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"Strategic reasoning, decision making, and the anti-representationalist agenda: methodological considerations for scaling-up E-cognition", James Grayot (Tilburg Center for Logic, General Ethics, and Philosophy of Science; Philosophy, U of Groningen)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 01:00pm - 02:30pm

Busch Campus, Psych 105

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Abstract:  Unlike simpler forms of cognition, strategic reasoning and decision-making appear to be representation-hungry given that they often involve imagining, engaging with, and manipulating that which is abstract or absent. From the perspective of E-theories cognition (embodied, embedded, enactive, ecological, etc.), higher cognitive tasks like these pose a legitimate challenge: they demand an explanation of how persons can think and reason about things that are not immediately present in their environment other than by means of internal mental representations. Proponents of radical E-cognition maintain that cognition, regardless of its complexity, never involves inner representational states; whereas proponents of conservative E-cognition are willing to accept that perhaps some inner states are representational. Given these differences, I will discuss some challenges for the possibility of scaling-up E-cognition by focusing on three questions: (1) What, exactly, does anti-representationalism entail? How does ontological anti-representationalism differ from methodological anti-representationalism in terms of scaling-up? (2) How might one operationalize E-cognition in the context of strategic reasoning and decision making? In lieu of representational explanations, what tools and/or modeling techniques does it utilize? (3) What, if any, are the trade-offs? 


Recommended Reading:

Degenaar, J., & Myin, E. (2014). Representation-hunger reconsidered. Synthese191(15), 3639-3648.

Raleigh, T. (2018). Tolerant enactivist cognitive science. Philosophical Explorations21(2), 226-244