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Lecture 2

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Cognitive Science
John Vervaeke

Lecture 2 Review  Simplicity turns into the notion of elegance  Numbers are highly trustworthy and used by scientists  farfetchedness occurs if there is too much elegant.  Very plausible =profound theoretical construct, Cognitive science is to learn how to come up with such constructs, The scientific revolution is radically incomplete not quantitatively, there is knowledge we lack but more qualitative. Our cognition that generates science does not follow under the purge of science, science can’t account for the very cognition that produces it and therefore incomplete. We may undertake to fix that by offering a naturalistic account of cognition. Cognitive science is not just synoptic integration by creating theoretical constructs but it tries to explain the mind and complete the scientific revolution. 3 scientific revolutions that bear over cognition, naturalistic imparity- to render a synoptic integration that affords a naturalistic observation of cognition. 1) Intellectually heritage of the Greeks and the moral heritage of the Hebrews , radical changes in Greece in 500 BC First philosopher – Thales He came before Socrates, famously predicted an eclipse, we have 3 sentences from what he wrote. First sentence 1) all is the moist 2) the loadstone has psyche 3) Everything is full of gods All are false claims, the truth of the claims doesn’t matter but the type of thinking that went into it does. All is the moist – everything is made of water , is it rational? It is very plausible since actually you need water to live, water falls from the sky, first thing you hit on earth is water. It is plausible. People understood things narratively in the past. A narrative is telling a story- stories work with their agents and their reasons, we feel better knowing why things happen, we run most of our lives through narratives, example this guy committed a crime, why did he do it and how did he do. It doesn’t make us gain any value but we still want to know why and how. Thales is trying to find a substance and its properties not a narrative and not a person and its motive. Trying to find the underlying stuff that everything is made of ,sub-stance ( sub = under ,stance =standing ) . He is trying to analyze a complex phenomenon into more simple underlying stuff. Trying to analyze a more complex phenomenon with a more basic phenomenon. The loadstone has psyche – original meaning of psyche is self moving, animation than the ability to produce propositions. Loadstone- a rock that acts like a magnet. He is saying that living things have the capacity to move themselves. Trying to say magnets are moving themselves but it is rational and plausible makes good sense. Trying to find an underlying force, anthological analysis. Everything is full of gods- what was sacred or divine was what was most real at the time, he previously thought that reality was in Zeus’s thunderbolt or power which made them so real. He was trying to find a more deeper force or substance, wanted to see deeply into the reality of things. He was claiming that, that’s how were are going to make progress, we see more deeply and beyond superficial appearance. One of the first things about giving a naturalistic explanation is to stop giving a narrative one but instead to try to analyze complex phenomena , into more fundamental substances or forces. ANALYZE is the first thing the naturalistic observance in cognitive science is trying to do. Naturalistic imperative. From this scientific revolution we learn to ANALYZE The second scientific revolution 50-70’s in the 16 century, The science that drives the scientific revolution is astronomy, which is not experimental, but you can do what Copernicus did and use the new math that came out of the Arabic world, applies this to data in the sky. Copernicus proposes that the sun should be put at the center of the model of the universe since it will make the math better. Galileo is similar as well, mathematics is the language of the universe. Galileo uses math in a weird way, would use a triangle to represent the relationship between speed distance and time, weird coz their is nothing triangular about speed. Descartes- laying in bed, floor is tiled and there is a fly in the room , he notices he can track the position of the fly by inventing Cartesian coordinates. He realizes analytical geometry; any geometric shape can be converted into algebraic equation. It starts to occur to him, If this can be described by geometry then all of this can be describe by equations. The hallmark of the scientific evolution is to render all equations into mathematical formulas, this is known as formalizing your explanations. One of the hallmarks is to avoid a particular kind of reasoning. A fallacy is a style of reasoning that will always lead you a stray or lead you into error. Homunculus fallacy- in cognitive science there is a special role in formulization to prevent homunculus fallacy Homunculus fallacy is so bad Formulization means I want to get the explanation in the mind in mathematical terms. As a intermediate step, trying to get mathematical explanation of the mind I need to explain the mind in non mental terms. I have to ultimately explain the mind in non-mental words or you are always doing an infinite circle that is not Explanatory; explaining the mind with mental terms. Formulization is trying to to explain the operation of the phenomena in non mental terms. First you try to analyze the mind into its basic process, then you want to formulize that , how do these processes work in non mental terms. Cognitive science is trying to work within the naturalistic imperatives to follow these subgoals. We are tying to analyze the more complex cognition into more basic processes in terms of functions, operations and principles that are non mental in nature. If you don’t formulize you will be guilty of homoncular fallacy, your just presupposing, using it in the very explanation . Using vision in the explanation of vision and that is why it is circular. It is just explanatory useless, its not that you are saying false things. It looks like its going to explain so much but it doesn’t that’s why it’s a fallacy. 3 revolution A revolution that was relevant for cognitive science, the computational revolution. Alan Turing- very important guy, breaking the German code in ww2, lays the foundation for modern computer science. Math connects us to the world, if math is what makes science works and connects the mind to the outside world so maybe cognition is to mathematically and logically manipulate abstract symbols. Computation means to mathematically and logically manipulate abstract symbols. Instead of
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