Thursday, January 21, 2010

Philosophy of Cognitive Architecture

I'm under contract to prepare the Philosophy of Cognitive Scienceentry for the new project, Oxford Bibliographies Online: Philosophy. Over the next week or so I'll be posting draft chunks so interested Hammer Heads can weigh in on any egregious omissions or regrettable inclusions. Below are the readings on cognitive architecture.

COGNITIVE ARCHITECTURE
Central issues concerning cognitive architecture concern the question of modularity (are distinct functions implemented in distinct modules) and the conflict between connectionists and those who favor the language of thought hypothesis (LOT). Davies (1989) touches on all three of these central issues. Aizawa (2002) discusses cognitive architecture primarily through examination of arguments for the classicist or language-of-thought-based approach. Eliasmith (2003) is primarily aimed an promoting his “Representation and Dynamics” theory, but manages along the way to provide an overview of key issues concerning the connectionism v. LOT debate. Eliasmith (2003) contains no explicit discussion of modularity.

Aizawa, K. (2002). Cognitive architecture. In S. Stich & T. Warfield (Eds.), Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Blackwell.
Accessible evaluation of key arguments in favor of the classicist language-of-thought approach to cognitive architecture.

Martin Davies (1989). Connectionism, Modularity and Tacit Knowledge. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (December):541-55.
An interesting discussion touching on the main philosophical issues of cognitive architecture: language of thought, connectionism, and modularity.

Eliasmith, C. (2003). Moving beyond metaphors: Understanding the mind for what it is. Journal of Philosophy, 100, 493-520.
A presentation of Eliasmith’s Representation and Dynamics theory that also manages to serve as an overview of connectionist and language-of-thought approaches to cognitive architecture.


CLASSICISM AND LANGUAGE OF THOUGHT
At the core of classicism (also known as symbolicism) is the language of thought hypothesis (LOT). Aydede (2008) is a top-notch discussion of LOT, and includes a section on the connectionism/classicism debate. Fodor is an iconic defender of LOT, and Fodor (1975) is a classic treatment. Fodor (2008) is the sequel.

Aydede, M. (2008). The Language of Thought Hypothesis. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/language-thought
An excellent discussion of the key issues, including the connectionism/classicism debate.

Fodor, J. A. (1975). The Language of Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The key defense by the most famous defender of the language of thought hypothesis. A classic.

Fodor, J. (2008). LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The sequel to Fodor (1975).


CONNECTIONISM
The best of the bunch here, as far as covering key issues is concerned, are Bechtel and Abrahmsen (2002) and Garson (2008). Ramsey, Stich, and Rumelhart (1991) is an influential anthology. For more partisan treatments, Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988) is a classic source of skepticism about connectionism, and Churchland (1995) and Clark (1989) are sympathetic defenders of connectionist approaches. Chalmers and Bourget (2009) is a frequently updated online bibliography on connectionism. Many of the entries contain abstracts and links to the full text of articles.


Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2002). Connectionism and the mind: Parallel processing, dynamics, and evolution in networks (2 ed.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
An excellent book-length overview of key issues.

Chalmers, D. and Bourget, D. (2009). “PhilPapers: Philosophy of Connectionism”. http://philpapers.org/browse/philosophy-of-connectionism.
A frequently updated online bibliography, many entries of which contain abstracts and links to full text of articles.

Churchland, P. M. (1995). The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A presentation of a view of key issues about the mind and brain from a heavily connectionist-centric and neuro-centric point of view.

Clark, A. (1989). Microcognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
An excellent monograph from a pro-connectionist.

Fodor, J. A., & Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1988). Connectionism and cognitive architecture. Cognition, 28, 3-71.
A classic source for skepticism about the merits of connectionism.

Garson, J. (2008). Connectionism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/connectionism
An excellent article-length overview of key issues.

Ramsey, W., Stich, S. P., & Rumelhart, D. M. (1991). Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
An influential anthology collecting articles by key figures.

MODULARITY
Robbins (2009) is an excellent overview of key issues. Much philosophical discussion of modularity concerns claims made by Fodor on behalf of modularity. Fodor (1983) is a classic source. Churchland (1988) is a classic critique. Chalmers and Bourget (2009) is a frequently updated online bibliography on modularity in cognitive science. Many of the entries contain abstracts and links to the full text of articles.

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

Churchland, P. M. (1988). Perceptual plasticity and theoretical neutrality: A reply to Jerry Fodor. Philosophy of Science, 55, 167-187.
A key source by one of the most prominent critics of Fodor’s views on modularity.

Fodor, J. A. (1983). The Modularity of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A classic text by the key defender of the modularity hypothesis.

Robbins, P. (2009). Modularity of Mind. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2009/entries/modularity-mind
An excellent overview of key issues.