Special Issue "Information-Processing and Embodied, Embedded, Enactive Cognition. Morphological Computing and Evolution of Cognition. Part 3"

A special issue of Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300). This special issue belongs to the section "Multidisciplinary Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022 | Viewed by 2050

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marcin Miłkowski
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-330 Warszawa, Poland
Interests: philosophy of cognitive science; philosophy of psychology; mechanistic explanation; physical computation; cognition; information; mental representation
Dr. Przemysław Nowakowski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-193 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: philosophy of cognitive science; philosophy of interdisciplinary research; embodied cognition; morphological computation; bodily self-awareness

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue is the third in series dedicated to Information-Processing and Embodied, Embedded, Enactive Cognition. The first special issue was devoted to enactive cognition, the second to morphological computing and cognitive agency:

https://www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy/special_issues/enactive_cognition
https://www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy/special_issues/cognitive_agency

Continuing the theme of information-processing in embodied, embedded, enactive cognition, with morphological computing, present issue will focus on evolutionary and developmental aspects of cognition, from minimal/basal cognition of single cells up in complexity.

When talking about cognition, it is typically assumed as human capacity, seldom including animal cognition and hardly ever cognition of plants and other living organisms. Moreover, cognition is often argued to conflict with computational models, where computation is understood as symbol manipulation. It has been claimed that embodiment contradicts computational cognition, and that dynamical systems are not computational. Those supposed antinomies have been demonstrated to be false. If computation is understood as information processing in nature (natural computation/ physical computation/ analog computation / unconventional computation/) it is both embodied and dynamic.

Recent work of (Piccinini 2020) addresses biological cognition as result of neurocomputation. Even though this approach goes a step beyond conventional understanding of cognition as exclusive human capacity, it stops at organisms with nervous systems. However, “cognitive operations we usually ascribe to brains—sensing, information processing, memory, valence, decision making, learning, anticipation, problem solving, generalization and goal directedness—are all observed in living forms that don’t have brains or even neurons.” (Levin et al. 2021). Generalizing cognition, a step further from organisms with nervous systems to all living forms, brings new understanding of the mechanisms of life interpreted as cognitive process, and its different aspects like morphology and growth (Friston, Levin, Sengupta and Pezzulo 2014; Pezzulo and Levin 2015).

Based on contemporary empirical and theoretical knowledge of cognition and its evolution and development in nature (Walker, Davies, and Ellis 2017) from basal/ basic/ primitive/ elementary/ cellular to complex form of human cognition (Manicka and Levin 2019; Levin et al. 2021; Lyon et al. 2021; Stewart 1996; Dodig-Crnkovic 2014) modelled on natural information processing (natural computation), helps identifying generative mechanisms of cognition, also in form of morphological intelligence (Ghazi-Zahedi, 2019).

For this special issue, we invite contributions bringing new insights into the topics of:

  • Embodied, Embedded and Enactive cognition
  • Morphological computing, theories, and frameworks
  • Physical dynamics as computational resource
  • Reservoir computing with Liquid or Echo State Machines
  • Evolutionary aspects of cognition
  • Minimal/basal cognition and evolution
  • Modeling cognitive architectures and processes
  • Neuromorphological computing
  • Evolutionary robotics and evolutionary computation and embodied systems
  • Developmental systems, computational processes, and embodiment
  • Morphological and evolutionary aspects of affective, cognitive, and social interaction
  • Cognition and new evolutionary synthesis

Comparative research on the differences between various of natural systems and natural and artificial systems, and the role played by different morphologies (sensory and motor) or reservoirs in cognitive computation.

Dr. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic
Dr. Marcin Miłkowski
Dr. Przemysław Nowakowski
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 1800 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

  • minimal/basic cognition
  • computation
  • morphological computation
  • enactive and embodied computation
  • evolutionary and developmental approach to cognition

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
Autopoiesis, Thermodynamics, and the Natural Drift of Living Beings: Another Way to the New Evolutionary Synthesis
Entropy 2022, 24(7), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/e24070914 - 30 Jun 2022
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Abstract
The New Evolutionary Synthesis (NES) groups a series of theories that, departing from the gene-centric approach of Modern Synthesis evolutionary theory (MS), place the organism as the central agent of evolution. Two versions of NES, each one with advantages and disadvantages, can be [...] Read more.
The New Evolutionary Synthesis (NES) groups a series of theories that, departing from the gene-centric approach of Modern Synthesis evolutionary theory (MS), place the organism as the central agent of evolution. Two versions of NES, each one with advantages and disadvantages, can be distinguished in this regard; the restrictive NES and the comprehensive NES. Comparatively, the comprehensive NES is a more robust theoretical construction than the restrictive one because it comes grounded on a general, thermodynamically informed theory of living beings (something that the restrictive NES lacks). However, due to its strong teleological commitments, the comprehensive NES has serious problems fitting with modern science’s methodological framework; a problem that the restrictive version, with no explicit commitment to teleology, does not face. In this paper, we propose the autopoietic approach to evolution as a way of integrating these two versions of NES, combining the theoretical robustness of the comprehensive view with the methodological appropriateness of the restrictive one. The autopoietic approach, we show, offers a non-teleological, organism-centered theory of evolution, namely the natural drift theory (NDT), and a grounding on a thermodynamic theory of living beings, namely the embodied autopoietic theory (EAT). We conclude that, from the programmatic point of view, an autopoietic (NDT plus EAT) approach to evolution offers a promising way to develop the NES project. Full article

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Concept Paper
Biology, Buddhism, and AI: Care as the Driver of Intelligence
Entropy 2022, 24(5), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/e24050710 - 16 May 2022
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Abstract
Intelligence is a central feature of human beings’ primary and interpersonal experience. Understanding how intelligence originated and scaled during evolution is a key challenge for modern biology. Some of the most important approaches to understanding intelligence are the ongoing efforts to build new [...] Read more.
Intelligence is a central feature of human beings’ primary and interpersonal experience. Understanding how intelligence originated and scaled during evolution is a key challenge for modern biology. Some of the most important approaches to understanding intelligence are the ongoing efforts to build new intelligences in computer science (AI) and bioengineering. However, progress has been stymied by a lack of multidisciplinary consensus on what is central about intelligence regardless of the details of its material composition or origin (evolved vs. engineered). We show that Buddhist concepts offer a unique perspective and facilitate a consilience of biology, cognitive science, and computer science toward understanding intelligence in truly diverse embodiments. In coming decades, chimeric and bioengineering technologies will produce a wide variety of novel beings that look nothing like familiar natural life forms; how shall we gauge their moral responsibility and our own moral obligations toward them, without the familiar touchstones of standard evolved forms as comparison? Such decisions cannot be based on what the agent is made of or how much design vs. natural evolution was involved in their origin. We propose that the scope of our potential relationship with, and so also our moral duty toward, any being can be considered in the light of Care—a robust, practical, and dynamic lynchpin that formalizes the concepts of goal-directedness, stress, and the scaling of intelligence; it provides a rubric that, unlike other current concepts, is likely to not only survive but thrive in the coming advances of AI and bioengineering. We review relevant concepts in basal cognition and Buddhist thought, focusing on the size of an agent’s goal space (its cognitive light cone) as an invariant that tightly links intelligence and compassion. Implications range across interpersonal psychology, regenerative medicine, and machine learning. The Bodhisattva’s vow (“for the sake of all sentient life, I shall achieve awakening”) is a practical design principle for advancing intelligence in our novel creations and in ourselves. Full article
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