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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Alroe H. F.
Science as systems learning: Some reflections on the cognitive and communicational aspects of science.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3160
This paper undertakes a theoretical investigation of the “learning” aspect of science as opposed to the “knowledge” aspect. The practical background of the paper is in agricultural systems research – an area of science that can be characterised as “systemic” because it is involved in the development of its own subject area, agriculture. And the practical purpose of the theoretical investigation is to contribute to a more adequate understanding of science in such areas, which can form a basis for developing and evaluating systemic research methods, and for determining appropriate criteria of scientific quality. Two main perspectives on science as a learning process are explored: research as the learning process of a cognitive system, and science as a social, communicational system. A simple model of a cognitive system is suggested, which integrates both semiotic and cybernetic aspects, as well as a model of self-reflective learning in research, which entails moving from an inside “actor” stance to an outside “observer” stance, and back. This leads to a view of scientific knowledge as inherently contextual and to the suggestion of reflexive objectivity and relevance as two related key criteria of good science.
Arbib M. A.
Warren McCulloch’s search for the logic of the nervous system.
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2915
As a young man worrying about the fundamental questions of philosophy, metaphysics, and epistemology, McCulloch set himself the goal of developing an “experimental epistemology”: how can one really understand the mind in terms of the brain? More particularly, he sought to discover “A Logical Calculus Immanent in Nervous Activity.” The present paper will seek to provide some sense of McCulloch’s search for the logic of the nervous system, but will also show that his papers contain contributions to experimental epistemology which provide great insight into the mechanisms of nervous system function without fitting into the mold of a logical calculus. Moreover, McCulloch was not only a scientist but also a storyteller, poet, and memorable “character. ” I will thus interleave a number of characteristic anecdotes into the more objective attempts at scientific history that follow.
Bagheri Noaparast K.
Constructs and words.
Constructivism in the Human Sciences
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/1058
What is the main characteristic of constructive explanation? In other words, what is the nature of a construct and, consequently, what kind of relationship is there between constructs and behavior? Kelly stated that a “psychological response is initially and basically the outcome of a construing act." (1955) Somewhere else, he asserts it more clearly: “Since they construe them differently, they will anticipate them differently and will behave differently as a consequence of their anticipations.” (Kelly, 1963, p. 90) The relationship between constructs and “psychological response” could be considered in terms of either “causation” or “implication."
This paper deals with the relation between constructs and words in George Kelly’s personal construct psychology.
Wahrheit und Wirklichkeit. Was kann die Journalismus-forschung zur journalistischen Ethik beitragen? [Truth and reality: A contribution of journalism research to the field of journalistic ethics].
In: Schicha C. & Brosda C. (eds.)
Medienethik zwischen Theorie und Praxis. Normen für die Kommunikationsgesellschaft [Media ethics between theory and practice. Norms for a communication society]
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/1869
Autopoiesis and life.
Cognitive Science Quarterly
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2469
Life is defined by Maturana and Varela as a type of self-organization: autopoiesis in the physical space. This resembles the concept of metabolism, which itself is typically included in definitions of life. Three senses of metabolism are distinguished. If life depends on either autopoiesis or metabolism (in the third sense), then strong A-Life is impossible. The theory of autopoiesis challenges concepts familiar in biology and cognitive science. While its use of informational language is too restrictive, its use of cognitive language is too liberal: life does not imply cognition.
Phenomenology, dynamical neural networks and brain function.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4008
Current cognitive science models of perception and action assume that the objects that we move toward and perceive are represented as determinate in our experience of them. A proper phenomenology of perception and action, however, shows that we experience objects indeterminately when we are perceiving them or moving toward them. This indeterminacy, as it relates to simple movement and perception, is captured in the proposed phenomenologically based recurrent network models of brain function. These models provide a possible foundation from which predicative structures may arise as an emergent phenomenon without the positing of a representing subject. These models go some way in addressing the dual constraints of phenomenological accuracy and neurophysiological plausibility that ought to guide all projects devoted to discovering the physical basis of human experience.
Biosemiotics as a possible bridge between embodiment in cognitive semantics and the motivation concept of animal cognition in ethology.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3147
In the context of the question of the emergence of mind in evolution the present paper argues that the concept of linguistic motivation, through the theory of embodiment in cognitive semantics, can be connected with the concept of motivation in ethology. This connection is established through Lakoff and Johnson’s embodied cognitive semantics on the one hand and on the other hand through the theory of biosemiotics. The biosemiotics used is based on C. S. Peirce´s semiotics and the work of J. von Uexkull. Motivation will in this context be understood as a decisive factor in determining which kind of interpretant a living system constructs when perturbed by a significant disturbance in its signification sphere. From this basis the concept of sign stimuli in Ethology, based on the concept of innate release response mechanism (IRM,) is paralleled with the concept of embodied metaphorical categorization based on the concept of idealized cognitive models (ICM). It is realized that we are dealing with motivation on two different levels, that of the linguistic and that of the perceptual-behavioral level. The connection is made through pragmatic language and sign theory viewing language as getting its meaning through language games integrated in cultural life forms and animals signs to get their meaning through sign games and natural life forms. Further connection is made through the common insight of the significant role of embodiment to create signification through the construction of a signification sphere. The later concept is a Peircian biosemiotic conceptualization of von Uexkull’s orginal Umwelt concept.
Attributing nature with justifications.
Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4236
I claim that concepts such as competition, evolution of the fittest and regulation through hierarchical constructs are all attributions we make to nature based on our culture. I think these concepts, and others of like ilk, are the results of a particular manner of emotioning, sensing and acting that is now common to most of our modern cultures. Once attributed to nature, we use these concepts as grounding premises, or as justification, to continue the manner of emotioning, sensing and acting which gave rise to them. I see this as a disquieting circularity, a blindness, that results in a way of being that we do not want, but feel compelled to. However, since we have the ability to reflect on our beliefs and to consider whether we want the consequences of maintaining them, I also see the possibility of living in a manner that we find more ethical and more pleasurable.
Camus P. A.
Evolution in Chile: Natural drift versus natural selection, or the preservation of favoured theories in the struggle for knowledge.
Revista Chilena de Historia Natural
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3046
Chilean biology covers a wide disciplinary spectrum, where evolutionary biology has been able to gain an outstanding presence, despite its notably small number of practitioners. In this regard, however, numbers may appear deceptive. For instance, a review of the papers published from 1983 to 1995 in the Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, which covers all naturalist disciplines, showed that only 4. 7 %dealt with evolutionary aspects sensu lato, a very low percent in comparison to dominant disciplines such as botany, zoology and ecology (Camus 1995) Of course, Chilean evolutionists publish in other Chilean and foreign journals, and thus the above figure is just a vague reference on the relative importance of evolution. Nevertheless, quantitative estimations could not capture the real importance or the impact of evolutionary knowledge on the formation of Chilean naturalists, regardless any explicit or implicit consideration in their own studies. Very likely, Chilean naturalists do see in evolution the ultimate foundation for their work, as an echo of that legendary statement by T. Dobzhansky, and partly as a result of a long darwinian tradition in Chilean universities. In fact, Manrfquez & Rothhammer ( 1997) documented that Darwin’s theory was already incorporated in some school texts as early as 1866, and in 1917 it was approved as part of the official educational program for public schools. This certainly lead to intense public debates between lay and catholic sectors, which lasted for about 60 years. However, Manrfquez & Rothhammer (1997) also mentioned that such a debate not only was virtually absent in Chilean universities, but darwinian theory, and even the basic tenets of the rising synthetic theory of evolution, were formally included in university curricula during the first decades of the 20�h century.
Christensen W. D.
Hooker C. A.
An interactivist-constructivist approach to intelligence: Self-directed anticipative learning.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4156
This paper outlines an original interactivist–constructivist (I-C) approach to modelling intelligence and learning as a dynamical embodied form of adaptiveness and explores some applications of I-C to understanding the way cognitive learning is realized in the brain. Two key ideas for conceptualizing intelligence within this framework are developed. These are: (1) intelligence is centrally concerned with the capacity for coherent, context-sensitive, self-directed management of interaction; and (2) the primary model for cognitive learning is anticipative skill construction. Self-directedness is a capacity for integrative process modulation which allows a system to “steer” itself through its world by anticipatively matching its own viability requirements to interaction with its environment. Because the adaptive interaction processes required of intelligent systems are too complex for effective action to be prespecified (e.g. genetically) learning is an important component of intelligence. A model of self-directed anticipative learning (SDAL) is formulated based on interactive skill construction, and argued to constitute a central constructivist process involved in cognitive development. SDAL illuminates the capacity of intelligent learners to start with the vague, poorly defined problems typically posed in realistic learning situations and progressively refine them, transforming them into problems with sufficient structure to guide the construction of a solution. Finally, some of the implications of I-C for modelling of the neuronal basis of intelligence and learning are explored; in particular, Quartz and Sejnowski’s recent neural constructivism paradigm, enriched by Montague and Sejnowski’s dopaminergic model of anticipative–predictive neural learning, is assessed as a promising, but incomplete, contribution to this approach. The paper concludes with a fourfold reflection on the divergence in cognitive modelling philosophy between the I-C and the traditional computational information processing approaches.
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