The explanatory value of some post-connectionist models

Noble, Jason, Silverman, Eric and de Pinedo, Manuel (2011) The explanatory value of some post-connectionist models. At Systematicity and the Post-Connectionist Era: Taking Stock of the Architecture of Cognition, San Jose, Andalucia, Spain, 19 - 21 May 2011.


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Thought displays a systematicity that cannot be explained by the connections between simple neuron-like units. This is the gist of Fodor and Pylyshyn’s (F & P) challenge to connectionism. Furthermore, they assume thought to be representational and there is no available method to detect representations among the mere relations between neurons and the like. In this talk we would like to question the fairness of the challenge and the correctness of the assumption, but also the need for connectionism to accept the challenge at face value. F & P seem to force us to choose between representationalism and some form of eliminativism with respect to systematicity. However, we will argue that this is a false dilemma. An explanatory pluralism grounded on the idea that thought is a property of the relation between an agent and its environment (and peers, if any) is sufficient to decline F & P’s invitation to answer the challenge by embracing connectionist explanatory fascism. This idea follows a long tradition in theoretical biology. The possibility of such a pluralism will be explored by means of recent examples from artificial life. We will finish by wondering whether, once that we abandon representationalism, it makes sense to distinguish between explanatory and ontological pluralism.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Additional Information: Event Dates: 19-21 May, 2011
Divisions : Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering > Electronics and Computer Science > Agents, Interactions & Complexity
ePrint ID: 272314
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 22 May 2011 00:43
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:20
Further Information:Google Scholar

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