Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Menary on Weak and Strong Cognitivism 3

Weak cognitivism: cognition involves the processing of representations.
Strong cognitivism: all cognition involves the processing of representations with underived content.
... The weak version is consistent with most of the examples of integrated cognition that I present in Dimensions of Mind (Menary 2010). It only conflicts with examples that do not involve the processing of representations. In fact, the claim that Clark and Menary argue against cognitivism is somewhat strange since both of them allow that representations play an important role in cognitive explanations, they just don’t believe that all cognition involves the processing of representations. So their positions are quite consistent with a weak cognitivism, that cognition often involves the processing of representations, but not always.
Now, I don't propose to make much of the issue what to call a view, but the A&A view is that cognition is a matter of specific sorts of manipulations of vehicles bearing non-derived content. So, there is more to cognitivism than just representations.  [Coincidentally, I just mentioned this in my post on Ramsey for this morning.]

Clark often does talk about information processing--which we can take to be the same as manipulation of representations--but Clark does not, to my knowledge, in the EC literature mention any constraints on the types of information processing (representation manipulation) that might count as cognitive.   I could be wrong.

I do have the vague idea that at some point in his career, Andy did claim that symbol manipulation by lookup table would not be cognitive information processing, and I also have the idea that this was related to some exchange with Dennett.  But, I don't know what paper this would be in.  References would be much appreciated as I have been wondering about this literally for years.

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