Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Content, Imagery, Innateness, and Theory of Mind

Here are some more mini-bibliographies for the philosophy of cognitive science. Can you dig it?

THEORY OF CONTENT
Cummins (1989) is a short book that offers a terrific and concise overview of the main issues in this area. For another concise overview, see also Pitt (2008). Stich & Warfield (1994) collects articles by key figures discussing key positions. Perhaps the most widely held positions are varieties of causal and teleological theories of content. For up to date reviews, see Neander (2009) for teleological theories and Rupert (2008) for causal theories. For interesting critical appraisals of representation and theory of content see Cummins (1996) and Ramsey (2008). See also, Clapin (2002), which is organized around a series of exchanges between key figures.

Clapin, H. (2002). Philosophy and Mental Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Organized around a series of exchanges between key figures such as Dennett, Clark, Cummins, Haugeland, and Cantwell-Smith.

Cummins, R. (1989). Meaning and Mental Representation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
This short book supplies an excellent and accessible overview of key issues.

Cummins, R. (1996). Representations, Targets, and Attitudes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A highly informative critical appraisal of main theories of content and defense of Cummins own favored view.

Neander, K. (2009). Teleological Theories of Mental Content. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2009/entries/content-teleological/
An excellent and up to date overview of what is probably the most widely held of the theories of content.

Pitt, D. (2008). Mental Representation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/mental-representation/
An excellent article-length overview of key issues.

Ramsey, W. (2007). Representation Reconsidered. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Critical examination of the mental representation, content, and related notions.

Rupert, R. D. (2008). Causal Theories of Mental Content. Philosophy Compass, 3(2), 353-380.
Excellent and up to date review of the varieties of causal theory of content.

Stich, S. P., & Warfield, T. A. (Eds.). (1994). Mental Representation: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
Useful anthology representing key positions and key figures.

MENTAL IMAGERY
Thomas (2009) is a terrific article-length overview that also includes an annotated bibliography. One of the central debates about imagery of interest in the philosophy of cognitive science is the debate between pictorial views of imagery and description views. For an anthology covering this debate, see Block (1981). For representative defenses of the descriptive view, see Fodor (1975) and Pylyshyn (1981). For representative defenses of the pictorial view, see Kosslyn (1994), Rollins (1989), and Tye (1991).

Block, N. (Ed.). (1981). Imagery. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
An anthology covering the descriptive/pictorial debate.

Fodor, J. A. (1975). The Language of Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Contains a classic defense of descriptivism.

Kosslyn, S.M. (1994). Image and Brain: The Resolution of the Imagery Debate. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A very thorough presentation of scientific consideration in favor of the pictorial view.

Pylyshyn, Z.W. (1981). The Imagery Debate: Analogue Media Versus Tacit Knowledge. Psychological Review(88) 16-45.
A work by one of the key defenders of the descriptive view.

Rollins, M. (1989). Mental Imagery: On the Limits of Cognitive Science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
A philosophical defense of a pictorial view.

Thomas, N. J. T. (2009). Mental Imagery. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2009/entries/mental-imagery/
A terrific and up to date overview of key issues. Also includes an excellent annotated bibliography. Highly recommended.

Tye, M. (1991). The Imagery Debate. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A philosophical defense of a pictorial view.


INNATENESS
For an excellent and concise reviews, see Cowie (2008) and Griffiths (2009). Much contemporary cognitive scientific interest in innateness and nativism focuses on language, see especially, Cowie (2008). Contemporary concerns with innateness are continuous with a long historical tradition of debate over innateness. For an excellent review of the relevant history, see Samet (2008). For critiques of nativism, see Cowie (1998) and Prinz (2002). For a defense of nativism, see Fodor (1998). Bourget and Chalmers (2009) is a frequently updated online bibliography on nativism in cognitive science. Many of the entries contain abstracts and links to the full text of articles.


Bourget, D. and Chalmers, D. (2009). “PhilPapers: Nativism in Cognitive Science”. http://philpapers.org/browse/nativism-in-cognitive-science.
A frequently updated online bibliography, many entries of which contain abstracts and links to full text of articles.

Cowie, F. (1998). What's Within? Nativism Reconsidered. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A critique of nativism.

Cowie, F. (2008). Innateness and Language. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/innateness-language/
An excellent and up to date overview.

Fodor, J.A. (1998). Concepts: Where Cognitive Science went Wrong, New York: Oxford University Press.
A defense of nativism by one of its key defenders in the contemporary philosophy of cognitive science.

Griffiths, P. (2009). The Distinction Between Innate and Acquired Characteristics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2009/entries/innate-acquired/
An excellent and up to date overview.

Prinz, J.J. (2002). Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and their Perceptual Basis, Bradford Books/MIT Press.
A defense of empiricism.

Samet, J. (2008). The Historical Controversies Surrounding Innateness. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/innateness-history/
An excellent review of the historical philosophical significance of innateness.

SIMULATION V. THEORY THEORY
Two excellent reviews may be relied on to cover the opposing sides of this debate. Gordon (2009) presents the simulation side and is authored by one of the key proponents of that view. Ravenscroft (2008) presents the “theory” theory. Bourget and Chalmers (2009) is a frequently updated online bibliography on the theory of mind and folk psychology. Many of the entries contain abstracts and links to the full text of articles.

Bourget, D. and Chalmers, D. (2009). “PhilPapers: Theory of Mind and Folk Psychology”. http://philpapers.org/browse/theory-of-mind-and-folk-psychology.
A frequently updated online bibliography, many entries of which contain abstracts and links to full text of articles.

Gordon, R. M. (2009). Folk Psychology as Mental Simulation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2009/entries/folkpsych-simulation/
An overview of the case for holding that folk-psychological understanding is achieved via the simulation of the mental states of others.

Ravenscroft, I. (2008). Folk Psychology as a Theory. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/folkpsych-theory/
Concise overview of the considerations in favor of regarding folk psychological understanding as embodied as a theory.