loops. Full article
Open AccessArticle Where There is Life There is Mind: In Support of a Strong Life-Mind Continuity Thesis
Entropy 2017, 19(4), 169; doi:10.3390/e19040169
Received: 22 February 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
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Abstract
This paper considers questions about continuity and discontinuity between life and mind. It begins by examining such questions from the perspective of the free energy principle (FEP). The FEP is becoming increasingly influential in neuroscience and cognitive science. It says that organisms act
[...] Read more.
This paper considers questions about continuity and discontinuity between life and mind. It begins by examining such questions from the perspective of the free energy principle (FEP). The FEP is becoming increasingly influential in neuroscience and cognitive science. It says that organisms act to maintain themselves in their expected biological and cognitive states, and that they can do so only by minimizing their free energy given that the long-term average of free energy is entropy. The paper then argues that there is no singular interpretation of the FEP for thinking about the relation between life and mind. Some FEP formulations express what we call an independence view of life and mind. One independence view is a cognitivist view of the FEP. It turns on information processing with semantic content, thus restricting the range of systems capable of exhibiting mentality. Other independence views exemplify what we call an overly generous non-cognitivist view of the FEP, and these appear to go in the opposite direction. That is, they imply that mentality is nearly everywhere. The paper proceeds to argue that non-cognitivist FEP, and its implications for thinking about the relation between life and mind, can be usefully constrained by key ideas in recent enactive approaches to cognitive science. We conclude that the most compelling account of the relationship between life and mind treats them as strongly continuous, and that this continuity is based on particular concepts of life (autopoiesis and adaptivity) and mind (basic and non-semantic). Full article
Open AccessArticle Situatedness and Embodiment of Computational Systems
Entropy 2017, 19(4), 162; doi:10.3390/e19040162
Received: 26 February 2017 / Revised: 1 April 2017 / Accepted: 4 April 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, the role of the environment and physical embodiment of computational systems for explanatory purposes will be analyzed. In particular, the focus will be on cognitive computational systems, understood in terms of mechanisms that manipulate semantic information. It will be argued
[...] Read more.
In this paper, the role of the environment and physical embodiment of computational systems for explanatory purposes will be analyzed. In particular, the focus will be on cognitive computational systems, understood in terms of mechanisms that manipulate semantic information. It will be argued that the role of the environment has long been appreciated, in particular in the work of Herbert A. Simon, which has inspired the mechanistic view on explanation. From Simon’s perspective, the embodied view on cognition seems natural but it is nowhere near as critical as its proponents suggest. The only point of difference between Simon and embodied cognition is the significance of body-based off-line cognition; however, it will be argued that it is notoriously over-appreciated in the current debate. The new mechanistic view on explanation suggests that even if it is critical to situate a mechanism in its environment and study its physical composition, or realization, it is also stressed that not all detail counts, and that some bodily features of cognitive systems should be left out from explanations. Full article

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