On the nature of minds, or: truth and consequences

  title={On the nature of minds, or: truth and consequences},
  author={Shimon Edelman},
  journal={Journal of Experimental \& Theoretical Artificial Intelligence},
  pages={181 - 196}
  • S. Edelman
  • Published 1 September 2008
  • Philosophy
  • Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence
Are minds really dynamical or are they really symbolic? Because minds are bundles of computations, and because computation is always a matter of interpretation of one system by another, minds are necessarily symbolic. Because minds, along with everything else in the universe, are physical, and insofar as the laws of physics are dynamical, minds are necessarily dynamical systems. Thus, the short answer to the opening question is ‘yes’. It makes sense to ask further whether some of the… 

Semiotic Systems, Computers, and the Mind: How Cognition Could Be Computing

  • W. Rapaport
  • Art, Philosophy
    Int. J. Signs Semiot. Syst.
  • 2012
This reply to James H. Fetzer suggests that minds can be considered as virtual machines implemented in certain semiotic systems, primarily the brain, but also AI computers.

Towards a computational theory of experience

The Computational Origin of Representation

A theory of the underpinnings of symbolic cognition is developed that shows how sub-symbolic dynamics may give rise to higher-level cognitive representations of structures, systems of knowledge, and algorithmic processes and provides an “assembly language” for cognition.

Information processing, computation, and cognition

This paper addresses the unsatisfactory state of affairs of computation and information processing by presenting a general and theory-neutral account and defends the relevance to cognitive science of both computation, at least in a generic sense, and informationprocessing, in three important senses of the term.

Syntactic Semantics and the Proper Treatment of Computationalism

It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain, and both humans and computers are semiotic systems.

Top Mysteries of the Mind: Insights From the Default Space Model of Consciousness

From a perspective that metastable consciousness models, specifically the Default Space Model (DSM), provide insights into these mysteries, the veracity of the DSM is highlighted here in its ability to further understanding of some of the most puzzling problems in neuroscience.

As a neural approach to consciousness was emerging two decades ago

We review theories and empirical research on underlying mechanisms of selfhood, awareness, and conscious experience. The mechanisms that have been identified for these phenomena are many and

Computational demons of an adaptive brain

It is argued that computational demons are a serious impediment to scientific progress, and cannot be ignored, and analyses and proposed methods of detecting and fighting the demons, even though applied to these two specific theories only, are in fact universal for cognitive science research.

An integrative pluralistic approach to phenomenal consciousness

We review theories and empirical research on underlying mechanisms of selfhood, awareness, and conscious experience. The mechanisms that have been identified for these phenomena are many and

Dynamical Emergence of Phenomenal Consciousness: an Outline of a Theory

DET aims to explain the structure, the quantity, and the quality of phenomenal experience in terms of trajectories through the space of the system’s emergent metastable macrostates and their intrinsic (observer-independent) topology and geometry.



On implementing a computation

An account of implementation, based on the idea that a physical system implements a computation if the causal structure of the system mirrors the formal structure ofThe computation, is developed for the class of combinatorial-state automata but is sufficiently general to cover all other discrete computational formalisms.

Inadequacies of the Computer Metaphor

Objections to the attitude that cognition would have to embody the same steps in order to achieve the same results are outlined and some alternatives are considered.

Cognition and the Power of Continuous Dynamical Systems

This paper considers three arguments against the nomological possibility of dynamical systems theory, and concludes that an account of how continuously valued systems could be realized in physical systems despite the ubiquity of noise is required.

Connectionism and cognitive architecture: A critical analysis

Dynamical approaches to cognitive science

  • R. Beer
  • Psychology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2000

Incompatible Implementations of Physical Symbol Systems

The notions of “incompatibility” and “implementation” will be criticized to show that they must be revised in the context of the dynamical system approach to cognitive science.


The last twenty years or so have seen a lot of discussion about systematicity-roughly the idea that if a person's repertoire contains the sentence/thought thatJohn loves Mary, then her repertoire

Connectionism—the miracle mind model

Abstract: Connectionism as a model of the mind has recently been challenging the Classical model, in which the mind is regarded as symbol manipulating system. The main arguments against Connectionism

The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind

In this mind-expanding book, scientific pioneer Marvin Minsky continues his groundbreaking research, offering a fascinating new model for how our minds work. He argues persuasively that emotions,

The society of mind