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Pemikiran Immanuel Kant

November 14, 2009Uncategorized

Nama : Haryo Prabancono


NIM : C0508032
Sejarah Pemikiran Modern

Pemikiran Immanuel Kant


Proyek Kritik Kant
Tujuan utama dari filsafat kritis Kant adalah untuk menunjukkan, bahwa manusia bisa
memahami realitas alam (natural) dan moral dengan menggunakan akal budinya.
Pengetahuan tentang alam dan moralitas itu berpijak pada hukum-hukum yang bersifat
apriori, yakni hukum-hukum yang sudah ada sebelum pengalaman inderawi. Pengetahuan
teoritis tentang alam berasal dari hukum-hukum apriori yang digabungkan dengan hukum-
hukum alam obyektif. Sementara pengetahuan moral diperoleh dari hukum moral yang sudah
tertanam di dalam hati nurani manusia. Kant menentang empirisme dan rasionalisme.
Empirisme adalah paham yang berpendapat, bahwa sumber utama pengetahuan manusia
adalah pengalaman inderawi, dan bukan akal budi semata. Sementara rasionalisme
berpendapat bahwa sumber utama pengetahuan adalah akal budi yang bersifat apriori, dan
bukan pengalaman inderawi. Bagi Kant kedua pandangan tersebut Kant juga berpendapat
bahwa moralitas memiliki dasar pengetahuan yang berbeda dengan ilmu pengetahuan
(science). Oleh karena itu ia kemudian menulis Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
pada 1785, dan Critique of Practical Reason pada 1788. Pada 1790 Kant menulis Critiqe of
the Power of Judgment. Di dalamnya ia menyentuh bidang estetika. Namun pada hemat saya,
metode di dalam filsafat kritis Kant lebih nyata di dalam bukunya yang pertama, yakni
Critique of Pure Reason yang saya terjemahkan menjadi Kritik atas Rasio Murni. Buku inilah
yang kemudian menjadi acuan saya dan Buroker pada bab ini.
Di dalam bagian pengantar dari Kritik atas Rasio Murni, Kant menyatakan bahwa “walaupun
metafisika banyak dimaksudkan sebagai ratu dari ilmu-ilmu, tetapi rasionalitas metafisis kini
dihadapkan pada sebuah pengadilan. Sekali lagi, “kita harus menelusuri kembali langkah-
langkah yang telah kita rumuskan. Perdebatan di dalam refleksi metafisika telah membuat
metafisika itu sendiri menjadi semacam medan pertempuran, di mana setiap pihak yang
berperang tidak berhasil mendapatkan satu inci pun dari ‘teritori’ yang ada. Konsekuensinya
metafisika kini ‘terombang ambing’ di antara dogmatisme dan skeptisisme. Metafisika telah
menjadi pemikiran spekulatif yang meraba-raba secara acak. haruslah dikombinasikan dalam
satu bentuk sintesis filosofis yang sistematis.
Immanuel Kant berpikir lain. Pada Kant metafisika dipahami sebagai suatu ilmu tentang
batas-batas rasionalitas manusia. Metafisika tidak lagi hendak menyibak dan mengupas
prinsip mendasar segala yang ada tetapi metafisika hendak pertama-tama menyelidiki
manusia (human faculties) sebagai subjek pengetahuan. Disiplin metafisika selama ini yang
mengandaikan adanya korespondensi pikiran dan realitas hingga menafikkan keterbatasan
realitas manusia pada akhirnya direvolusi total oleh Kant. Dalam diri manusia, menurut Kant,
ada fakultas yang berperan dalam menghasilkan pengetahuan yaitu sensibilitas yang berperan
dalam menerima berbagai kesan inderawai yang tertata dalam ruang dan waktu dan
understanding yang memiliki kategori-kategori yang mengatur dan menyatukan kesan-kesan
inderawi menjadi pengetahuan.
Para filosof sebelum Kant hendak menyibak das ding an sich realitas dalam dirinya atau
neumenom oleh rasionalitas manusia, sedangkan pada Kant, hakikat realitas itu sebenarnya
tidak pernah sungguh-sungguh diketahui (misalnya Tuhan itu sesungguhnya apa? Dunia itu
apa?). yang diketahui adalah gejalahnya, fenomenanya (relitas sebagaimana
penampakkannya), sejauh saya melihatnya (das ding fur mich). Di sini Kant tidak
melegitimasi kemampuan akal budi manusia memahami esensi sebuah realitas tetapi
memahami bahwa akal budi manusia terbatas dalam memeperoleh pengetahuan dibalik
segala penampakan.
Yang hendak ditelusuri dari paper ini adalah metafisika gnoseologi Immanuel Kant. Pokok
pikiran utama yang hendak ditampilkan adalah sebuah revolusi metafisis yang diprakarsai
oleh Kant. Dengan demikian uraian yang akan saya jelaskan nanti dalam skripsi berawal dari
penjelasan tentang keberadaan metafisika gnoseologi dalam panorama filosofis sejak
munculnya para filosof awali kemudian dilanjutkan dengan perkembangannya pada abad
pertengahan, abad modern yang tentu diprakarsai oleh Descartes dan puncaknya adalah
revolusi pemikiran oleh Kant. Oleh karena itu uraian yang akan saya berikan dalam papper
berupa, yang utama, penjelasan tentang pemikiran Kant yang melihat pengetahuan itu bukan
pertama-tama bagaimana subjek itu memahami objek (subjek yang terarah pada
objek/realitas) tetapi memfokuskan diri pada bagaimana cara benak kita memahami objek
sejauh cara tersebut bersifat apriori. Maka menurut saya adalah sangat penting untuk
pertama-tama menjelaskan bagaimana cara kerja akal budi manusia sehingga bisa
menentukan segala pengenalan dan pengetahuan tentang segala realitas yang ada.
Revolusi Kopernikan
Filsafat sebelum Kant memiliki proses berpikir yang mana subjek harus mengarahkan diri
pada objek (dunia, benda-benda). Kehadiran Kant membawa sebuah evolusi besar dalam cara
berpikir metafisis, karena menurutnya, bukan subjek yang mengarahkan diri pada objek,
tetapi sebaliknya. Yang mendasar dari pemikiran Kant ini adalah ia tidak memulai dari objek-
objek tetapi dari subjek. Objek-obejk itu yang harus “menyesuaikan” diri dengan subjek.
Dengan demikian menurut filsafat Kant, realitas itu ada dalam akal budi manusia. Inilah yang
disebut sebagai revolusi Kopernikan, artinya sebuah perubahan cara berpikir semendasar
Kopernikus yang mengubah pandangan dari geosentris menuju heliosentris.
Selanjutnya filsafat Kant ini disebut sebagai filsafat transendental (transcendental
Philosophy). Filsafat transendental adalah filsafat yang berurusan bukan untuk mengetahui
objek pengalaman melainkan bagaimana subjek (manusia) bisa mengalami dan mengetahui
sesuatu. Filsafat transendental itu tidak memusatkan diri dengan urusan mengetahui dan
mengumpulkan realitas kongkrit seperti misalnya pengetahuan tentang anatomi tubuh
binatang, geografis, dll, melainkan berurusan dengan mengetahui hukum-hukum yang
mengatur pengalaman dan pemikiran manusia tentang anatomi tubuh binatang, dll. Hukum-
hukum itu oleh Kant disebut hukum apriori (hukum yang dikonstruksi akal budi manusia)
dan bukan hukum yang berdasarkan pengetahuan inderawi (aposteriori).
Dengan demikian metafisika gnoseologi Kant ini merupakan sebuah upaya untuk mereduksi
realitas kongkrit (inderawi) pada realitas di dalam akal budi. Bahwa akal budi manusia
mempunyai struktur-struktur pengetahuan mengenai segala apa yang ada.
Dalam pandangan Kant, objek itu nampak hanya dalam kategori subjek, jadi tidak ada cara
lain kecuali mengetahuinya dengan struktur kategori akal budi manusia. Sebenarnya
pemikiran Kant ini berangkat dari pemahamanya tentang hakikat realitas atau neumena itu
tidak pernah diketahui , yang kita ketahui itu gejalahnya. Sejauh objek itu saya lihat lantas
segala yang dilihat itu masuk dalam akal budi menjadi pengetahuan.
Proses Pengetahuan.
Kant menolak klaim metafisika atas pengetahuan tentang realitas fundamental (das ding an
sich). Oleh karena ketika kita berhadapan dengan realitas kita selalau mengalami realitas itu
dalam kategori-kategori yang sudah tertanam dalam benak kita. Jadi pengetahuan dan
pengenalan tentang segala yang ada itu ditentukan oleh hukum-hukum atau prinsip-prinsip
pengetahuan yang secara konstitutif ada dalam akal budi mansusia.
Untuk lebih jelasnya, saya akan membuat kerangka proses pengetahuan manusia menurut
Kant.
Rasio
Kerangka di atas adalah skema tentang proses pengetahuan dari Immanuel Kant. Kerangka
pengetahuan ini hendak menjelaskan bahwa Kant berpikir bukan melalui objek-objek tetapi
subjek. Kant hendak menyelidiki struktur pengetahuan subjek sendiri yang membentuk
pengetahuan tentang segala yang ada. Dengan cara ini Kant sekaligus suddah menunjukkan
apa sesungguhnya yang menjadi sumber dan struktur pengetahuan manusia. Pengetahuan itu
bersandar pada pengalaman inderawi dan bergerak dalam wilayah kenyataan yang bisa
dialami manusia. Dan pengetahuan itu invalid bila bergerak di laur kenyataan yang bis
adialami manusia. Itulah sebabnya maka Kant menolak metafisika-metafisika sebelumnya
yang mengganggap realitas das ding an sich bisa dicerna oleh rasionalitas manusia.
Daftar Pustaka:
http://perpustakaan-online.blogspot.com/2008/04/filsafat-metafisika-immanuel-kant.html
http://rezaantonius.multiply.com/journal/item/235

Apriori
Dari Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas

Gambar Kepala yang memiliki kategori-kategori pemikiran, salah satunya adalah Apriori
dalam berpikir - teori Imanuel Kant

Apriori adalah pengetahuan yang ada sebelum bertemu dengan pengalaman.[1] Atau dengan
kata lain, sebuah istilah yang dipakai untuk menjelaskan bahwa seseorang dapat berpikir dan
memiliki asumsi tentang segala sesuatu, sebelum bertemu dengan pengalaman dan akhirnya
mengambil kesimpulan.[1] Hal ini dipakai untuk mengritik filsafa empirisme yang hanya
menekankan yang logis, yang dialami, yaitu selalu bergantung pada pengalaman, hal itu
disebut sebagai aposteriori.[1]

Asal kata apriori adalah bahasa Latin prius yang berarti unsur-unsur, dan a berati "tidak" atau
"sebelum", jadi, apriori adalah unsur-unsur sebelum, yaitu sebelum bertemu dengan
pengalaman.[2] Dan unsur-unsur yang dimaksud adalah kategori-kategori yang dimiliki
manusia yang dipakai untuk mengolah data inderawi sehingga menghasilkan pengetahuan
yang sahih atau handal.[2]
Istilah ini paling sering dan penting dikemukakan oleh filsuf besar, Imanuel Kant.[1] Bagi
Kant, apriori berangkat dari dugaan tanpa bergantung yang empiris atau pengalaman yang
bisa ditangkap oleh inderawi.[1] Istilah ini dipakai untuk menyatakan bahwa manusia sudah
memiliki kesadaran dalam dirinya sebelum bertemu dengan pengalaman-pengalaman dalam
lingkungan dan dunianya.[1] Kant menyatakan bahwa pengetahuan yang sahih bukan hanya
bergantung dari pengamalam saja, sebab hal ini kurang logis berkenaan dengan waktu dan
asal mula.[1] Bagi dia, terdapat hal-hal yang selalu tidak bisa ditangkap dan dijelaskan oleh
inderawi saja.[1] Imanuel Kant meyakini bahwa ada sesuatu yang menjadi "dalang" atas
pikirannya.[1] Dan dia memakai istilah "transenden" untuk menunjukkan subyek yang niscaya
sudah ada itu.[1]

Tiga Pokok Pemikiran Immanuel Kant


2 November 2009 01:11 AM WIB - oleh aprillins Ada 15 tanggapan

Immanuel Kant seorang filsuf termasyur dari Jerman memiliki tiga pokok
pemikiran yang harus diketahui terlebih dahulu, dikarenakan pemikirannya begitu original
dan terlihat berbeda dari pemikiran para filsuf sebelumnya terutama berangkat dari filsuf
Inggris bernama David Hume, berikut ini pokok pemikirannya:

1. Panca indera, akal budi, rasio. Kita sudah tahu tentang arti empirisme yang
mementingkan pengalaman inderawi dalam memperoleh pengetahuan dan
rasionalisme yang mengedepankan penggunaan rasio dalam memperoleh
pengetahuan, tetapi rasio yang kita ketahui adalah sama dengan akal dan logis, namun
Kant memberi definisi berbeda. Pada Kant istilah “rasio― memiliki arti yang
baru, bukan lagi sebagai langsung kepada pemikiran, tetapi sebagai sesuatu yang ada
“di belakang” akal budi dan pengalaman inderawi. Dari sini dapat dipilah bahwa
ada tiga unsur: akal budi (Verstand), rasio (Vernunft), dan pengalaman inderawi.
2. Dalam filsafatnya Kant mencoba untuk mensinergikan antara rasionalisme dan
empirisme. Ia bertujuan untuk membuktikan bahwa sumber pengetahuan itu diperoleh
tidak hanya dari satu unsur saja melainkan dari dua unsur yaitu pengalaman inderawi
dan akal budi. Pengetahuan a-priori merupakan jenis pengetahuan yang datang lebih
dulu sebelum dialami, seperti misalnya pengetahuan akan bahaya, sedangkan a-
posteriori sebaliknya yaitu dialami dulu baru mengerti misalnya dalam menyelesaikan
Rubix Cube. Kalau salah satunya saja yang dipakai misalnya hanya empirisme saja
atau rasionalisme saja maka pengetahuan yang diperoleh tidaklah sempurna bahkan
bisa berlawanan. Filsafat Kant menyebutkan bahwa pengetahuan merupakan
gabungan (sintesis) antara keduanya.
3. Dari sini timbullah bahwa Kant adalah seorang Kopernikan dalam bidang filsafat.
Sebelum Kant, filsafat hampir selalu memandang bahwa orang (subyek) yang
mengamati obyek, tertuju pada obyek, penelitian obyek dan sebagainya. Kant
memberikan arah yang sama sekali baru, merupakan kebalikan dari filsafat
sebelumnya yaitu bahwa obyeklah yang harus mengarahkan diri kepada subyek. Kant
dapat dikatakan sebagai seorang revolusioner karena dalam ranah pengetahuan ia
tidak memulai pengetahuan dari obyek yang ada tetapi dari yang lebih dekat terlebih
dahulu yaitu si pengamat obyek (subyek).

Dengan ini tambah lagi salah satu fungsi filsafat yaitu membongkar pemikiran yang
sudah dianggap mapan dan merekonstruksikannya kembali menjadi satu yang fresh,
logis, dan berpengaruh.

Immanuel Kant
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Kant" redirects here. For other uses, see Kant (disambiguation).
Immanuel Kant

22 April 1724
Born Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad,
Russia)
12 February 1804 (aged 79)
Died
Königsberg, Prussia
Residence Königsberg, Prussia
Nationality German
Era 18th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
 Kantianism
School  Enlightenment philosophy

 Epistemology
Main
 Metaphysics
interests  Ethics
 Cosmogony

 Categorical imperative
 Transcendental idealism
 Synthetic a priori
Notable 
ideas o Noumenon
o Sapere aude
 Nebular hypothesis

Influences[show]
Influenced[show]

Signature

Part of a series on

Immanuel Kant

Major works

 Critiques of: Pure Reason; Judgment;


Practical Reason
 Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
 "What is Enlightenment?"
 Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals
 Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason
 Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch
 The Metaphysics of Morals

 Kantianism
 Kantian ethics

 Transcendental idealism
 Critical philosophy
 Sapere aude
 Schema
 A priori and a posteriori
 Analytic–synthetic distinction
 Noumenon
 Categories
 Categorical imperative

 Hypothetical imperative

 "Kingdom of Ends"
 Political philosophy

People

 George Berkeley
 René Descartes
 J. G. Fichte
 F. H. Jacobi
 G. W. F. Hegel
 David Hume
 Arthur Schopenhauer

 Baruch Spinoza
 African Spir
 Johannes Tetens

Related topics

 Schopenhauer's criticism

 German idealism
 Neo-Kantianism

 v
 t
 e

Immanuel Kant (/kænt/;[1] German: [ɪˈmaːnu̯eːl kant]; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was
a German philosopher who is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy.
He argued that fundamental concepts structure human experience, and that reason is the
source of morality. His thought continues to have a major influence in contemporary thought,
especially the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and
aesthetics.[2]

Kant's major work, the Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, 1781),[3] aimed
to explain the relationship between reason and human experience. With this project, he hoped
to move beyond what he took to be failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics. He
attempted to put an end to what he considered an era of futile and speculative theories of
human experience, while resisting the skepticism of thinkers such as David Hume.

Kant argued that our experiences are structured by necessary features of our minds. In his
view, the mind shapes and structures experience so that, on an abstract level, all human
experience shares certain essential structural features. Among other things, Kant believed that
the concepts of space and time are integral to all human experience, as are our concepts of
cause and effect.[4] One important consequence of this view is that one never has direct
experience of things, the so-called noumenal world, and that what we do experience is the
phenomenal world as conveyed by our senses. These claims summarize Kant's views upon
the subject–object problem. Kant published other important works on ethics, religion, law,
aesthetics, astronomy, and history. These included the Critique of Practical Reason (Kritik
der praktischen Vernunft, 1788), the Metaphysics of Morals (Die Metaphysik der Sitten,
1797), which dealt with ethics, and the Critique of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft, 1790),
which looks at aesthetics and teleology.

Kant aimed to resolve disputes between empirical and rationalist approaches. The former
asserted that all knowledge comes through experience; the latter maintained that reason and
innate ideas were prior. Kant argued that experience is purely subjective without first being
processed by pure reason. He also said that using reason without applying it to experience
only leads to theoretical illusions. The free and proper exercise of reason by the individual
was a theme both of the Age of Enlightenment, and of Kant's approaches to the various
problems of philosophy. His ideas influenced many thinkers in Germany during his lifetime,
and he moved philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists and empiricists. Kant is
seen as a major figure in the history and development of philosophy.

Contents
 1 Biography
o 1.1 The young scholar
o 1.2 Early work
o 1.3 The silent decade
o 1.4 Mature work
 2 Philosophy
o 2.1 Theory of perception
o 2.2 Categories of the Faculty of Understanding
o 2.3 Transcendental schema doctrine
o 2.4 Moral philosophy
 2.4.1 The first formulation
 2.4.2 The second formulation
 2.4.3 The third formulation
 2.4.4 Religion Within the Limits of Reason
 2.4.5 Idea of freedom
 2.4.6 The categories of freedom
o 2.5 Aesthetic philosophy
o 2.6 Political philosophy
 3 Anthropology
 4 Influence
o 4.1 Historical influence
o 4.2 Influence on modern thinkers
 5 Tomb and statue
 6 List of major works
 7 See also
o 7.1 Criticism
 8 Footnotes
 9 References and further reading
o 9.1 General introductions to his thought
o 9.2 Biography and historical context
o 9.3 Collections of essays
o 9.4 Theoretical philosophy
o 9.5 Practical philosophy
o 9.6 Aesthetics
o 9.7 Philosophy of religion
o 9.8 Perpetual peace and international relations
o 9.9 Other works
o 9.10 Contemporary philosophy with a Kantian influence
 10 External links

Biography
Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 in Königsberg, Prussia (since 1946 the city of Kaliningrad,
Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia), as the fourth of nine children (four of them reached adulthood).
Baptized 'Emanuel', he changed his name to 'Immanuel'[5] after learning Hebrew. Contrary to
a widespread myth that in his entire life he never traveled more than 10 miles (16 km) from
Königsberg,[6] he worked between 1750 and 1754 as a "Hauslehrer" (tutor) in Judtschen[7]
(now Veselovka, Russia, approx. 20 km) and in Groß-Arnsdorf[8] (now near Elbląg, Poland,
approx. 105 km). His father, Johann Georg Kant (1682–1746), was a German harnessmaker
from Memel, at the time Prussia's most northeastern city (now Klaipėda, Lithuania). His
mother, Anna Regina Reuter (1697–1737), was born in Nuremberg.[9] Kant's paternal
grandfather, Hans Kant,[10] had emigrated from Scotland to East Prussia, and his father still
spelled their family name "Cant".[11] In his youth, Kant was a solid, albeit unspectacular,
student. He was brought up in a Pietist household that stressed intense religious devotion,
personal humility, and a literal interpretation of the Bible. Kant received a stern education –
strict, punitive, and disciplinary – that preferred Latin and religious instruction over
mathematics and science.[12] Despite his upbringing in a religious household and still
maintaining a belief in God, he was skeptical of religion in later life; various commentators
have labelled him agnostic.[13][14][15][16][17][18] The common myths concerning Kant's personal
mannerisms are enumerated, explained, and refuted in Goldthwait's introduction to his
translation of Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime.[19] It is often held
that Kant lived a very strict and predictable life, leading to the oft-repeated story that
neighbors would set their clocks by his daily walks. He never married, but did not seem to
lack a rewarding social life — he was a popular teacher and a modestly successful author
even before starting on his major philosophical works.

The young scholar

Kant showed a great aptitude for study at an early age. He first attended the Collegium
Fridericianum and then enrolled at the University of Königsberg (where he would spend his
entire career) in 1740, at the age of 16.[20] He studied the philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz and
Christian Wolff under Martin Knutzen, a rationalist who was also familiar with developments
in British philosophy and science and who introduced Kant to the new mathematical physics
of Isaac Newton. Knutzen dissuaded Kant from the theory of pre-established harmony, which
he regarded as "the pillow for the lazy mind". He also dissuaded the young scholar from
idealism, which most philosophers in the 18th century regarded in a negative light. (The
theory of transcendental idealism that Kant developed in the Critique of Pure Reason is not
traditional idealism, i.e. the idea that reality is purely mental. In fact, Kant produced
arguments against traditional idealism in the second part of the Critique of Pure Reason.) His
father's stroke and subsequent death in 1746 interrupted his studies. Kant became a private
tutor in the smaller towns surrounding Königsberg, but continued his scholarly research. In
1747, he published his first philosophical work, Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living
Forces.

Early work

Kant is best known for his work in the philosophy of ethics and metaphysics, but he made
significant contributions to other disciplines. He made an important astronomical discovery,
namely a discovery about the nature of the Earth's rotation, for which he won the Berlin
Academy Prize in 1754.[citation needed]

According to Lord Kelvin:

"Kant pointed out in the middle of last century, what had not previously been discovered by
mathematicians or physical astronomers, that the frictional resistance against tidal currents on
the earth's surface must cause a diminution of the earth's rotational speed. This immense
discovery in Natural Philosophy seems to have attracted little attention—indeed to have
passed quite unnoticed—among mathematicians, and astronomers, and naturalists, until about
1840, when the doctrine of energy began to be taken to heart."

—Lord Kelvin, physicist, 1897

According to Thomas Huxley:

"The sort of geological speculation to which I am now referring (geological aetiology, in


short) was created as a science by that famous philosopher, Immanuel Kant, when, in 1775
[1755], he wrote his General Natural History and Theory of the Celestial Bodies; or, an
Attempt to Account for the Constitutional and Mechanical Origin of the Universe, upon
Newtonian Principles."

—Thomas H. Huxley, 1869

In the General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens (Allgemeine Naturgeschichte
und Theorie des Himmels) (1755), Kant laid out the Nebular hypothesis, in which he deduced
that the Solar System formed from a large cloud of gas, a nebula. He thus attempted to
explain the order of the solar system, seen previously by Newton as being imposed from the
beginning by God. Kant also correctly deduced that the Milky Way was a large disk of stars,
which he theorized also formed from a (much larger) spinning cloud of gas. He further
suggested the possibility that other nebulae might also be similarly large and distant disks of
stars. These postulations opened new horizons for astronomy: for the first time extending
astronomy beyond the solar system to galactic and extragalactic realms.[21]

From this point on, Kant turned increasingly to philosophical issues, although he continued to
write on the sciences throughout his life. In the early 1760s, Kant produced a series of
important works in philosophy. The False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic Figures, a work in
logic, was published in 1762. Two more works appeared the following year: Attempt to
Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy and The Only Possible
Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God. In 1764, Kant wrote
Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime and then was second to Moses
Mendelssohn in a Berlin Academy prize competition with his Inquiry Concerning the
Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality (often referred to as "The
Prize Essay"). In 1770, at the age of 45, Kant was finally appointed Professor of Logic and
Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg. Kant wrote his inaugural dissertation in
defense of this appointment. This work saw the emergence of several central themes of his
mature work, including the distinction between the faculties of intellectual thought and
sensible receptivity. Not to observe this distinction would mean to commit the error of
subreption, and, as he says in the last chapter of the dissertation, only in avoidance of this
error does metaphysics flourish.

The issue that vexed Kant was central to what twentieth century scholars termed "the
philosophy of mind". The flowering of the natural sciences had led to an understanding of
how data reaches the brain. Sunlight may fall upon a distant object, whereupon light is
reflected from various parts of the object in a way that maps the surface features (color,
texture, etc.) of the object. The light reaches the eye of a human observer, passes through the
cornea, is focused by the lens upon the retina where it forms an image similar to that formed
by light passing through a pinhole into a camera obscura. The retinal cells next send impulses
through the optic nerve and thereafter they form a mapping in the brain of the visual features
of the distant object. The interior mapping is not the exterior thing being mapped, and our
belief that there is a meaningful relationship between the exterior object and the mapping in
the brain depends on a chain of reasoning that is not fully grounded. But the uncertainty
aroused by these considerations, the uncertainties raised by optical illusions, misperceptions,
delusions, etc., are not the end of the problems.

Kant saw that the mind could not function as an empty container that simply receives data
from the outside. Something must be giving order to the incoming data. Images of external
objects must be kept in the same sequence in which they were received. This ordering occurs
through the mind's intuition of time. The same considerations apply to the mind's function of
constituting space for ordering mappings of visual and tactile signals arriving via the already
described chains of physical causation.

It is often held that Kant was a late developer, that he only became an important philosopher
in his mid-50s after rejecting his earlier views. While it is true that Kant wrote his greatest
works relatively late in life, there is a tendency to underestimate the value of his earlier
works. Recent Kant scholarship has devoted more attention to these "pre-critical" writings
and has recognized a degree of continuity with his mature work.[22]

The silent decade

At the age of 46, Kant was an established scholar and an increasingly influential philosopher.
Much was expected of him. In correspondence with his ex-student and friend Markus Herz,
Kant admitted that, in the Inaugural Dissertation, he had failed to account for the relation and
connection between our sensible and intellectual faculties—he needed to explain how we
combine sensory knowledge with reasoned knowledge, these being related but very different
processes. He also credited David Hume with awakening him from "dogmatic slumber"
(circa 1771).[23] Hume had stated that experience consists only of sequences of feelings,
images or sounds. Ideas such as "cause", goodness, or objects were not evident in experience,
so why do we believe in the reality of these? Kant felt that reason could remove this
skepticism, and he set himself to solving these problems. He did not publish any work in
philosophy for the next eleven years.

Immanuel Kant

Although fond of company and conversation with others, Kant isolated himself. He resisted
friends' attempts to bring him out of his isolation. In 1778, in response to one of these offers
by a former pupil, Kant wrote:

"Any change makes me apprehensive, even if it offers the greatest promise of improving my
condition, and I am persuaded by this natural instinct of mine that I must take heed if I wish
that the threads which the Fates spin so thin and weak in my case to be spun to any length.
My great thanks, to my well-wishers and friends, who think so kindly of me as to undertake
my welfare, but at the same time a most humble request to protect me in my current condition
from any disturbance."[24]

When Kant emerged from his silence in 1781, the result was the Critique of Pure Reason.
Although now uniformly recognized as one of the greatest works in the history of philosophy,
this Critique was largely ignored upon its initial publication. The book was long, over 800
pages in the original German edition, and written in a convoluted style. It received few
reviews, and these granted no significance to the work. Kant's former student, Johann
Gottfried Herder criticized it for placing reason as an entity worthy of criticism instead of
considering the process of reasoning within the context of language and one's entire
personality.[25] Similar to Christian Garve and Johann Georg Heinrich Feder, he rejected
Kant's position that space and time possessed a form which could be analyzed. Additionally,
Garve and Feder also faulted Kant's Critique for not explaining what determines the
differences in perception of sensations.[26] Its density made it, as Johann Gottfried Herder put
it in a letter to Johann Georg Hamann, a "tough nut to crack", obscured by "all this heavy
gossamer".[27] Its reception stood in stark contrast to the praise Kant had received for earlier
works, such as his Prize Essay and shorter works that preceded the first Critique. These well-
received and readable tracts include one on the earthquake in Lisbon that was so popular that
it was sold by the page.[28] Prior to the change in course documented in the first Critique, his
books sold well, and by the time he published Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful
and Sublime in 1764 he had become a popular author of some note.[29] Kant was disappointed
with the first Critique's reception. Recognizing the need to clarify the original treatise, Kant
wrote the Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics in 1783 as a summary of its main views.
Shortly thereafter, Kant's friend Johann Friedrich Schultz (1739–1805) (professor of
mathematics) published Erläuterungen ūber des Herrn Professor Kant Critik der reinen
Vernunft (Kōnigsberg, 1784), which was a brief but very accurate commentary on Kant's
Critique of Pure Reason.

Kant's reputation gradually rose through the latter portion of the 1780s, sparked by a series of
important works: the 1784 essay, "Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?"; 1785's
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (his first work on moral philosophy); and, from
1786, Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. But Kant's fame ultimately arrived from
an unexpected source. In 1786, Karl Reinhold began to publish a series of public letters on
the Kantian philosophy. In these letters, Reinhold framed Kant's philosophy as a response to
the central intellectual controversy of the era: the Pantheism Dispute. Friedrich Jacobi had
accused the recently deceased G. E. Lessing (a distinguished dramatist and philosophical
essayist) of Spinozism. Such a charge, tantamount to atheism, was vigorously denied by
Lessing's friend Moses Mendelssohn, and a bitter public dispute arose among partisans. The
controversy gradually escalated into a general debate over the values of the Enlightenment
and the value of reason itself. Reinhold maintained in his letters that Kant's Critique of Pure
Reason could settle this dispute by defending the authority and bounds of reason. Reinhold's
letters were widely read and made Kant the most famous philosopher of his era.

Mature work

Kant published a second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reinen Vernunft)
in 1787, heavily revising the first parts of the book. Most of his subsequent work focused on
other areas of philosophy. He continued to develop his moral philosophy, notably in 1788's
Critique of Practical Reason (known as the second Critique) and 1797's Metaphysics of
Morals. The 1790 Critique of Judgment (the third Critique) applied the Kantian system to
aesthetics and teleology.

In 1792, Kant's attempt to publish the Second of the four Pieces of Religion within the
Bounds of Bare Reason, in the journal Berlinische Monatsschrift, met with opposition from
the King's censorship commission, which had been established that same year in the context
of the French Revolution.[30] Kant then arranged to have all four pieces published as a book,
routing it through the philosophy department at the University of Jena to avoid the need for
theological censorship.[30] Kant got a now famous reprimand from the King,[30] for this action
of insubordination. When he nevertheless published a second edition in 1794, the censor was
so irate that he arranged for a royal order that required Kant never to publish or even speak
publicly about religion.[30] Kant then published his response to the King's reprimand and
explained himself, in the preface of The Conflict of the Faculties.[30]

He also wrote a number of semi-popular essays on history, religion, politics and other topics.
These works were well received by Kant's contemporaries and confirmed his preeminent
status in eighteenth century philosophy. There were several journals devoted solely to
defending and criticizing the Kantian philosophy. But despite his success, philosophical
trends were moving in another direction. Many of Kant's most important disciples (including
Reinhold, Beck and Fichte) transformed the Kantian position into increasingly radical forms
of idealism. The progressive stages of revision of Kant's teachings marked the emergence of
German Idealism. Kant opposed these developments and publicly denounced Fichte in an
open letter in 1799.[31] It was one of his final acts expounding a stance on philosophical
questions. In 1800 a student of Kant named Gottlob Benjamin Jäsche (1762–1842) published
a manual of logic for teachers called Logik, which he had prepared at Kant's request. Jäsche
prepared the Logik using a copy of a textbook in logic by Georg Freidrich Meier entitled
Auszug aus der Vernunftlehre, in which Kant had written copious notes and annotations. The
Logik has been considered of fundamental importance to Kant's philosophy, and the
understanding of it. The great nineteenth century logician Charles Sanders Peirce remarked,
in an incomplete review of Thomas Kingsmill Abbott's English translation of the introduction
to the Logik, that "Kant's whole philosophy turns upon his logic."[32] Also, Robert
Schirokauer Hartman and Wolfgang Schwarz, wrote in the translators' introduction to their
English translation of the Logik, "Its importance lies not only in its significance for the
Critique of Pure Reason, the second part of which is a restatement of fundamental tenets of
the Logic, but in its position within the whole of Kant's work."[33]

Kant's health, long poor, took a turn for the worse and he died at Königsberg on 12 February
1804, uttering "Es ist gut" ("It is good") before expiring.[34] His unfinished final work was
published as Opus Postumum.

Kant wrote a book discussing his theory of virtue in terms of independence which he believed
was “a viable modern alternative to more familiar Greek views about virtue”. His book is
often criticized because it is written in a hostile manner and fails to articulate his thoughts on
autocracy in a comprehensible manner. In the self-governance model presented by
Aristotelian virtue, the non-rational part of the soul can be brought to listen to reason through
training. Although Kantian self-governance appears to involve “a rational crackdown on
appetites and emotions” with lack of harmony between reason and emotion, Kantian virtue
denies to require “self-conquest, self-suppression, or self-silencing”. They dispute that “the
self-mastery constitutive of virtue is ultimately mastery over our tendency of will to give
priority to appetite or emotion unregulated by duty, it does not require extirpating,
suppressing, or silencing sensibility in general”.[35]

Philosophy
In Kant's essay "Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?", Kant defined the
Enlightenment as an age shaped by the Latin motto Sapere aude ("Dare to be wise"). Kant
maintained that one ought to think autonomously, free of the dictates of external authority.
His work reconciled many of the differences between the rationalist and empiricist traditions
of the 18th century. He had a decisive impact on the Romantic and German Idealist
philosophies of the 19th century. His work has also been a starting point for many 20th
century philosophers.

Kant asserted that, because of the limitations of argumentation in the absence of irrefutable
evidence, no one could really know whether there is a God and an afterlife or not. For the
sake of morality and as a ground for reason, Kant asserted, people are justified in believing in
God, even though they could never know God's presence empirically. He explained:

All the preparations of reason, therefore, in what may be called pure philosophy, are in reality
directed to those three problems only [God, the soul, and freedom]. However, these three
elements in themselves still hold independent, proportional, objective weight individually.
Moreover, in a collective relational context; namely, to know what ought to be done: if the
will is free, if there is a God, and if there is a future world. As this concerns our actions with
reference to the highest aims of life, we see that the ultimate intention of nature in her wise
provision was really, in the constitution of our reason, directed to moral interests only.[36]

The sense of an enlightened approach and the critical method required that "If one cannot
prove that a thing is, he may try to prove that it is not. And if he succeeds in doing neither (as
often occurs), he may still ask whether it is in his interest to accept one or the other of the
alternatives hypothetically, from the theoretical or the practical point of view. Hence the
question no longer is as to whether perpetual peace is a real thing or not a real thing, or as to
whether we may not be deceiving ourselves when we adopt the former alternative, but we
must act on the supposition of its being real."[37] The presupposition of God, soul, and
freedom was then a practical concern, for "Morality, by itself, constitutes a system, but
happiness does not, unless it is distributed in exact proportion to morality. This, however, is
possible in an intelligible world only under a wise author and ruler. Reason compels us to
admit such a ruler, together with life in such a world, which we must consider as future life,
or else all moral laws are to be considered as idle dreams... ."[38]

Kant claimed to have created a "Copernican revolution" in philosophy. This involved two
interconnected foundations of his "critical philosophy":

 the epistemology of Transcendental Idealism and


 the moral philosophy of the autonomy of practical reason.

These teachings placed the active, rational human subject at the center of the cognitive and
moral worlds. Kant argued that the rational order of the world as known by science was not
just the fortuitous accumulation of sense perceptions.
Conceptual unification and integration is carried out by the mind through concepts or the
"categories of the understanding" operating on the perceptual manifold within space and
time. The latter are not concepts,[39] but are forms of sensibility that are a priori necessary
conditions for any possible experience. Thus the objective order of nature and the causal
necessity that operates within it are dependent upon the mind's processes, the product of the
rule-based activity that Kant called, "synthesis." There is much discussion among Kant
scholars on the correct interpretation of this train of thought.

The 'two-world' interpretation regards Kant's position as a statement of epistemological


limitation, that we are not able to transcend the bounds of our own mind, meaning that we
cannot access the "thing-in-itself". Kant, however, also speaks of the thing in itself or
transcendental object as a product of the (human) understanding as it attempts to conceive of
objects in abstraction from the conditions of sensibility. Following this line of thought, some
interpreters have argued that the thing in itself does not represent a separate ontological
domain but simply a way of considering objects by means of the understanding alone – this is
known as the two-aspect view.

The notion of the "thing in itself" was much discussed by those who came after Kant. It was
argued that since the "thing in itself" was unknowable its existence could not simply be
assumed. Rather than arbitrarily switching to an account that was ungrounded in anything
supposed to be the "real," as did the German Idealists, another group arose to ask how our
(presumably reliable) accounts of a coherent and rule-abiding universe were actually
grounded. This new kind of philosophy became known as Phenomenology, and its founder
was Edmund Husserl.

With regard to morality, Kant argued that the source of the good lies not in anything outside
the human subject, either in nature or given by God, but rather is only the good will itself. A
good will is one that acts from duty in accordance with the universal moral law that the
autonomous human being freely gives itself. This law obliges one to treat humanity –
understood as rational agency, and represented through oneself as well as others – as an end
in itself rather than (merely) as means to other ends the individual might hold. This
necessitates practical self-reflection in which we universalize our reasons.

These ideas have largely framed or influenced all subsequent philosophical discussion and
analysis. The specifics of Kant's account generated immediate and lasting controversy.
Nevertheless, his theses – that the mind itself necessarily makes a constitutive contribution to
its knowledge, that this contribution is transcendental rather than psychological, that
philosophy involves self-critical activity, that morality is rooted in human freedom, and that
to act autonomously is to act according to rational moral principles – have all had a lasting
effect on subsequent philosophy.

Theory of perception

Main article: Critique of Pure Reason

Kant defines his theory of perception in his influential 1781 work the Critique of Pure
Reason, which has often been cited as the most significant volume of metaphysics and
epistemology in modern philosophy. Kant maintains that our understanding of the external
world had its foundations not merely in experience, but in both experience and a priori
concepts, thus offering a non-empiricist critique of rationalist philosophy, which is what
he and others referred to as his "Copernican revolution".[40][41][42]

Firstly, Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions:

1. Analytic proposition: a proposition whose predicate concept is contained in its subject


concept; e.g., "All bachelors are unmarried," or, "All bodies take up space."
2. Synthetic proposition: a proposition whose predicate concept is not contained in its
subject concept; e.g., "All bachelors are happy," or, "All bodies have weight."

Analytic propositions are true by nature of the meaning of the words involved in the sentence
— we require no further knowledge than a grasp of the language to understand this
proposition. On the other hand, synthetic statements are those that tell us something about the
world. The truth or falsehood of synthetic statements derives from something outside of their
linguistic content. In this instance, weight is not a necessary predicate of the body; until we
are told the heaviness of the body we do not know that it has weight. In this case, experience
of the body is required before its heaviness becomes clear. Before Kant's first Critique,
empiricists (cf. Hume) and rationalists (cf. Leibniz) assumed that all synthetic statements
required experience to be known.

Kant, however, contests this: he claims that elementary mathematics, like arithmetic, is
synthetic a priori, in that its statements provide new knowledge, but knowledge that is not
derived from experience. This becomes part of his over-all argument for transcendental
idealism. That is, he argues that the possibility of experience depends on certain necessary
conditions — which he calls a priori forms — and that these conditions structure and hold
true of the world of experience. In so doing, his main claims in the "Transcendental
Aesthetic" are that mathematic judgments are synthetic a priori and in addition, that Space
and Time are not derived from experience but rather are its preconditions.

Once we have grasped the concepts of addition, subtraction or the functions of basic
arithmetic, we do not need any empirical experience to know that 100 + 100 = 200, and in
this way it would appear that arithmetic is in fact analytic. However, that it is analytic can be
disproved thus: if the numbers five and seven in the calculation 5 + 7 = 12 are examined,
there is nothing to be found in them by which the number 12 can be inferred. Such it is that
"5 + 7" and "the cube root of 1,728" or "12" are not analytic because their reference is the
same but their sense is not — that the mathematic judgment "5 + 7 = 12" tells us something
new about the world. It is self-evident, and undeniably a priori, but at the same time it is
synthetic. And so Kant proves a proposition can be synthetic and known a priori.

Kant asserts that experience is based both upon the perception of external objects and a priori
knowledge.[43] The external world, he writes, provides those things that we sense. It is our
mind, though, that processes this information about the world and gives it order, allowing us
to comprehend it. Our mind supplies the conditions of space and time to experience objects.
According to the "transcendental unity of apperception", the concepts of the mind
(Understanding) and the perceptions or intuitions that garner information from phenomena
(Sensibility) are synthesized by comprehension. Without the concepts, perceptions are
nondescript; without the perceptions, concepts are meaningless — thus the famous statement,
"Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions (perceptions) without concepts are blind."[44]
Kant also makes the claim that an external environment is necessary for the establishment of
the self. Although Kant would want to argue that there is no empirical way of observing the
self, we can see the logical necessity of the self when we observe that we can have different
perceptions of the external environment over time. By uniting all of these general
representations into one global representation, we can see how a transcendental self emerges.
"I am therefore conscious of the identical self in regard to the manifold of the representations
that are given to me in an intuition because I call them all together my representations."[45]

Categories of the Faculty of Understanding

See also: Category (Kant)

Kant statue in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Kant deemed it obvious that we have some objective knowledge of the world, such as, say,
Newtonian physics. But this knowledge relies on synthetic, a priori laws of nature, like
causality and substance. The problem, then, is how this is possible. Kant's solution was to
reason that the subject must supply laws that make experience of objects possible, and that
these laws are the synthetic, a priori laws of nature that we know apply to all objects before
we experience them. So, to deduce all these laws, Kant examined experience in general,
dissecting in it what is supplied by the mind from what is supplied by the given intuitions.
What has just been explicated is commonly called a transcendental reduction.[46]

To begin with, Kant's distinction between the a posteriori being contingent and particular
knowledge, and the a priori being universal and necessary knowledge, must be kept in mind.
For if we merely connect two intuitions together in a perceiving subject, the knowledge is
always subjective because it is derived a posteriori, when what is desired is for the
knowledge to be objective, that is, for the two intuitions to refer to the object and hold good
of it necessarily universally for anyone at anytime, not just the perceiving subject in its
current condition. What else is equivalent to objective knowledge besides the a priori, that is
to say, universal and necessary knowledge? Nothing else, and hence before knowledge can be
objective, it must be incorporated under an a priori category of the understanding.[46][47]

For example, say a subject says, "The sun shines on the stone; the stone grows warm," which
is all he perceives in perception. His judgment is contingent and holds no necessity. But if he
says, "The sunshine causes the stone to warm," he subsumes the perception under the
category of causality, which is not found in the perception, and necessarily synthesizes the
concept sunshine with the concept heat, producing a necessarily universally true judgment.[46]

To explain the categories in more detail, they are the preconditions of the construction of
objects in the mind. Indeed, to even think of the sun and stone presupposes the category of
subsistence, that is, substance. For the categories synthesize the random data of the sensory
manifold into intelligible objects. This means that the categories are also the most abstract
things one can say of any object whatsoever, and hence one can have an a priori cognition of
the totality of all objects of experience if one can list all of them. To do so, Kant formulates
another transcendental deduction.[46]

Judgments are, for Kant, the preconditions of any thought. Man thinks via judgments, so all
possible judgments must be listed and the perceptions connected within them put aside, so as
to make it possible to examine the moments when the understanding is engaged in
constructing judgments. For the categories are equivalent to these moments, in that they are
concepts of intuitions in general, so far as they are determined by these moments universally
and necessarily. Thus by listing all the moments, one can deduce from them all of the
categories.[46]

One may now ask: How many possible judgments are there? Kant believed that all the
possible propositions within Aristotle's syllogistic logic are equivalent to all possible
judgments, and that all the logical operators within the propositions are equivalent to the
moments of the understanding within judgments. Thus he listed Aristotle's system in four
groups of three: quantity (universal, particular, singular), quality (affirmative, negative,
infinite), relation (categorical, hypothetical, disjunctive) and modality (problematic,
assertoric, apodeictic). The parallelism with Kant's categories is obvious: quantity (unity,
plurality, totality), quality (reality, negation, limitation), relation (substance, cause,
community) and modality (possibility, existence, necessity).[46]

The fundamental building blocks of experience, i.e. objective knowledge, are now in place.
First there is the sensibility, which supplies the mind with intuitions, and then there is the
understanding, which produces judgments of these intuitions and can subsume them under
categories. These categories lift the intuitions up out of the subject's current state of
consciousness and place them within consciousness in general, producing universally
necessary knowledge. For the categories are innate in any rational being, so any intuition
thought within a category in one mind is necessarily subsumed and understood identically in
any mind. In other words we filter what we see and hear.[46]

Transcendental schema doctrine

See also: Schema (Kant)

Kant ran into a problem with his theory that the mind plays a part in producing objective
knowledge. Intuitions and categories are entirely disparate, so how can they interact? Kant's
solution is the (transcendental) schema: a priori principles by which the transcendental
imagination connects concepts with intuitions through time. All the principles are temporally
bound, for if a concept is purely a priori, as the categories are, then they must apply for all
times. Hence there are principles such as substance is that which endures through time, and
the cause must always be prior to the effect.[48][49]
Moral philosophy

Immanuel Kant

Kant developed his moral philosophy in three works: Groundwork of the Metaphysic of
Morals (1785),[50] Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and Metaphysics of Morals (1797).

In the Groundwork, Kant's method involves trying to convert our everyday, obvious,
rational[51] knowledge of morality into philosophical knowledge. The latter two works
followed a method of using "practical reason", which is based only upon things about which
reason can tell us, and not deriving any principles from experience, to reach conclusions
which are able to be applied to the world of experience (in the second part of The Metaphysic
of Morals).

Kant is known for his theory that there is a single moral obligation, which he called the
"Categorical Imperative", and is derived from the concept of duty. Kant defines the demands
of the moral law as "categorical imperatives". Categorical imperatives are principles that are
intrinsically valid; they are good in and of themselves; they must be obeyed by all, in all
situations and circumstances, if our behavior is to observe the moral law. It is from the
Categorical Imperative that all other moral obligations are generated, and by which all moral
obligations can be tested. Kant also stated that the moral means and ends can be applied to
the categorical imperative, that rational beings can pursue certain "ends" using the
appropriate "means". Ends that are based on physical needs or wants always give merely
hypothetical imperatives. The categorical imperative, however, may be based only on
something that is an "end in itself". That is, an end that is a means only to itself and not to
some other need, desire, or purpose.[52] He believed that the moral law is a principle of reason
itself, and is not based on contingent facts about the world, such as what would make us
happy, but to act upon the moral law which has no other motive than "worthiness of being
happy".[53] Accordingly, he believed that moral obligation applies only to rational agents.[54]

A categorical imperative is an unconditional obligation; that is, it has the force of an


obligation regardless of our will or desires (Contrast this with hypothetical imperative)[55] In
Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals (1785) Kant enumerated three formulations of the
categorical imperative that he believed to be roughly equivalent.[56]
Kant believed that if an action is not done with the motive of duty, then it is without moral
value. He thought that every action should have pure intention behind it; otherwise it was
meaningless. He did not necessarily believe that the final result was the most important
aspect of an action, but that how the person felt while carrying out the action was the time at
which value was set to the result.

In Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, Kant also posited the "counter-utilitarian idea
that there is a difference between preferences and values and that considerations of individual
rights temper calculations of aggregate utility", a concept that is an axiom in economics:[57]

Everything has either a price or a dignity. Whatever has a price can be replaced by something
else as its equivalent; on the other hand, whatever is above all price, and therefore admits of
no equivalent, has a dignity. But that which constitutes the condition under which alone
something can be an end in itself does not have mere relative worth, i.e., price, but an
intrinsic worth, i.e., a dignity. (p. 53, italics in original).

A phrase quoted by Kant, which is used to summarize the counter-utilitarian nature of his
moral philosophy, is Fiat justitia, pereat mundus, ("Let justice be done, though the world
perish"), which he translates loosely as "Let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world
should perish from it". This appears in his 1795 Perpetual Peace (Zum ewigen Frieden. Ein
philosophischer Entwurf.), Appendix 1.[58][59][60]

The first formulation

The first formulation (Formula of Universal Law) of the moral imperative "requires that the
maxims be chosen as though they should hold as universal laws of nature" .[56] This
formulation in principle has as its supreme law the creed "Always act according to that
maxim whose universality as a law you can at the same time will" and is the "only condition
under which a will can never come into conflict with itself [....]"[61]

One interpretation of the first formulation is called the "universalizability test".[62] An agent's
maxim, according to Kant, is his "subjective principle of human actions": that is, what the
agent believes is his reason to act.[63] The universalisability test has five steps:

1. Find the agent's maxim (i.e., an action paired with its motivation). Take for example
the declaration "I will lie for personal benefit". Lying is the action; the motivation is
to fulfill some sort of desire. Paired together, they form the maxim.
2. Imagine a possible world in which everyone in a similar position to the real-world
agent followed that maxim. With no exception of one's self. This is in order for you to
hold people to the same principle required of yourself.
3. Decide whether any contradictions or irrationalities arise in the possible world as a
result of following the maxim.
4. If a contradiction or irrationality arises, acting on that maxim is not allowed in the real
world.
5. If there is no contradiction, then acting on that maxim is permissible, and is
sometimes required.

(For a modern parallel, see John Rawls' hypothetical situation, the original position.)

The second formulation


The second formulation (or Formula of the End in Itself) holds that "the rational being, as by
its nature an end and thus as an end in itself, must serve in every maxim as the condition
restricting all merely relative and arbitrary ends".[56] The principle dictates that you "[a]ct
with reference to every rational being (whether yourself or another) so that it is an end in
itself in your maxim", meaning that the rational being is "the basis of all maxims of action"
and "must be treated never as a mere means but as the supreme limiting condition in the use
of all means, i.e., as an end at the same time".[64]

The third formulation

The third formulation (Formula of Autonomy) is a synthesis of the first two and is the basis
for the "complete determination of all maxims". It says "that all maxims which stem from
autonomous legislation ought to harmonize with a possible realm of ends as with a realm of
nature".[56] In principle, "So act as if your maxims should serve at the same time as the
universal law (of all rational beings)", meaning that we should so act that we may think of
ourselves as "a member in the universal realm of ends", legislating universal laws through
our maxims (that is, a code of conduct), in a "possible realm of ends".[65] None may elevate
themselves above the universal law, therefore it is one's duty to follow the maxim(s).

Religion Within the Limits of Reason

Kant articulates his strongest criticisms of the organization and practices of religious
organizations to those that encourage what he sees as a religion of counterfeit service to
God.[66] Among the major targets of his criticism are external ritual, superstition and a
hierarchical church order. He sees all of these as efforts to make oneself pleasing to God in
ways other than conscientious adherence to the principle of moral rightness in the choice of
one's actions. The severity of Kant's criticisms on these matters, along with his rejection of
the possibility of theoretical proofs for the existence of God and his philosophical re-
interpretation of some basic Christian doctrines, have provided the basis for interpretations
that see Kant as thoroughly hostile to religion in general and Christianity in particular (e.g.,
Walsh 1967). Nevertheless, other interpreters consider that Kant was trying to mark off a
defensible rational core of Christian belief.[67] Kant sees in Jesus Christ the affirmation of a
"pure moral disposition of the heart" that "can make man well-pleasing to God".[66]

Idea of freedom

In the Critique of Pure Reason,[68] Kant distinguishes between the transcendental idea of
freedom, which as a psychological concept is "mainly empirical" and refers to "the question
whether we must admit a power of spontaneously beginning a series of successive things or
states" as a real ground of necessity in regard to causality,[69] and the practical concept of
freedom as the independence of our will from the "coercion" or "necessitation through
sensuous impulses". Kant finds it a source of difficulty that the practical concept of freedom
is founded on the transcendental idea of freedom,[70] but for the sake of practical interests
uses the practical meaning, taking "no account of... its transcendental meaning," which he
feels was properly "disposed of" in the Third Antinomy, and as an element in the question of
the freedom of the will is for philosophy "a real stumbling-block" that has "embarrassed
speculative reason".[69]

Kant calls practical "everything that is possible through freedom", and the pure practical laws
that are never given through sensuous conditions but are held analogously with the universal
law of causality are moral laws. Reason can give us only the "pragmatic laws of free action
through the senses", but pure practical laws given by reason a priori[71] dictate "what ought to
be done".[72][73]

The categories of freedom

In the Critique of Practical Reason, at the end of the second Main Part of the Analytics,[74]
Kant introduces, in analogy with the categories of understanding their practical counterparts,
the categories of freedom. Kant's categories of freedom appear to have primarily three
functions: as conditions of the possibility for actions (i) to be free, (ii) to be comprehensible
as free and (iii) to be morally evaluated. For Kant actions, although qua theoretical objects
they are always already constituted by means of the theoretical categories, qua practical
objects (objects of reason in its practical use, i.e. objects qua possibly good or bad) they are
constituted by means of the categories of freedom; and it is only in this way that actions, qua
phenomena, can be a consequence of freedom, and can be understood and evaluated as
such.[75]

Aesthetic philosophy

Kant discusses the subjective nature of aesthetic qualities and experiences in Observations on
the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, (1764). Kant's contribution to aesthetic theory is
developed in the Critique of Judgment (1790) where he investigates the possibility and
logical status of "judgments of taste." In the "Critique of Aesthetic Judgment," the first major
division of the Critique of Judgment, Kant used the term "aesthetic" in a manner that,
according to Kant scholar W.H. Walsh, differs from its modern sense.[76] Prior to this, in the
Critique of Pure Reason, to note essential differences between judgments of taste, moral
judgments, and scientific judgments, Kant abandoned the term "aesthetic" as "designating the
critique of taste," noting that judgments of taste could never be "directed" by "laws a
priori".[77] After A. G. Baumgarten, who wrote Aesthetica (1750–58),[78] Kant was one of the
first philosophers to develop and integrate aesthetic theory into a unified and comprehensive
philosophical system, utilizing ideas that played an integral role throughout his
philosophy.[79]

In the chapter "Analytic of the Beautiful" of the Critique of Judgment, Kant states that beauty
is not a property of an artwork or natural phenomenon, but is instead a consciousness of the
pleasure that attends the 'free play' of the imagination and the understanding. Even though it
appears that we are using reason to decide what is beautiful, the judgment is not a cognitive
judgment,[80] "and is consequently not logical, but aesthetical" (§ 1). A pure judgement of
taste is in fact subjective insofar as it refers to the emotional response of the subject and is
based upon nothing but esteem for an object itself: it is a disinterested pleasure, and we feel
that pure judgements of taste, i.e. judgements of beauty, lay claim to universal validity
(§§20–22). It is important to note that this universal validity is not derived from a determinate
concept of beauty but from common sense (§40). Kant also believed that a judgement of taste
shares characteristics engaged in a moral judgement: both are disinterested, and we hold them
to be universal. In the chapter "Analytic of the Sublime" Kant identifies the sublime as an
aesthetic quality that, like beauty, is subjective, but unlike beauty refers to an indeterminate
relationship between the faculties of the imagination and of reason, and shares the character
of moral judgments in the use of reason. The feeling of the sublime, itself officially divided
into two distinct modes (the mathematical and the dynamical sublime), describes two
subjective moments, both of which concern the relationship of the faculty of the imagination
to reason. Some commentators,[81] however, argue that Kant's critical philosophy contains a
third kind of the sublime, the moral sublime, which is the aesthetic response to the moral law
or a representation thereof, and a development of the "noble" sublime in Kant's theory of
1764. The mathematical sublime is situated in the failure of the imagination to comprehend
natural objects that appear boundless and formless, or appear "absolutely great" (§ 23–25).
This imaginative failure is then recuperated through the pleasure taken in reason's assertion of
the concept of infinity. In this move the faculty of reason proves itself superior to our fallible
sensible self (§§ 25–26). In the dynamical sublime there is the sense of annihilation of the
sensible self as the imagination tries to comprehend a vast might. This power of nature
threatens us but through the resistance of reason to such sensible annihilation, the subject
feels a pleasure and a sense of the human moral vocation. This appreciation of moral feeling
through exposure to the sublime helps to develop moral character.

Kant had developed the distinction between an object of art as a material value subject to the
conventions of society and the transcendental condition of the judgment of taste as a
"refined" value in the propositions of his Idea of A Universal History (1784). In the Fourth
and Fifth Theses of that work he identified all art as the "fruits of unsociableness" due to
men's "antagonism in society",[82] and in the Seventh Thesis asserted that while such material
property is indicative of a civilized state, only the ideal of morality and the universalization of
refined value through the improvement of the mind of man "belongs to culture".[83]

Political philosophy

Main article: Political philosophy of Immanuel Kant

In Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch[84] Kant listed several conditions that he thought
necessary for ending wars and creating a lasting peace. They included a world of
constitutional republics.[85] His classical republican theory was extended in the Science of
Right, the first part of the Metaphysics of Morals (1797).[86]

"Kant's political teaching may be summarized in a phrase: republican government and


international organization. In more characteristically Kantian terms, it is doctrine of the state
based upon the law (Rechtsstaat) and of eternal peace. Indeed, in each of these formulations,
both terms express the same idea: that of legal constitution or of "peace through law." Taken
simply by itself, Kant's political philosophy, being essentially a legal doctrine, rejects by
definition the opposition between moral education and the play of passions as alternate
foundations for social life. The state is defined as the union of men under law. The state
rightly so called is constituted by laws which are necessary a priori because they flow from
the very concept of law. A regime can be judged by no other criteria nor be assigned any
other functions, than those proper to the lawful order as such." [87]

He opposed "democracy," which at his time meant direct democracy, believing that majority
rule posed a threat to individual liberty. He stated, "...democracy is, properly speaking,
necessarily a despotism, because it establishes an executive power in which 'all' decide for or
even against one who does not agree; that is, 'all,' who are not quite all, decide, and this is a
contradiction of the general will with itself and with freedom."[88] As with most writers at the
time, he distinguished three forms of government i.e. democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy
with mixed government as the most ideal form of it.
Anthropology
Kant lectured on anthropology for over 25 years. His Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point
of View was published in 1798. (This was the subject of Michel Foucault's doctoral
dissertation.) Kant's Lectures on Anthropology were published for the first time in 1997 in
German.[89] The former was translated into English and published by the Cambridge Texts in
the History of Philosophy series in 2006.[90]

Kant was among the first people of his time to introduce anthropology as an intellectual area
of study long before the field gained popularity. As a result, his texts are considered to have
advanced the field. Kant’s point of view also influenced the works of philosophers after him
such as Martin Heidegger, Paul Ricoeur, and Jean Greisch.

Kant viewed anthropology in two broad categories. One category was the physiological
approach which he referred to as “what nature makes of the human being”. The other
category was the pragmatic approach which explored the things a human “can and should
make of himself”.[91]

Influence
Kant's influence on Western thought has been profound.[92] Over and above his influence on
specific thinkers, Kant changed the framework within which philosophical inquiry has been
carried out. He accomplished a paradigm shift: very little philosophy is now carried out in the
style of pre-Kantian philosophy. This shift consists in several closely related innovations that
have become axiomatic, in philosophy itself and in the social sciences and humanities
generally:

 Kant's "Copernican revolution", that placed the role of the human subject or knower at
the center of inquiry into our knowledge, such that it is impossible to philosophize
about things as they are independently of us or of how they are for us;[93]
 His invention of critical philosophy, that is of the notion of being able to discover and
systematically explore possible inherent limits to our ability to know through
philosophical reasoning
 His creation of the concept of "conditions of possibility", as in his notion of "the
conditions of possible experience" – that is that things, knowledge, and forms of
consciousness rest on prior conditions that make them possible, so that, to understand
or to know them, we must first understand these conditions
 His theory that objective experience is actively constituted or constructed by the
functioning of the human mind
 His notion of moral autonomy as central to humanity
 His assertion of the principle that human beings should be treated as ends rather than
as means

Some or all of these Kantian ideas can be seen in schools of thought as different from one
another as German Idealism, Marxism, positivism, phenomenology, existentialism, critical
theory, linguistic philosophy, structuralism, post-structuralism, and
deconstructionism.[94][dubious – discuss]

Historical influence
Statue of Immanuel Kant in Kaliningrad (Königsberg), Russia. Replica by Harald
Haacke (de) of the original by Christian Daniel Rauch lost in 1945.

During his own life, there was much critical attention paid to his thought. He had an influence
on Reinhold, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and Novalis during the 1780s and 1790s. The school
of thinking known as German Idealism developed from his writings. The German Idealists
Fichte and Schelling, for example, tried to bring traditional "metaphysically" laden notions
like "the Absolute", "God", and "Being" into the scope of Kant's critical thought.[95] In so
doing, the German Idealists tried to reverse Kant's view that we cannot know what we cannot
observe.

Hegel was one of Kant's first major critics. In response to what he saw as Kant's abstract and
formal account, Hegel brought about an ethic focused on the "ethical life" of the
community.[96] But Hegel's notion of "ethical life" is meant to subsume, rather than replace,
Kantian ethics. And Hegel can be seen as trying to defend Kant's idea of freedom as going
beyond finite "desires", by means of reason. Thus, in contrast to later critics like Nietzsche or
Russell, Hegel shares some of Kant's most basic concerns.[97]

Kant's thinking on religion was used in Britain to challenge the decline in religious faith in
the nineteenth century. British Catholic writers, notably G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc,
followed this approach. Ronald Englefield debated this movement, and Kant's use of
language. See Englefield's article,[98] reprinted in Englefield.[99] Criticisms of Kant were
common in the realist views of the new positivism at that time.

Arthur Schopenhauer was strongly influenced by Kant's transcendental idealism. He, like G.
E. Schulze, Jacobi, and Fichte before him, was critical of Kant's theory of the thing in itself.
Things in themselves, they argued, are neither the cause of what we observe nor are they
completely beyond our access. Ever since the first Critique of Pure Reason philosophers have
been critical of Kant's theory of the thing in itself. Many have argued, if such a thing exists
beyond experience then one cannot posit that it affects us causally, since that would entail
stretching the category 'causality' beyond the realm of experience. For a review of this
problem and the relevant literature see The Thing in Itself and the Problem of Affection in the
revised edition of Henry Allison's Kant's Transcendental Idealism. For Schopenhauer things
in themselves do not exist outside the non-rational will. The world, as Schopenhauer would
have it, is the striving and largely unconscious will.

With the success and wide influence of Hegel's writings, Kant's influence began to wane,
though there was in Germany a movement that hailed a return to Kant in the 1860s,
beginning with the publication of Kant und die Epigonen in 1865 by Otto Liebmann. His
motto was "Back to Kant", and a re-examination of his ideas began (See Neo-Kantianism).
During the turn of the 20th century there was an important revival of Kant's theoretical
philosophy, known as the Marburg School, represented in the work of Hermann Cohen, Paul
Natorp, Ernst Cassirer,[100] and anti-Neo-Kantian Nicolai Hartmann.[101]

Kant's notion of "Critique" has been quite influential. The Early German Romantics,
especially Friedrich Schlegel in his "Athenaeum Fragments", used Kant's self-reflexive
conception of criticism in their Romantic theory of poetry.[102] Also in Aesthetics, Clement
Greenberg, in his classic essay "Modernist Painting", uses Kantian criticism, what Greenberg
refers to as "immanent criticism", to justify the aims of Abstract painting, a movement
Greenberg saw as aware of the key limitiaton—flatness—that makes up the medium of
painting.[103] French philosopher Michel Foucault was also greatly influenced by Kant's
notion of "Critique" and wrote several pieces on Kant for a re-thinking of the Enlightenment
as a form of "critical thought". He went so far as to classify his own philosophy as a "critical
history of modernity, rooted in Kant".[104]

Kant believed that mathematical truths were forms of synthetic a priori knowledge, which
means they are necessary and universal, yet known through intuition.[105] Kant's often brief
remarks about mathematics influenced the mathematical school known as intuitionism, a
movement in philosophy of mathematics opposed to Hilbert's formalism, and the logicism of
Frege and Bertrand Russell.[106]

Influence on modern thinkers

West German postage stamp, 1974, commemorating the 250th anniversary of Kant's birth
With his Perpetual Peace, Kant is considered to have foreshadowed many of the ideas that
have come to form the democratic peace theory, one of the main controversies in political
science.[107]

Prominent recent Kantians include the British philosopher P. F. Strawson,[108] the American
philosophers Wilfrid Sellars[109] and Christine Korsgaard.[110] Due to the influence of
Strawson and Sellars, among others, there has been a renewed interest in Kant's view of the
mind. Central to many debates in philosophy of psychology and cognitive science is Kant's
conception of the unity of consciousness.[111]

Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls are two significant political and moral philosophers whose
work is strongly influenced by Kant's moral philosophy.[112] They have each argued against
relativism,[113] supporting the Kantian view that universality is essential to any viable moral
philosophy.

Kant's influence also has extended to the social, behavioral, and physical sciences, as in the
sociology of Max Weber, the psychology of Jean Piaget, and the linguistics of Noam
Chomsky. Kant's work on mathematics and synthetic a priori knowledge is also cited by
theoretical physicist Albert Einstein as an early influence on his intellectual development.[114]
Because of the thoroughness of the Kantian paradigm shift, his influence extends to thinkers
who neither specifically refer to his work nor use his terminology.

Scholars have shown that Kant's critical ethos has also inspired nonwestern political thinkers,
including the Muslim political reformer Tariq Ramadan.[115]. On the other hand Kant was
deeply influenced by a famous Muslim philosopher Imam Ghazali.

Tomb and statue

Kant's tomb in Kaliningrad, 2007


5 DM 1974 D silver coin commemorating the 250th birthday of Immanuel Kant in
Königsberg

Kant's tomb is today in a mausoleum adjoining the northeast corner of Königsberg Cathedral
in what is now known as Kaliningrad, Russia. The mausoleum was constructed by the
architect Friedrich Lahrs and was finished in 1924 in time for the bicentenary of Kant's birth.
Originally, Kant was buried inside the cathedral, but in 1880 his remains were moved outside
and placed in a neo-Gothic chapel adjoining the northeast corner of the cathedral. Over the
years, the chapel became dilapidated before it was demolished to make way for the
mausoleum, which was built on the same spot, where it is today.

The tomb and its mausoleum are among the few artifacts of German times preserved by the
Soviets after they conquered and annexed the city. Today, many newlyweds bring flowers to
the mausoleum.

Artifacts previously owned by Kant, known as Kantiana, were included in the Königsberg
City Museum. However, the museum was destroyed during World War II.

A replica of the statue of Kant that stood in German times in front of the main University of
Königsberg building was donated by a German entity in the early 1990s and placed in the
same grounds.

After the expulsion of Königsberg's German population at the end of World War II, the
University of Königsberg where Kant taught was replaced by the Russian-language
Kaliningrad State University, which took up the campus and surviving buildings of the
historic German university. In 2005, the university was renamed Immanuel Kant State
University of Russia. The change of name was announced at a ceremony attended by
President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany, and the
university formed a Kant Society, dedicated to the study of Kantianism.

List of major works

Cognitive Science at MIT

Cognitive science can be defined as the scientific study of the human mind. It is a discipline
that takes as its goal to characterize the nature of human knowledge – its forms and content –
and how that knowledge is acquired, processed, and used.
While there are many places where cognitive science is studied, MIT is among the very few
places the field is investigated in its full breadth. This breadth stems directly from a
fundamental belief that has driven the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the
first day of its existence – that to understand the mind, you must also understand the brain.
And this breadth means that we are continually blending research from many disciplines
including psychology, computer science, linguistics, economics, philosophy, and
neuroscience into a science of the mind that is unique.

Cognitive science
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the journal, see Cognitive Science (journal).

Figure illustrating the fields that contributed to the birth of cognitive science, including
linguistics, neuroscience, artificial Intelligence, philosophy, anthropology, and psychology.[1]

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the mind and its processes.[2] It
examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on
intelligence and behavior, especially focusing on how information is represented, processed,
and transformed (in faculties such as perception, language, memory, reasoning, and emotion)
within nervous systems (humans or other animals) and machines (e.g. computers). Cognitive
science consists of multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence,
philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology.[3] It spans many levels of analysis,
from low-level learning and decision mechanisms to high-level logic and planning; from
neural circuitry to modular brain organization. The fundamental concept of cognitive science
is that "thinking can best be understood in terms of representational structures in the mind
and computational procedures that operate on those structures."[3]

Contents
 1 Principles
o 1.1 Levels of analysis
o 1.2 Interdisciplinary nature
o 1.3 Cognitive science: the term
 2 Scope
o 2.1 Artificial intelligence
o 2.2 Attention
o 2.3 Knowledge and processing of language
o 2.4 Learning and development
o 2.5 Memory
o 2.6 Perception and action
 3 Research methods
o 3.1 Behavioral experiments
o 3.2 Brain imaging
o 3.3 Computational modeling
o 3.4 Neurobiological methods
 4 Key findings
 5 History
 6 Notable researchers
 7 See also
 8 References
 9 External links

Principles
Levels of analysis

A central tenet of cognitive science is that a complete understanding of the mind/brain cannot
be attained by studying only a single level. An example would be the problem of
remembering a phone number and recalling it later. One approach to understanding this
process would be to study behavior through direct observation. A person could be presented
with a phone number, asked to recall it after some delay. Then the accuracy of the response
could be measured. Another approach would be to study the firings of individual neurons
while a person is trying to remember the phone number. Neither of these experiments on its
own would fully explain how the process of remembering a phone number works. Even if the
technology to map out every neuron in the brain in real-time were available, and it were
known when each neuron was firing, it would still be impossible to know how a particular
firing of neurons translates into the observed behavior. Thus an understanding of how these
two levels relate to each other is needed. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human
Experience says “the new sciences of the mind need to enlarge their horizon to encompass
both lived human experience and the possibilities for transformation inherent in human
experience.”[4] This can be provided by a functional level account of the process. Studying a
particular phenomenon from multiple levels creates a better understanding of the processes
that occur in the brain to give rise to a particular behavior. Marr[5] gave a famous description
of three levels of analysis:

1. the computational theory, specifying the goals of the computation;


2. representation and algorithms, giving a representation of the inputs and outputs and
the algorithms which transform one into the other; and
3. the hardware implementation, how algorithm and representation may be physically
realized.
(See also the entry on functionalism.)

Interdisciplinary nature

Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field with contributors from various fields, including
psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy of mind, computer science, anthropology,
sociology, and biology. Cognitive science tends to view the world outside the mind much as
other sciences do. Thus it too has an objective, observer-independent existence. The field is
usually seen as compatible with the physical sciences, and uses the scientific method as well
as simulation or modeling, often comparing the output of models with aspects of human
behavior. Some doubt whether there is a unified cognitive science and prefer to speak of the
cognitive sciences in plural.[6]

Many, but not all, who consider themselves cognitive scientists have a functionalist view of
the mind—the view that mental states are classified functionally, such that any system that
performs the proper function for some mental state is considered to be in that mental state.
According to some versions of functionalism, even non-human systems, such as other animal
species, alien life forms, or advanced computers can, in principle, have mental states.

Cognitive science: the term

The term "cognitive" in "cognitive science" is used for "any kind of mental operation or
structure that can be studied in precise terms" (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999). This
conceptualization is very broad, and should not be confused with how "cognitive" is used in
some traditions of analytic philosophy, where "cognitive" has to do only with formal rules
and truth conditional semantics.

The earliest entries for the word "cognitive" in the OED take it to mean roughly "pertaining
to the action or process of knowing". The first entry, from 1586, shows the word was at one
time used in the context of discussions of Platonic theories of knowledge. Most in cognitive
science, however, presumably do not believe their field is the study of anything as certain as
the knowledge sought by Plato.[citation needed]

Scope
Cognitive science is a large field, and covers a wide array of topics on cognition. However, it
should be recognized that cognitive science is not equally concerned with every topic that
might bear on the nature and operation of the mind or intelligence. Social and cultural factors,
emotion, consciousness, animal cognition, comparative and evolutionary approaches are
frequently de-emphasized or excluded outright, often based on key philosophical conflicts.
Another important mind-related subject that the cognitive sciences tend to avoid is the
existence of qualia, with discussions over this issue being sometimes limited to only
mentioning qualia as a philosophically open matter. Some within the cognitive science
community, however, consider these to be vital topics, and advocate the importance of
investigating them.[7]

Below are some of the main topics that cognitive science is concerned with. This is not an
exhaustive list, but is meant to cover the wide range of intelligent behaviors. See List of
cognitive science topics for a list of various aspects of the field.
Artificial intelligence

Main articles: Artificial intelligence and Outline of artificial intelligence

"... One major contribution of AI and cognitive science to psychology has been the
information processing model of human thinking in which the metaphor of brain-as-computer
is taken quite literally. ." AAAI Web pages.

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves the study of cognitive phenomena in machines. One of
the practical goals of AI is to implement aspects of human intelligence in computers.
Computers are also widely used as a tool with which to study cognitive phenomena.
Computational modeling uses simulations to study how human intelligence may be
structured.[8] (See the section on computational modeling in the Research Methods section.)

There is some debate in the field as to whether the mind is best viewed as a huge array of
small but individually feeble elements (i.e. neurons), or as a collection of higher-level
structures such as symbols, schemas, plans, and rules. The former view uses connectionism to
study the mind, whereas the latter emphasizes symbolic computations. One way to view the
issue is whether it is possible to accurately simulate a human brain on a computer without
accurately simulating the neurons that make up the human brain.

Attention

Main article: Attention

Attention is the selection of important information. The human mind is bombarded with
millions of stimuli and it must have a way of deciding which of this information to process.
Attention is sometimes seen as a spotlight, meaning one can only shine the light on a
particular set of information. Experiments that support this metaphor include the dichotic
listening task (Cherry, 1957) and studies of inattentional blindness (Mack and Rock, 1998).
In the dichotic listening task, subjects are bombarded with two different messages, one in
each ear, and told to focus on only one of the messages. At the end of the experiment, when
asked about the content of the unattended message, subjects cannot report it.

Knowledge and processing of language

A well known example of a Phrase structure tree. This is one way of representing human
language that shows how different components are organized hierarchically.
Main articles: Theoretical linguistics, Cognitive linguistics, Language, Linguistics and
Psycholinguistics

The ability to learn and understand language is an extremely complex process. Language is
acquired within the first few years of life, and all humans under normal circumstances are
able to acquire language proficiently. A major driving force in the theoretical linguistic field
is discovering the nature that language must have in the abstract in order to be learned in such
a fashion. Some of the driving research questions in studying how the brain itself processes
language include: (1) To what extent is linguistic knowledge innate or learned?, (2) Why is it
more difficult for adults to acquire a second-language than it is for infants to acquire their
first-language?, and (3) How are humans able to understand novel sentences?

The study of language processing ranges from the investigation of the sound patterns of
speech to the meaning of words and whole sentences. Linguistics often divides language
processing into orthography, phonology and phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, and
pragmatics. Many aspects of language can be studied from each of these components and
from their interaction.

The study of language processing in cognitive science is closely tied to the field of
linguistics. Linguistics was traditionally studied as a part of the humanities, including studies
of history, art and literature. In the last fifty years or so, more and more researchers have
studied knowledge and use of language as a cognitive phenomenon, the main problems being
how knowledge of language can be acquired and used, and what precisely it consists of.[9]
Linguists have found that, while humans form sentences in ways apparently governed by very
complex systems, they are remarkably unaware of the rules that govern their own speech.
Thus linguists must resort to indirect methods to determine what those rules might be, if
indeed rules as such exist. In any event, if speech is indeed governed by rules, they appear to
be opaque to any conscious consideration..

Learning and development

Main articles: Learning and Developmental psychology

Learning and development are the processes by which we acquire knowledge and information
over time. Infants are born with little or no knowledge (depending on how knowledge is
defined), yet they rapidly acquire the ability to use language, walk, and recognize people and
objects. Research in learning and development aims to explain the mechanisms by which
these processes might take place.

A major question in the study of cognitive development is the extent to which certain abilities
are innate or learned. This is often framed in terms of the nature and nurture debate. The
nativist view emphasizes that certain features are innate to an organism and are determined
by its genetic endowment. The empiricist view, on the other hand, emphasizes that certain
abilities are learned from the environment. Although clearly both genetic and environmental
input is needed for a child to develop normally, considerable debate remains about how
genetic information might guide cognitive development. In the area of language acquisition,
for example, some (such as Steven Pinker)[10] have argued that specific information
containing universal grammatical rules must be contained in the genes, whereas others (such
as Jeffrey Elman and colleagues in Rethinking Innateness) have argued that Pinker's claims
are biologically unrealistic. They argue that genes determine the architecture of a learning
system, but that specific "facts" about how grammar works can only be learned as a result of
experience.

Memory
Main article: Memory

Memory allows us to store information for later retrieval. Memory is often thought of
consisting of both a long-term and short-term store. Long-term memory allows us to store
information over prolonged periods (days, weeks, years). We do not yet know the practical
limit of long-term memory capacity. Short-term memory allows us to store information over
short time scales (seconds or minutes).

Memory is also often grouped into declarative and procedural forms. Declarative memory—
grouped into subsets of semantic and episodic forms of memory—refers to our memory for
facts and specific knowledge, specific meanings, and specific experiences (e.g. "Who was the
first president of the U.S.A.?", or "What did I eat for breakfast four days ago?"). Procedural
memory allows us to remember actions and motor sequences (e.g. how to ride a bicycle) and
is often dubbed implicit knowledge or memory .

Cognitive scientists study memory just as psychologists do, but tend to focus in more on how
memory bears on cognitive processes, and the interrelationship between cognition and
memory. One example of this could be, what mental processes does a person go through to
retrieve a long-lost memory? Or, what differentiates between the cognitive process of
recognition (seeing hints of something before remembering it, or memory in context) and
recall (retrieving a memory, as in "fill-in-the-blank")?

Perception and action

The Necker cube, an example of an optical illusion

An optical illusion. The square A is exactly the same shade of gray as square B. See checker
shadow illusion.
Main article: Perception

Perception is the ability to take in information via the senses, and process it in some way.
Vision and hearing are two dominant senses that allow us to perceive the environment. Some
questions in the study of visual perception, for example, include: (1) How are we able to
recognize objects?, (2) Why do we perceive a continuous visual environment, even though
we only see small bits of it at any one time? One tool for studying visual perception is by
looking at how people process optical illusions. The image on the right of a Necker cube is an
example of a bistable percept, that is, the cube can be interpreted as being oriented in two
different directions.

The study of haptic (tactile), olfactory, and gustatory stimuli also fall into the domain of
perception.

Action is taken to refer to the output of a system. In humans, this is accomplished through
motor responses. Spatial planning and movement, speech production, and complex motor
movements are all aspects of action.

Research methods
Many different methodologies are used to study cognitive science. As the field is highly
interdisciplinary, research often cuts across multiple areas of study, drawing on research
methods from psychology, neuroscience, computer science and systems theory.

Behavioral experiments

In order to have a description of what constitutes intelligent behavior, one must study
behavior itself. This type of research is closely tied to that in cognitive psychology and
psychophysics. By measuring behavioral responses to different stimuli, one can understand
something about how those stimuli are processed. Lewandowski and Strohmetz (2009)
review a collection of innovative uses of behavioral measurement in psychology including
behavioral traces, behavioral observations, and behavioral choice.[11] Behavioral traces are
pieces of evidence that indicate behavior occurred, but the actor is not present (e.g., litter in a
parking lot or readings on an electric meter). Behavioral observations involve the direct
witnessing of the actor engaging in the behavior (e.g., watching how close a person sits next
to another person). Behavioral choices are when a person selects between two or more
options (e.g., voting behavior, choice of a punishment for another participant).

 Reaction time. The time between the presentation of a stimulus and an appropriate
response can indicate differences between two cognitive processes, and can indicate
some things about their nature. For example, if in a search task the reaction times vary
proportionally with the number of elements, then it is evident that this cognitive
process of searching involves serial instead of parallel processing.
 Psychophysical responses. Psychophysical experiments are an old psychological
technique, which has been adopted by cognitive psychology. They typically involve
making judgments of some physical property, e.g. the loudness of a sound.
Correlation of subjective scales between individuals can show cognitive or sensory
biases as compared to actual physical measurements. Some examples include:
o sameness judgments for colors, tones, textures, etc.
o threshold differences for colors, tones, textures, etc.
 Eye tracking. This methodology is used to study a variety of cognitive processes,
most notably visual perception and language processing. The fixation point of the
eyes is linked to an individual's focus of attention. Thus, by monitoring eye
movements, we can study what information is being processed at a given time. Eye
tracking allows us to study cognitive processes on extremely short time scales. Eye
movements reflect online decision making during a task, and they provide us with
some insight into the ways in which those decisions may be processed.

Brain imaging

Main article: Neuroimaging

Image of the human head with the brain. The arrow indicates the position of the
hypothalamus.

Brain imaging involves analyzing activity within the brain while performing various tasks.
This allows us to link behavior and brain function to help understand how information is
processed. Different types of imaging techniques vary in their temporal (time-based) and
spatial (location-based) resolution. Brain imaging is often used in cognitive neuroscience.

 Single photon emission computed tomography and Positron emission tomography.


SPECT and PET use radioactive isotopes, which are injected into the subject's
bloodstream and taken up by the brain. By observing which areas of the brain take up
the radioactive isotope, we can see which areas of the brain are more active than other
areas. PET has similar spatial resolution to fMRI, but it has extremely poor temporal
resolution.
 Electroencephalography. EEG measures the electrical fields generated by large
populations of neurons in the cortex by placing a series of electrodes on the scalp of
the subject. This technique has an extremely high temporal resolution, but a relatively
poor spatial resolution.
 Functional magnetic resonance imaging. fMRI measures the relative amount of
oxygenated blood flowing to different parts of the brain. More oxygenated blood in a
particular region is assumed to correlate with an increase in neural activity in that part
of the brain. This allows us to localize particular functions within different brain
regions. fMRI has moderate spatial and temporal resolution.
 Optical imaging. This technique uses infrared transmitters and receivers to measure
the amount of light reflectance by blood near different areas of the brain. Since
oxygenated and deoxygenated blood reflects light by different amounts, we can study
which areas are more active (i.e., those that have more oxygenated blood). Optical
imaging has moderate temporal resolution, but poor spatial resolution. It also has the
advantage that it is extremely safe and can be used to study infants' brains.
 Magnetoencephalography. MEG measures magnetic fields resulting from cortical
activity. It is similar to EEG, except that it has improved spatial resolution since the
magnetic fields it measures are not as blurred or attenuated by the scalp, meninges
and so forth as the electrical activity measured in EEG is. MEG uses SQUID sensors
to detect tiny magnetic fields.
Computational modeling

A neural network with two layers.

Computational models require a mathematically and logically formal representation of a


problem. Computer models are used in the simulation and experimental verification of
different specific and general properties of intelligence. Computational modeling can help us
to understand the functional organization of a particular cognitive phenomenon. There are
two basic approaches to cognitive modeling. The first is focused on abstract mental functions
of an intelligent mind and operates using symbols, and the second, which follows the neural
and associative properties of the human brain, is called subsymbolic.

 Symbolic modeling evolved from the computer science paradigms using the
technologies of Knowledge-based systems, as well as a philosophical perspective, see
for example "Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence" (GOFAI). They are
developed by the first cognitive researchers and later used in information engineering
for expert systems . Since the early 1990s it was generalized in systemics for the
investigation of functional human-like intelligence models, such as personoids, and,
in parallel, developed as the SOAR environment. Recently, especially in the context
of cognitive decision making, symbolic cognitive modeling is extended to socio-
cognitive approach including social and organization cognition interrelated with a
sub-symbolic not conscious layer.
 Subsymbolic modeling includes Connectionist/neural network models. Connectionism
relies on the idea that the mind/brain is composed of simple nodes and that the power
of the system comes primarily from the existence and manner of connections between
the simple nodes. Neural nets are textbook implementations of this approach. Some
critics of this approach feel that while these models approach biological reality as a
representation of how the system works, they lack explanatory powers because
complicated systems of connections with even simple rules are extremely complex
and often less interpretable than the system they model.

Other approaches gaining in popularity include the use of dynamical systems theory and also
techniques putting symbolic models and connectionist models into correspondence (Neural-
symbolic integration). Bayesian models, often drawn from machine learning, are also gaining
popularity.

All the above approaches tend to be generalized to the form of integrated computational
models of a synthetic/abstract intelligence, in order to be applied to the explanation and
improvement of individual and social/organizational decision-making and reasoning.

Neurobiological methods
Research methods borrowed directly from neuroscience and neuropsychology can also help
us to understand aspects of intelligence. These methods allow us to understand how
intelligent behavior is implemented in a physical system.

 Single-unit recording
 Direct brain stimulation
 Animal models
 Postmortem studies

Key findings
Cognitive science has given rise to models of human cognitive bias and risk perception, and
has been influential in the development of behavioral finance, part of economics. It has also
given rise to a new theory of the philosophy of mathematics, and many theories of artificial
intelligence, persuasion and coercion. It has made its presence known in the philosophy of
language and epistemology - a modern revival of rationalism - as well as constituting a
substantial wing of modern linguistics. Fields of cognitive science have been influential in
understanding the brain's particular functional systems (and functional deficits) ranging from
speech production to auditory processing and visual perception. It has made progress in
understanding how damage to particular areas of the brain affect cognition, and it has helped
to uncover the root causes and results of specific dysfunction, such as dyslexia, anopia, and
hemispatial neglect.

History
Cognitive science has a pre-history traceable back to ancient Greek philosophical texts (see
Plato's Meno and Aristotle's De Anima); and includes writers such as Descartes, David
Hume, Immanuel Kant, Benedict de Spinoza, Nicolas Malebranche, Pierre Cabanis, Leibniz
and John Locke. However, although these early writers contributed greatly to the
philosophical discovery of mind and this would ultimately lead to the development of
psychology, they were working with an entirely different set of tools and core concepts than
those of the cognitive scientist.

The modern culture of cognitive science can be traced back to the early cyberneticists in the
1930s and 1940s, such as Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts, who sought to understand the
organizing principles of the mind. McCulloch and Pitts developed the first variants of what
are now known as artificial neural networks, models of computation inspired by the structure
of biological neural networks.

Another precursor was the early development of the theory of computation and the digital
computer in the 1940s and 1950s. Alan Turing and John von Neumann were instrumental in
these developments. The modern computer, or Von Neumann machine, would play a central
role in cognitive science, both as a metaphor for the mind, and as a tool for investigation.

The first instance of cognitive science experiments being done at an academic institution took
place at MIT Sloan School of Management, established by J.C.R. Licklider working within
the social psychology department and conducting experiments using computer memory as
models for human cognition.[12]
In 1959, Noam Chomsky published a scathing review of B. F. Skinner's book Verbal
Behavior. At the time, Skinner's behaviorist paradigm dominated psychology: Most
psychologists focused on functional relations between stimulus and response, without
positing internal representations. Chomsky argued that in order to explain language, we
needed a theory like generative grammar, which not only attributed internal representations
but characterized their underlying order.

The term cognitive science was coined by Christopher Longuet-Higgins in his 1973
commentary on the Lighthill report, which concerned the then-current state of Artificial
Intelligence research.[13] In the same decade, the journal Cognitive Science and the Cognitive
Science Society were founded.[14] In 1982, Vassar College became the first institution in the
world to grant an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science.[15]

In the 1970s and early 1980s, much cognitive science research focused on the possibility of
artificial intelligence. Researchers such as Marvin Minsky would write computer programs in
languages such as LISP to attempt to formally characterize the steps that human beings went
through, for instance, in making decisions and solving problems, in the hope of better
understanding human thought, and also in the hope of creating artificial minds. This approach
is known as "symbolic AI".

Eventually the limits of the symbolic AI research program became apparent. For instance, it
seemed to be unrealistic to comprehensively list human knowledge in a form usable by a
symbolic computer program. The late 80s and 90s saw the rise of neural networks and
connectionism as a research paradigm. Under this point of view, often attributed to James
McClelland and David Rumelhart, the mind could be characterized as a set of complex
associations, represented as a layered network. Critics argue that there are some phenomena
which are better captured by symbolic models, and that connectionist models are often so
complex as to have little explanatory power. Recently symbolic and connectionist models
have been combined, making it possible to take advantage of both forms of explanation.[16]

Notable researchers
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See also: List of cognitive scientists

Some of the more recognized names in cognitive science are usually either the most
controversial or the most cited. Within philosophy familiar names include Daniel Dennett
who writes from a computational systems perspective, John Searle known for his
controversial Chinese room, Jerry Fodor who advocates functionalism, David Chalmers who
advocates Dualism, also known for articulating the hard problem of consciousness, Douglas
Hofstadter, famous for writing Gödel, Escher, Bach, which questions the nature of words and
thought. In the realm of linguistics, Noam Chomsky and George Lakoff have been influential
(both have also become notable as political commentators). In artificial intelligence, Marvin
Minsky, Herbert A. Simon, Allen Newell, and Kevin Warwick are prominent. Popular names
in the discipline of psychology include George A. Miller, James McClelland, Philip Johnson-
Laird, and Steven Pinker. Anthropologists Dan Sperber, Edwin Hutchins, Scott Atran, Pascal
Boyer, Michael Posner, and Joseph Henrich have been involved in collaborative projects with
cognitive and social psychologists, political scientists and evolutionary biologists in attempts
to develop general theories of culture formation, religion, and political association.

Connectionism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article
by introducing more precise citations. (April 2014)

Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive


psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind, that models mental or
behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units.
The term was introduced by Donald Hebb in the 1940s.[1] There are many forms of
connectionism, but the most common forms use neural network models.

Contents
 1 Basic principles
o 1.1 Spreading activation
o 1.2 Neural networks
o 1.3 Biological realism
o 1.4 Learning
 2 History
o 2.1 Parallel distributed processing
o 2.2 Earlier work
o 2.3 Connectionism apart from PDP
 3 Connectionism vs. computationalism debate
 4 Notes
 5 References
 6 See also
 7 External links

Basic principles
The central connectionist principle is that mental phenomena can be described by
interconnected networks of simple and often uniform units. The form of the connections and
the units can vary from model to model. For example, units in the network could represent
neurons and the connections could represent synapses.

Spreading activation

Main article: Spreading activation

In most connectionist models, networks change over time. A closely related and very
common aspect of connectionist models is activation. At any time, a unit in the network has
an activation, which is a numerical value intended to represent some aspect of the unit. For
example, if the units in the model are neurons, the activation could represent the probability
that the neuron would generate an action potential spike. Activation typically spreads to all
the other units connected to it. Spreading activation is always a feature of neural network
models, and it is very common in connectionist models used by cognitive psychologists.

Neural networks

Main article: Neural networks

Neural networks are by far the most commonly used connectionist model today. Though
there are a large variety of neural network models, they almost always follow two basic
principles regarding the mind:

1. Any mental state can be described as an (N)-dimensional vector of numeric activation


values over neural units in a network.
2. Memory is created by modifying the strength of the connections between neural units.
The connection strengths, or "weights", are generally represented as an N×N matrix.

Most of the variety among neural network models comes from:

 Interpretation of units: Units can be interpreted as neurons or groups of neurons.


 Definition of activation: Activation can be defined in a variety of ways. For example,
in a Boltzmann machine, the activation is interpreted as the probability of generating
an action potential spike, and is determined via a logistic function on the sum of the
inputs to a unit.
 Learning algorithm: Different networks modify their connections differently. In
general, any mathematically defined change in connection weights over time is
referred to as the "learning algorithm".

Connectionists are in agreement that recurrent neural networks (directed networks wherein
connections of the network can form a directed cycle) are a better model of the brain than
feedforward neural networks (directed networks with no cycles, called DAG). Many
recurrent connectionist models also incorporate dynamical systems theory. Many researchers,
such as the connectionist Paul Smolensky, have argued that connectionist models will evolve
toward fully continuous, high-dimensional, non-linear, dynamic systems approaches.

Biological realism

The neural network branch of connectionism suggests that the study of mental activity is
really the study of neural systems. This links connectionism to neuroscience, and models
involve varying degrees of biological realism. Connectionist work in general need not be
biologically realistic, but some neural network researchers, computational neuroscientists, try
to model the biological aspects of natural neural systems very closely in so-called
"neuromorphic networks". Many authors find the clear link between neural activity and
cognition to be an appealing aspect of connectionism.

Learning

The weights in a neural network are adjusted according to some learning rule or algorithm,
such as Hebbian learning. Thus, connectionists have created many sophisticated learning
procedures for neural networks. Learning always involves modifying the connection weights.
In general, these involve mathematical formulas to determine the change in weights when
given sets of data consisting of activation vectors for some subset of the neural units.

By formalizing learning in such a way, connectionists have many tools. A very common
strategy in connectionist learning methods is to incorporate gradient descent over an error
surface in a space defined by the weight matrix. All gradient descent learning in connectionist
models involves changing each weight by the partial derivative of the error surface with
respect to the weight. Backpropagation (BP), first made popular in the 1980s, is probably the
most commonly known connectionist gradient descent algorithm today. Robert Kolba's
important work in the mid-2010s pioneered connectionist-fueled predictive text analytics.

History
Connectionism can be traced to ideas more than a century old, which were little more than
speculation until the mid-to-late 20th century. Through his work on the structure of the
nervous system for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1906, the Spanish Santiago Ramón y
Cajal established the basis for studies of neural networks, but it wasn't until the 1980s that
connectionism became a popular perspective among scientists.

Parallel distributed processing

The prevailing connectionist approach today was originally known as parallel distributed
processing (PDP). It was an artificial neural network approach that stressed the parallel
nature of neural processing, and the distributed nature of neural representations. It provided a
general mathematical framework for researchers to operate in. The framework involved eight
major aspects:

 A set of processing units, represented by a set of integers.


 An activation for each unit, represented by a vector of time-dependent functions.
 An output function for each unit, represented by a vector of functions on the
activations.
 A pattern of connectivity among units, represented by a matrix of real numbers
indicating connection strength.
 A propagation rule spreading the activations via the connections, represented by a
function on the output of the units.
 An activation rule for combining inputs to a unit to determine its new activation,
represented by a function on the current activation and propagation.
 A learning rule for modifying connections based on experience, represented by a
change in the weights based on any number of variables.
 An environment that provides the system with experience, represented by sets of
activation vectors for some subset of the units.

These aspects are now the foundation for almost all connectionist models. A perceived
limitation of PDP is that it is reductionistic. That is, all cognitive processes can be explained
in terms of neural firing and communication.

A lot of the research that led to the development of PDP was done in the 1970s, but PDP
became popular in the 1980s with the release of the books Parallel Distributed Processing:
Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition - Volume 1 (foundations) and Volume 2
(Psychological and Biological Models), by James L. McClelland, David E. Rumelhart and
the PDP Research Group. The books are now considered seminal connectionist works, and it
is now common to fully equate PDP and connectionism, although the term "connectionism"
is not used in the books.

Earlier work

PDP's direct roots were the perceptron theories of researchers such as Frank Rosenblatt from
the 1950s and 1960s. But perceptron models were made very unpopular by the book
Perceptrons by Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert, published in 1969. It demonstrated the
limits on the sorts of functions that single-layered (no hidden layer) perceptrons can calculate,
showing that even simple functions like the exclusive disjunction (XOR) could not be
handled properly. The PDP books overcame this limitation by showing that multi-level, non-
linear neural networks were far more robust and could be used for a vast array of functions.[2]

Many earlier researchers advocated connectionist style models, for example in the 1940s and
1950s, Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts (MP neuron), Donald Olding Hebb, and Karl
Lashley. McCulloch and Pitts showed how neural systems could implement first-order logic:
Their classic paper "A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity" (1943) is
important in this development here. They were influenced by the important work of Nicolas
Rashevsky in the 1930s. Hebb contributed greatly to speculations about neural functioning,
and proposed a learning principle, Hebbian learning, that is still used today. Lashley argued
for distributed representations as a result of his failure to find anything like a localized
engram in years of lesion experiments.

Connectionism apart from PDP

Though PDP is the dominant form of connectionism, other theoretical work should also be
classified as connectionist.

Many connectionist principles can be traced to early work in psychology, such as that of
William James.[3] Psychological theories based on knowledge about the human brain were
fashionable in the late 19th century. As early as 1869, the neurologist John Hughlings
Jackson argued for multi-level, distributed systems. Following from this lead, Herbert
Spencer's Principles of Psychology, 3rd edition (1872), and Sigmund Freud's Project for a
Scientific Psychology (composed 1895) propounded connectionist or proto-connectionist
theories. These tended to be speculative theories. But by the early 20th century, Edward
Thorndike was experimenting on learning that posited a connectionist type network.

In the 1950s, Friedrich Hayek proposed that spontaneous order in the brain arose out of
decentralized networks of simple units. Hayek's work was rarely cited in the PDP literature
until recently.

Another form of connectionist model was the relational network framework developed by the
linguist Sydney Lamb in the 1960s. Relational networks have been only used by linguists,
and were never unified with the PDP approach. As a result, they are now used by very few
researchers.
There are also hybrid connectionist models, mostly mixing symbolic representations with
neural network models. The hybrid approach has been advocated by some researchers (such
as Ron Sun).

Connectionism vs. computationalism debate


As connectionism became increasingly popular in the late 1980s, there was a reaction to it by
some researchers, including Jerry Fodor, Steven Pinker and others. They argued that
connectionism, as it was being developed, was in danger of obliterating what they saw as the
progress being made in the fields of cognitive science and psychology by the classical
approach of computationalism. Computationalism is a specific form of cognitivism that
argues that mental activity is computational, that is, that the mind operates by performing
purely formal operations on symbols, like a Turing machine. Some researchers argued that
the trend in connectionism was a reversion toward associationism and the abandonment of
the idea of a language of thought, something they felt was mistaken. In contrast, it was those
very tendencies that made connectionism attractive for other researchers.

Connectionism and computationalism need not be at odds, but the debate in the late 1980s
and early 1990s led to opposition between the two approaches. Throughout the debate, some
researchers have argued that connectionism and computationalism are fully compatible,
though full consensus on this issue has not been reached. The differences between the two
approaches that are usually cited are the following:

 Computationalists posit symbolic models that are structurally similar to underlying


brain structure, whereas connectionists engage in "low-level" modeling, trying to
ensure that their models resemble neurological structures.
 Computationalists in general focus on the structure of explicit symbols (mental
models) and syntactical rules for their internal manipulation, whereas connectionists
focus on learning from environmental stimuli and storing this information in a form of
connections between neurons.
 Computationalists believe that internal mental activity consists of manipulation of
explicit symbols, whereas connectionists believe that the manipulation of explicit
symbols is a poor model of mental activity.
 Computationalists often posit domain specific symbolic sub-systems designed to
support learning in specific areas of cognition (e.g., language, intentionality, number),
whereas connectionists posit one or a small set of very general learning mechanisms.

But, despite these differences, some theorists have proposed that the connectionist
architecture is simply the manner in which the symbol manipulation system happens to be
implemented in the organic brain. This is logically possible, as it is well known that
connectionist models can implement symbol manipulation systems of the kind used in
computationalist models,[citation needed] as indeed they must be able if they are to explain the
human ability to perform symbol manipulation tasks. But the debate rests on whether this
symbol manipulation forms the foundation of cognition in general, so this is not a potential
vindication of computationalism. Nonetheless, computational descriptions may be helpful
high-level descriptions of cognition of logic, for example.

The debate largely centred on logical arguments about whether connectionist networks were
capable of producing the syntactic structure observed in this sort of reasoning. This was later
achieved,[citation needed] although using processes unlikely to be possible in the brain,[citation needed]
thus the debate persisted. Today, progress in neurophysiology, and general advances in the
understanding of neural networks, has led to the successful modelling of a great many of
these early problems, and the debate about fundamental cognition has, thus, largely been
decided among neuroscientists in favour of connectionism.[citation needed] However, these fairly
recent developments have yet to reach consensus acceptance among those working in other
fields, such as psychology or philosophy of mind.

Part of the appeal of computational descriptions is that they are relatively easy to interpret,
and thus may be seen as contributing to our understanding of particular mental processes,
whereas connectionist models are in general more opaque, to the extent that they may be
describable only in very general terms (such as specifying the learning algorithm, the number
of units, etc.), or in unhelpfully low-level terms. In this sense connectionist models may
instantiate, and thereby provide evidence for, a broad theory of cognition (i.e.,
connectionism), without representing a helpful theory of the particular process that is being
modelled. In this sense the debate might be considered as to some extent reflecting a mere
difference in the level of analysis in which particular theories are framed.

The recent popularity of dynamical systems in philosophy of mind have added a new
perspective on the debate; some authors now argue that any split between connectionism and
computationalism is more conclusively characterized as a split between computationalism
and dynamical systems.

Connectionism: An Introduction (page 1)


Author: Robert Stufflebeam
Additional Credits:
Funding
This module was supported by National Science Foundation Grants #9981217 and
#0127561.

Next
[Connectionism: An Introduction (page 2)]

What is connectionism?
Connectionism is the name for the computer modeling approach to information processing
based on the design or architecture of the brain. Not the architecture of the whole brain mind
you. Rather, because neurons are the basic information processing structures in the brain,
and every sort of information the brain processes occurs in networks of interconnected
neurons (neural networks), connectionist computer models are based on how computation
occurs in neural networks.

There are many kinds of connectionist computer models -- connectionist networks. Some
are designed for tasks that have nothing to do with modeling biological neurons. Other
models are offered as a way to understand how "real" neural networks work. These models
are called artificial neural networks. For now, we do not need to worry about whether a
particular connectionst model is merely a connectionst network or if it is an artificial neural
network. The reason for this is that all connectionst models consist of four parts -- units,
activations, connections, and connection weights. Each of these parts corresponds to a
particular structure or process in biological neural networks. To see this, let's first take a look
at the anatomy of a connectionst model. Then let's take a look at how such models work.

Anatomy of a connectionst model

Units are to a connectionist model what neurons are to a biological neural network -- the
basic information processing structures. While it is possible to build a connectionist model
with tangible units -- objects that can be touched as well as seen -- most connectionist models
are computer simulations run on digital computers. Units in such models are virtual objects,
as are the pieces in a computer chess game. And just as you need symbols for the pieces in
order to follow a virtual chess game, the "pieces" in a connectionist computer model need to
be represented in some fashion too. Units are usually represented by circles. Here is a unit.

Because no unit by itself constitutes a network, connectionist models typically are composed
of many units (or at least several of them). Here are 11 units:

But no mere cluster of units constitutes a network either. And you will never see a
connectionist model "organized" in this chaotic fashion. After all, not just any grouping of
units corresponds to the architecture of biological neural networks. "Real" neural networks
are organized in layers of neurons. For this reason, connectionist models are organized in
layers of units, not random clusters. In most connectionst models, units are organized in 3
layers. (Incidentally, the cerebral cortex, the convoluted outer part of the brain, is organized
into 6 layers.) So, reorganized in 3 layers of units, the following organization of units mirrors
the structural organization of many connectionist models.
But what you see here still isn't a network. Something is missing. Can you tell what that
"something" is? For a hint, take a look at the pair of images below. The one on the left does
not capture a computer network. The one on the right does. What makes the image on the left
an image of 6 computers, but the one on the right an image of a computer network?

The connections! The computers on the right are connected to one another. Because no group
of objects qualifies as a network unless each member is connected to other members, it is the
existence of connections between the 6 computers on the right that makes them a computer
network.

Of course, not just any physically connected group of computers qualifies as a computer
network. For example, the connections in the above computer network are represented with
lines. What kinds of "things" do the lines represent such that the combination of computers
plus the connections results in a computer network? Any of the following kinds of
connections would be acceptable: ethernet cables, telephone wires, or wireless transmissions.
But "connections" made from the following materials would not:pipes, ropes, . . ., or
spaghetti. Can we "connect" a group of computers together with such things? Sure. But a
network is NOT simply a interconnected group of objects. Rather, it's an interconnected
group of objects that exchange information with one another! Although it is true that a
physical connection in a computer network can be implemented in a variety of ways (e.g.,
through a cable, a wire, or wireless transmission), not just any physical connection will
permit information to flow from one computer to another. Thus, generally speaking, network
connections (or simply connections) are conduits through which information flows between
members of a network. In the absence of such connections, no group of objects qualifies as a
network.

There are two kinds of network connections. An input connection is a conduit through
which a member of a network receives information (INPUT). An output connection is a
conduit through which a member of a network sends information (OUTPUT). Although it is
possible for a network connection to be both an input connection and an output connection
(depending on the direction in which the information is flowing), no computer qualifies as a
member of a network if it can neither receive information (INPUT) from other computers nor
send information (OUTPUT) to other computers. For instance, consider the lesson
("information") you are now reading. You cannot access it from just any computer. Instead,
you can access this lesson only from a computer connected to the Internet -- the largest of all
computer networks. And just as your computer cannot receive information via the Internet
unless it is connected to the Internet, a computer not connected to the Internet cannot send
information via the Internet either. A computer that can neither receive information via the
Internet nor send information via the Internet is not a member of the Internet.

Is the function of connections in a neural network the same as the function of connections in
a computer network? You bet! In fact, the function of a network connection is the same
regardless of whether the network is composed of computers, neurons, people, units, or
anything else. Consequently, the function of connections in neural networks is to be conduits
through which neurons receive INPUT from other neurons and send OUTPUT to other
neurons. Neurons are to neural networks what computers are to computer networks. But what
functions as connections in a neural network? To answer this question, take a look at the
following picture. It consists of three neurons -- A, B, and C. As the picture depicts, A is
connected to B, which is connected to C. Information flows from left to right. Hence, the
OUTPUT of A is the INPUT to B, and the OUTPUT of B is the INPUT to C. Since the flow
of information in a network occurs through its connections, where are the connections in this
"mini" neural network?

The synapses! Synapses are to neural networks what an ethernet cable or telephone wire is to
a computer network -- conduits through which information flows from one member of the
network to the next. Without synapses (connections) from other neurons, it would be
impossible for a neuron to receive INPUT from other neurons. And without synapses
(connections) to other neurons, it would be impossible for a neuron to send OUTPUT to other
neurons. Given the crucial role connections play in a network of neurons, synapses
(connections) in a biological neural network matter as much as the neurons themselves. And
because connectionist models are based on how computation occurs in biological neural
networks, connections play an essential role in connectionist models -- hence the name
"connectionism."

As you already know that units in a connectionist model are analogous to neurons, you
should not be surprised to hear that connections are analogous synapses. And just as units
need to be represented in some fashion, so too do connections. Connections in a connectionist
model are represented with lines. As such, to avoid confusion, it is worth emphasizing that
connections within a biological neural network are synapses, not dendrites and axons.
Dendrites and axons are parts of neurons. Synapses are not. In fact, synapses are "gaps"
between neurons -- the fluid-filled space through which chemical messengers
(neurotransmitters) leave one neurons and enter another. Consequently, these "gaps" are
connections between neurons, not dendrites and axons. For instance, take another look at
neuron B above. B receives INPUT from A through a synapse at its dendrite. B's outgoing
information "flows" down its axon to an axon terminal, then through a synapse to a dendrite
of C. Although it is reasonable to think of dendrites and axons as conduits through which
information flows within a neuron, a neuron's dendrites and axon are part of its structure.
Synapses are not. Synapses are where information "flows" from one neuron to another.
Hence, connections within a neural network are synapses. (See Introduction to Neurons,
Action Potentials, Synapses, and Neurotransmission for a more detailed study of how
neurons work.)

Here is a useful computer analogy: The computer from which you are reading this lesson is a
member of a computer network. But the network connection through which your computer
receives information and sends information isn't the only INPUT and OUTPUT connections
your computer has. After all, your computer is itself a network consisting of INPUT devices
(e.g., keyboard, mouse, etc.), OUTPUT devices (monitor, printer, etc.), and connections from
these devices to your computer's CPU -- the place where information processing occurs.
Consequently, think of the cell body of a neuron as the CPU of your computer system. Think
of a neuron's dendrites and axon as the cables connecting your CPU to its INPUT and
OUTPUT devices. On this analogy, a synapse is the cable or wire through which you
exchange information with other computers on the Internet. Since a unit in a connectionist
model is analogous to a neuron, consider a unit to be your entire computer system minus the
network connection.

Because units in a connectionist model are represented with circles, each circle is analogous
to an entire neuron -- its dendrites, cell body, axon, and axon terminals. Connections in a
connectionist model are represented with lines. Notwithstanding how lines might resemble
dendrites or axons, each line is analogous to a synapse. Arrows in a connectionist model
indicate the flow of information from one unit to the next. And since any one neuron in the
brain can be connected to thousands of other neurons, a unit in a connectionist model
typically will be connected to several units. Some of those connections will be INPUT
connections from units at a lower level; others will be OUTPUT connections to units at a
higher level. To illustrate, take a look at the blue unit in layer 2 below. As is common in
connectionist models, the blue unit is connected to each of the units above it and below it.
From which units does the blue unit receive its INPUT? To which units does it send its
OUTPUT? Well, its INPUT is received via connections from each of the units in layer 1.
Given the flow of information from bottom to top, the OUTPUT of the units in layer 1
becomes the INPUT to the blue unit. The blue unit is connected to each of the units in layer
3. Hence, the OUTPUT of the blue unit becomes the INPUT to each of the units in layer 3.

When each unit in a connectionist model is connected to each of the units in the layer above
it, the result is a network of units with many connections between them. This is illustrated in
the following figure. It captures the architecture of a standard, 3-layered feedforward
network (a network of 3 layers of units where information flows "forward" from the
network's INPUT units, through its "hidden" units, to its OUTPUT units).

Just as it is important for you to understand the architecture of connectionist models, it is


important for you to understand how such models work. To to this, you must understand the
nature of unit activations and connection weights -- the other two "parts" of connectionist
models besides units and connections. Because unit activations and connection weights are
essential "parts" of how information processing occurs within a unit, let us turn out attention
to how units receive INPUT and produce OUTPUT.

This article is reproduced with the permission of New Scientist for exclusive use by Nova
users.
Is this a unified theory of the brain?
28 May 2008
From New Scientist Print Edition.
Gregory T. Huang

The quest to understand the most complex object


in the known universe has been a long and
fruitful one. These days we know a good deal
about how the human brain works - how our
senses translate into electrical signals, how
different parts of the brain process these signals,
how memories form and how muscles are
controlled. We know which brain regions are
active when we listen to speech, look at paintings
or barter over money. We are even starting to
understand the deeper neural processes behind
learning and decision-making.

What we still don't have, though, is a way to bring all these pieces together to create an
overarching theory of how the brain works. Despite decades of research, neuroscientists have
never been able to produce their own equivalent of Schrödinger's equation in quantum
mechanics or Einstein's E=mc2 - a powerful, concise, mathematical law that encapsulates
how the brain works. Nor do they have a plausible road map towards a "theory of
everything", like string theory in physics. Surely if we can get so close to explaining the
universe, the human brain can't be that hard to crack?

Perhaps it is. The brain is much messier than a physical system. It is the product of half a
billion years of evolution. It performs myriad functions - reasoning, memory, perception,
learning, attention and emotion to name just a few - and uses a staggering number of
different types of cells, connections and receptors. So it does not lend itself to being easily
described by simple mathematical laws.

That hasn't stopped researchers in the growing field of computational neuroscience from
trying. In recent years, they have sought to develop unifying ideas about how the brain
processes information so that they can apply them to the design of intelligent machines.

Until now none of their ideas has been general or testable enough to arouse much excitement
in straight neuroscience. But a group from University College London (UCL) may have
broken the deadlock. Neuroscientist Karl Friston and his colleagues have proposed a
mathematical law that some are claiming is the nearest thing yet to a grand unified theory of
the brain. From this single law, Friston's group claims to be able to explain almost everything
about our grey matter.

It's a controversial claim, but one that's starting to make people sit up and take notice.
Friston's work has made Stanislas Dehaene, a noted neuroscientist and psychologist at the
College of France in Paris, change his mind about whether a Schrödinger equation for the
brain might exist. Like most neuroscientists, Dehaene had been pessimistic - but not any
more. "It is the first time that we have had a theory of this strength, breadth and depth in
cognitive neuroscience," he says.

Friston's ideas build on an existing theory known as the "Bayesian brain", which
conceptualises the brain as a probability machine that constantly makes predictions about the
world and then updates them based on what it senses.

The idea was born in 1983, when Geoffrey Hinton of the University of Toronto in Canada
and Terry Sejnowski, then at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, suggested
that the brain could be seen as a machine that makes decisions based on the uncertainties of
the outside world. In the 1990s, other researchers proposed that the brain represents
knowledge of the world in terms of probabilities. Instead of estimating the distance to an
object as a number, for instance, the brain would treat it as a range of possible values, some
more likely than others.

A crucial element of the approach is that the probabilities are based on experience, but they
change when relevant new information, such as visual information about the object's
location, becomes available. "The brain is an inferential agent, optimising its models of
what's going on at this moment and in the future," says Friston. In other words, the brain runs
on Bayesian probability. Named after the 18th-century mathematician Thomas Bayes, this is
a systematic way of calculating how the likelihood of an event changes as new information
comes to light (see New Scientist, 10 May, p 44, for more on Bayesian theory).

Over the past decade, neuroscientists have found that real brains seem to work in this way. In
perception and learning experiments, for example, people tend to make estimates - of the
location or speed of a moving object, say - in a way that fits with Bayesian probability
theory. There's also evidence that the brain makes internal predictions and updates them in a
Bayesian manner. When you listen to someone talking, for example, your brain isn't simply
receiving information, it also predicts what it expects to hear and constantly revises its
predictions based on what information comes next. These predictions strongly influence what
you actually hear, allowing you, for instance, to make sense of distorted or partially obscured
speech.

In fact, making predictions and re-evaluating them seems to be a universal feature of the
brain. At all times your brain is weighing its inputs and comparing them with internal
predictions in order to make sense of the world. "It's a general computational principle that
can explain how the brain handles problems ranging from low-level perception to high-level
cognition," says Alex Pouget, a computational neuroscientist at the University of Rochester
in New York (Trends in Neurosciences, vol 27, p 712).

However, the Bayesian brain is not quite a general law. It is a collection of related
approaches that each use Bayesian probability theory to understand one aspect of brain
function, such as parsing speech, recognising objects or learning words. No one has been
able to pull all these disparate approaches together, nor explain why the brain works like this
in the first place. An overarching law, if one exists, should attempt to do this.

This is where Friston's work comes in. In the 1990s he was working next door to Hinton at
UCL. At that time Hinton was beginning to explore the concept of "free energy" as it applies
to artificial neural networks. Free energy originates from thermodynamics and statistical
mechanics, where it is defined as the amount of useful work that can be extracted from a
system, such as a steam engine. It is roughly equivalent to the difference between the total
energy in the system and its "useless energy", or entropy.

Hinton realised that free energy was mathematically equivalent to a problem he was familiar
with: the difference between the predictions made by an artificial neural network and what it
actually senses. He showed that you could solve some tough problems in machine learning
by treating this "prediction error" as free energy, and then minimising it.

Friston spent the next few years working out whether the same concept could underlie the
workings of real brains. His insight was that the constant updating of the brain's probabilities
could also be expressed in terms of minimising free energy. Around 2005 he proposed that a
"free energy principle" explains at least one aspect of brain function - sensory perception.

As a simple example, take what happens when you glimpse an object in your peripheral
vision. At first it is not clear what it is - or, as Friston would put it, there's a big error between
your brain's prediction and what it senses. To reduce this prediction error, Friston reasoned
that one of two things can happen: the brain can either change its prediction or change the
way it gathers data from the environment (Journal of Physiology - Paris, vol 100, p 70). If
your brain takes the second option you will instinctively turn your head and centre the object
in your field of view. "It's about minimising surprise," he explains. "Mathematically, free
energy is always bigger than surprise, therefore if you can minimise free energy you can
avoid surprising encounters with the world."

Friston developed the free-energy principle to explain perception, but he now thinks it can be
generalised to other kinds of brain processes as well. He claims that everything the brain does
is designed to minimise free energy or prediction error (Synthese, vol 159, p 417). "In short,
everything that can change in the brain will change to suppress prediction errors, from the
firing of neurons to the wiring between them, and from the movements of our eyes to the
choices we make in daily life," he says.

Take neural plasticity, the well-established idea that the brain alters its internal pathways and
connections with experience. First proposed by Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb in the
1940s, it is thought to be the basic mechanism behind learning and memory.

Friston's principle accounts for the process by describing how individual neurons interact
after encountering a novel stimulus. Neuron A "predicts" that neuron B will respond to the
stimulus in a certain way. If the prediction is wrong, neuron A changes the strength of its
connection to neuron B to decrease the prediction error. In this case the brain changes its
internal predictions until it minimises its error, and learning or memory forming is the result.

All well and good in theory, but how can we know whether real brains actually work this
way? To answer this question, Friston and others have focused on the cortex, the 3-
millimetre-thick mass of convoluted folds that forms the brain's outer surface. This is the seat
of "higher" functions such as cognition, learning, perception and language. It has a distinctive
anatomy: a hierarchy of neuronal layers, each of which has connections to neurons in the
other levels.
Friston created a computer simulation of the cortex with layers of "neurons" passing signals
back and forth. Signals going from higher to lower levels represent the brain's internal
predictions, while signals going the other way represent sensory input. As new information
comes in, the higher neurons adjust their predictions according to Bayesian theory. This may
seem awfully abstract, but there's a concrete reason for doing it: it tells Friston what patterns
of activity to look for in real brains.

Last year Friston's group used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine what is
going on in the cortex during a visual task (NeuroImage, vol 34, p 1199). Volunteers watched
two sets of moving dots, which sometimes moved in synchrony and at others more randomly,
to change the predictability of the stimulus. The patterns of brain activity matched Friston's
model of the visual cortex reasonably well. He argues that this supports the idea that top-
down signals are indeed sent downstream to reduce prediction errors.

More recently, Friston's team has shown that signals from higher levels of the auditory cortex
are responsible for modifying brain activity in lower levels as people listen to repeated and
predictable sounds (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 104, p 20961).
This, too, fits with Friston's model of top-down minimisation of prediction error.

Despite these successes, some in the Bayesian brain camp aren't buying the grand theory just
yet. They say it is hard to know whether Friston's results are ground-breaking or just
repackaged old concepts - but they don't say he's wrong. Others say the free-energy principle
is not falsifiable. "I do not think it is testable, and I am pretty sure it does not tell you how to
build a machine which emulates some aspect of intelligence," says theoretical neuroscientist
Tomaso Poggio of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Friston disagrees, pointing out that there are experiments that would definitively test whether
or not a given population of neurons is minimising prediction error. He proposes knocking
out a higher region of the cortex - using transcranial magnetic stimulation, say - and seeing
whether free-energy models can predict how the activity of a lower region of neurons would
change in response.

Several groups are planning experiments along these lines, but they need to work out exactly
which neurons to target. "This would, I think, be an aspect of the theory that could be proved
or falsified," says Thomas Wennekers, a computational neuroscientist at the University of
Plymouth in the UK.

Meanwhile, Friston claims that the free-energy principle also gives plausible explanations for
other important features of the cortex. These include "adaptation" effects, in which neurons
stop firing after prolonged exposure to a stimulus like a rattling fan, so after a while you don't
hear it. It also explains other phenomena: patterns of mirror-neuron activation that reflect the
brain's responses to watching someone else make a movement; basic communication patterns
between neurons that might underlie how we think; and even the hierarchical anatomy of the
cortex itself.

Friston's results have earned praise for bringing together so many disparate strands of
neuroscience. "It is quite certainly the most advanced conceptual framework regarding an
application of these ideas to brain function in general," says Wennekers. Marsel Mesulam, a
cognitive neurologist from Northwestern University in Chicago, adds: "Friston's work is
pivotal. It resonates entirely with the sort of model that I would like to see emerge."
So where will the search for a unified theory of the brain go from here? Friston's free-energy
principle clearly isn't the ultimate theory yet it remains to be tested fully and needs to
produce more predictions of how real brains behave. If all goes well, though, the outcome
will be a concise mathematical law of brain function, perhaps something as brief and iconic
as E=mc2. "The final equation you write on a T-shirt will be quite simple," Friston predicts.

On a more practical level, he says the approach will change our concepts of how the brain
works and could help us understand the deeper mechanisms of psychological disorders,
especially those thought to be caused by faulty connections in the cortex, such as
schizophrenia. It could also shine a light on bigger questions such as the nature of human
consciousness.

There's work still to be done, but for now Friston's is the most promising approach we've got.
"It will take time to spin off all of the consequences of the theory - but I take that property as
a sure sign that this is a very important theory," says Dehaene. "Most other models, including
mine, are just models of one small aspect of the brain, very limited in their scope. This one
falls much closer to a grand theory."

Gregory T. Huang is a journalist based in Seattle

From issue 2658 of New Scientist magazine, 28 May 2008, page 30-33

For the latest from New Scientiist visit www.newscientist.com

2008 : WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED


YOUR MIND ABOUT? WHY?
In the News [ 26 ]
|
Contributors [ 165 ] | View All Responses [ 165 ]

Stanislas Dehaene
Neuroscientist; Collège de France, Paris; Author, The Number Sense; Reading In the Brain
The Brain's Schrödinger Equation

What made me change my mind isn't a new fact, but a new theory.

Although a large extent of my work is dedicated to modelling the brain, I always thought that
this enterprise would remain rather limited in scope. Unlike physics, neuroscience would
never create a single, major, simple yet encompassing theory of how the brain works. There
would be never be a single "Schrödinger's equation for the brain".

The vast majority of neuroscientists, I believe, share this pessimistic view. The reason is
simple: the brain is the outcome of five hundred million years of tinkering. It consists in
millions of distinct pieces, each evolved to solve a distinct yet important problem for our
survival. Its overall properties result from an unlikely combination of thousands of receptor
types, ad-hoc molecular mechanisms, a great variety of categories of neurons and, above all,
a million billion connections criss-crossing the white matter in all directions. How could such
a jumble be captured by a single mathematical law?

Well, I wouldn't claim that anyone has achieved that yet… but I have changed my mind about
the very possibility that such a law might exist.

For many theoretical neuroscientists, it all started twenty five years ago, when John Hopfield
made us realize that a network of neurons could operate as an attractor network, driven to
optimize an overall energy function which could be designed to accomplish object
recognition or memory completion. Then came Geoff Hinton's Boltzmann machine — again,
the brain was seen as an optimizing machine that could solve complex probabilistic
inferences. Yet both proposals were frameworks rather than laws. Each individual network
realization still required the set-up of thousands of ad-hoc connection weights.

Very recently, however, Karl Friston, from UCL in London, has presented two
extraordinarily ambitious and demanding papers in which he presents "a theory of cortical
responses". Friston's theory rests on a single, amazingly compact premise: the brain
optimizes a free energy function. This function measures how closely the brain's internal
representation of the world approximates the true state of the real world. From this simple
postulate, Friston spins off an enormous variety of predictions: the multiple layers of cortex,
the hierarchical organization of cortical areas, their reciprocal connection with distinct
feedforward and feedback properties, the existence of adaptation and repetition
suppression… even the type of learning rule — Hebb's rule, or the more sophisticated spike-
timing dependent plasticity — can bededuced, no longer postulated, from this single
overarching law.

The theory fits easily within what has become a major area of research — the Bayesian
Brain, or the extent to which brains perform optimal inferences and take optimal decisions
based on the rules of probabilistic logic. Alex Pouget, for instance, recently showed how
neurons might encode probability distributions of parameters of the outside world, a
mechanism that could be usefully harnessed by Fristonian optimization. And the physiologist
Mike Shadlen has discovered that some neurons closely approximate the log-likelihood ratio
in favor of a motor decision, a key element of Bayesian decision making. My colleagues and
I have shown that the resulting random-walk decision process nicely accounts for the
duration of a central decision stage, present in all human cognitive tasks, which might
correspond to the slow, serial phase in which we consciously commit to a single decision.
During non-conscious processing, my proposal is that we also perform Bayesian
accumulation of evidence, but without attaining the final commitment stage. Thus, Bayesian
theory is bringing us increasingly closer to the holy grail of neuroscience — a theory of
consciousness.

Another reason why I am excited about Friston's law is, paradoxically, that it isn't simple. It
seems to have just the right level of distance from the raw facts. Much like Schrödinger's
equation cannot easily be turned into specific predictions, even for an object as simple as a
single hydrogen atom, Friston's theory require heavy mathematical derivations before it
ultimately provides useful outcomes. Not that it is inapplicable. On the contrary, it readily
applies to motion perception, audio-visual integration, mirror neurons, and thousands of other
domains — but in each case, a rather involved calculation is needed.
It will take us years to decide whether Friston's theory is the true inheritor of Helmholtz's
view of "perception as inference". What is certain, however, is that neuroscience now has a
wealth of beautiful theories that should attract the attention of top-notch mathematicians —
we will need them!

The Analogical Animal


The key to human cognition may well be the ability to
compare one thing to another
By
Douglas Hofstadter And
Emmanuel Sander
May 3, 2013 7:42 p.m. ET

At the White House Correspondents Dinner last week, President Barack Obama got some
laughs when he said that his advisers had suggested he start his speech "with some jokes at
my own expense, just take myself down a peg. I was like, 'Guys, after 4½ years, how many
pegs are there left?' "

In this remark, few of us would immediately think of "take myself down a peg" as an
analogy, but that's what it is: a comparison between two things, in this case, between the
president's standing and pegs on a board. Mr. Obama did it again later in his speech,
complimenting journalists "who took the time to wade upstream through the torrent of digital
rumors to chase down leads and verify facts." "Wade upstream" and "torrent" qualify as
analogies, too.
ENLARGE
Alex Nabaum

In fact, once you start to look for analogies, you find them everywhere, not just in the
metaphors and other figures of speech used by politicians. It is by way of analogy that human
beings negotiate and manage the world's endless variety. We would make an even grander
claim: that analogies lie at the very center of human cognition, from the humblest of everyday
activities to the most exalted discoveries of science.

When you use the elevator in an unfamiliar hotel, for instance, you tacitly depend on the
analogy with countless elevators you have used before. You know that you are most likely to
find the elevator by looking for a recessed area in the wall of a corridor, and when you reach
that area you expect (and find) a button at a standard height. You expect doors that slide open
sideways.

Once inside the elevator, you have to choose a small button you

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have never seen before, and you must press it with a certain force. You do all of this without
thinking about it. You unconsciously depend on prior experiences with thousands of buttons
in hundreds of elevators, and you seek the best way to deal with this new button by relying on
an analogy between it and your personal category button.

Much the same could be said for when you wash your hands in a sink you've never seen
before with a piece of soap you've never touched before, and of course it's also thanks to
analogy that you deal successfully with the never-before-seen bathroom door, doorknob,
electric switch, faucet and towel.

Consider the 2-year-old child who delightedly states, "I undressed the banana!"; or the 8-
year-old who asks his mother, "How do you cook water?"; or the adult who inadvertently
blurts out, "My house was born in the 1930s." Each of these spontaneous utterances reveals
an unconsciously-made analogy that contains a deep rightness despite a surface wrongness.

In short, we all depend on a never-ending stream of very simple analogies between everyday
things, and these mini-analogies follow on the heels of one another all day long, day in, day
out. A common piece of folk wisdom says that analogies, by their very nature, cannot be
relied on—yet in order to survive, we all depend on this incessant stream of mundane
analogies. If the myriad analogies pervading and defining our daily life were intrinsically
unreliable, no one would be here to tell the tale or to hear it.

What is true at the prosaic level is just as true at the level of profound scientific insight. In
physics, for instance, the greatest breakthroughs by the most creative minds—Newton,
Maxwell, Heisenberg, Einstein—were all the fruit of analogies. An excellent example is
Einstein's 1905 hypothesis of a deep parallel between an ideal gas (a container filled with
molecules) and a black body (a container filled with electromagnetic radiation but nothing
material). He was led to this guess because he had noticed a curious mathematical similarity
linking the formulas giving the energy spectra of these systems.

This initially spotted similarity suggested to him that the connection between the two systems
might well extend far below the surface. Following this intuition, Einstein carefully
calculated each system's entropy (the disorder present in it), manipulating the two formulas
until they looked almost identical. In the formula for the ideal gas's entropy, the letter N
appeared, standing for the number of molecules in the gas; in "the same spot" in the formula
for the black body's entropy, there was an expression that could be interpreted as counting the
number of times a certain very small energy would "fit" into the total energy in the black
body.

Einstein had compressed the distinction between these two physical systems down into a tiny
but telling contrast. He took this hint seriously, interpreting it as telling him that a black body
itself contains a vast number of immaterial "molecules of radiation"—particles analogous to
the N material molecules in the ideal gas. Even for its finder, this was a profoundly radical
idea, because electromagnetic radiation included light.

Einstein's analogy had suggested to him that light might well consist of small packets of
energy analogous to molecules, but this idea flew in the face of the most solidly established
facts about light. Looking back, Einstein declared his "light-quantum" hypothesis, based on
but one intuitively felt analogy, to be the most daring idea of his life. Indeed, it unleashed
among his colleagues an incredibly intense barrage of hostility that lasted many years.
And yet in 1923, Arthur Holley Compton discovered that when an electromagnetic wave
"collides" with an electrically charged particle, what ensues doesn't obey Maxwell's equations
for light waves but the rules of collisions between particles. To the astonishment of
physicists, the behavior Compton reported agreed exactly with Einstein's 1905 predictions.
Thus light, at long last, became particulate! Einstein's little-known analogy constitutes an
example of human intelligence at its very finest.

The making of analogies allows us to act reasonably in situations never before encountered,
furnishes us with new categories, enriches those categories while ceaselessly extending them
over the course of our lives, guides our understanding of future situations by recording what
happened to us just now, and enables us to make unpredictable, powerful mental leaps. The
attempt to put our finger on what counts in any given situation leads us at times to seeing
hidden links between situations despite enormous differences on their surface, and at other
times to drawing crucial distinctions between situations that on first glance seem nearly
identical.

Analogy, one can say without exaggeration, is the very fabric of our mental life.

—Messrs. Hofstadter and Sander are the co-authors of "Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as
the Fuel and Fire of Thinking," which has just been published by Basic Books.

Introduction to Symbolic Models


Author: Peter Bradley

Next
[Introduction to Machine Tables]

Symbolic models have the following features:

Features of a Symbolic Model

 It contains a set of representations (or symbols) of something.


 It processes and manipulates those representations based on a set of rules programmed
into the model.
 The rules operate on the representations according to their 'shape' or syntax, not
according to what they represent (their semantics).

Let us take an example. The symbol '1' is character. In normal text, it represents the number
one. When you read this text, you probably read it as a one. But this is a matter of
interpretation, not a property of the symbol itself. For example, we could use the same
symbol to represent the state of being 'on'. In fact, we do use it in this way on certain
appliances — switches often have '0' and '1' marked on them to represent that the appliance is
'off' and 'on' respectively. The interpretation of the symbol (its semantics) is independent of
the shape of the symbol (its syntax).

Here's another example: the string '11' represents, in normal English, the number eleven. But
in binary, it represents the number three. In hexidecimal (a base 16 number system often used
in different Internet protocols), it represents the number seventeen. None of these differences
in interpretation affect the fact that it looks like two vertical strokes placed side by side. The
rules that govern the processes of a symbolic model operate on how the symbol 'looks', not
what it is interpreted to mean.

Symbolic models are extremely complicated, so it will serve us well to start from the very
beginning: a Turing Machine. In the next few modules, we will explore symbolic models in
their most primitive form. The simple machines we will consider model the processes of
basic logic and arithmetic. The gap from modeling the process of arithmetic and grammar to
the processes of thought is a large one, but it is one that many have thought bridgeable. In this
module, we consider some of these thinkers, and how, if at all, we could test their bold
hypothesis.

Portions of these modules are adapted from "Cognitive Modeling, Symbolic", by Whit
Schonbein and William Bechtel; and "Symbolic vs Connectionist" by Chris Eliasmith and
William Bechtel, both entries in the Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (2000), Macmillan
Reference Ltd.

ACT-R
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ACT-R
Original author(s) John Robert Anderson
6.0-1.5 [r1577] / June 13, 2014;
Stable release
7 months ago
Development status Active
Written in Common Lisp
Type Cognitive architecture
License GNU LGPL v2.1
Website act-r.psy.cmu.edu

ACT-R (pronounced act-ARE; short for "Adaptive Control of Thought—Rational") is a


cognitive architecture mainly developed by John Robert Anderson at Carnegie Mellon
University. Like any cognitive architecture, ACT-R aims to define the basic and irreducible
cognitive and perceptual operations that enable the human mind. In theory, each task that
humans can perform should consist of a series of these discrete operations.

Most of the ACT-R basic assumptions are also inspired by the progress of cognitive
neuroscience, and ACT-R can be seen and described as a way of specifying how the brain
itself is organized in a way that enables individual processing modules to produce cognition.

Contents
 1 Inspiration
 2 What ACT-R looks like
o 2.1 Brief outline
o 2.2 The symbolic vs. connectionist debate
o 2.3 Theory vs. implementation, and Vanilla ACT-R
 3 Applications
o 3.1 Memory, attention, and executive control
o 3.2 Natural language
o 3.3 Complex tasks
o 3.4 Cognitive neuroscience
o 3.5 Education
 4 Brief history
o 4.1 Early years: 1973–1990
o 4.2 Integration with rational analysis: 1990–1998
o 4.3 Current developments: 1998–present
o 4.4 Spin-offs
 5 Notes
 6 References
 7 External links

Inspiration
ACT-R has been inspired by the work of Allen Newell, and especially by his lifelong
championing the idea of unified theories as the only way to truly uncover the underpinnings
of cognition.[1] In fact, John Anderson usually credits Allen Newell as the major source of
influence over his own theory.

What ACT-R looks like


Like other influential cognitive architectures (including Soar, CLARION, and EPIC), the
ACT-R theory has a computational implementation as an interpreter of a special coding
language. The interpreter itself is written in Common Lisp, and might be loaded into any of
the Common Lisp language distributions.

This means that any researcher may download the ACT-R code from the ACT-R website,
load it into a Common Lisp distribution, and gain full access to the theory in the form of the
ACT-R interpreter.

Also, this enables researchers to specify models of human cognition in the form of a script in
the ACT-R language. The language primitives and data-types are designed to reflect the
theoretical assumptions about human cognition. These assumptions are based on numerous
facts derived from experiments in cognitive psychology and brain imaging.

Like a programming language, ACT-R is a framework: for different tasks (e.g., Tower of
Hanoi, memory for text or for list of words, language comprehension, communication,
aircraft controlling), researchers create "models" (i.e., programs) in ACT-R. These models
reflect the modelers' assumptions about the task within the ACT-R view of cognition. The
model might then be run.

Running a model automatically produces a step-by-step simulation of human behavior which


specifies each individual cognitive operation (i.e., memory encoding and retrieval, visual and
auditory encoding, motor programming and execution, mental imagery manipulation). Each
step is associated with quantitative predictions of latencies and accuracies. The model can be
tested by comparing its results with the data collected in behavioral experiments.

In recent years, ACT-R has also been extended to make quantitative predictions of patterns of
activation in the brain, as detected in experiments with fMRI. In particular, ACT-R has been
augmented to predict the shape and time-course of the BOLD response of several brain areas,
including the hand and mouth areas in the motor cortex, the left prefrontal cortex, the anterior
cingulate cortex, and the basal ganglia.

Brief outline

ACT-R's most important assumption is that human knowledge can be divided into two
irreducible kinds of representations: declarative and procedural.

Within the ACT-R code, declarative knowledge is represented in the form of chunks, i.e.
vector representations of individual properties, each of them accessible from a labelled slot.

Chunks are held and made accessible through buffers, which are the front-end of what are
modules, i.e. specialized and largely independent brain structures.

There are two types of modules:

 Perceptual-motor modules, which take care of the interface with the real world (i.e.,
with a simulation of the real world). The most well-developed perceptual-motor
modules in ACT-R are the visual and the manual modules.
 Memory modules. There are two kinds of memory modules in ACT-R:
o Declarative memory, consisting of facts such as Washington, D.C. is the
capital of United States, France is a country in Europe, or 2+3=5
o Procedural memory, made of productions. Productions represent knowledge
about how we do things: for instance, knowledge about how to type the letter
"Q" on a keyboard, about how to drive, or about how to perform addition.

All the modules can only be accessed through their buffers. The contents of the buffers at a
given moment in time represents the state of ACT-R at that moment. The only exception to
this rule is the procedural module, which stores and applies procedural knowledge. It does not
have an accessible buffer and is actually used to access other module's contents.

Procedural knowledge is represented in form of productions. The term "production" reflects


the actual implementation of ACT-R as a production system, but, in fact, a production is
mainly a formal notation to specify the information flow from cortical areas (i.e. the buffers)
to the basal ganglia, and back to the cortex.

At each moment, an internal pattern matcher searches for a production that matches the
current state of the buffers. Only one such production can be executed at a given moment.
That production, when executed, can modify the buffers and thus change the state of the
system. Thus, in ACT-R, cognition unfolds as a succession of production firings.

The symbolic vs. connectionist debate


In the cognitive sciences, different theories are usually ascribed to either the "symbolic" or
the "connectionist" approach to cognition. ACT-R clearly belongs to the "symbolic" field and
is classified as such in standard textbooks and collections.[2] Its entities (chunks and
productions) are discrete and its operations are syntactical, that is, not referring to the
semantic content of the representations but only to their properties that deem them
appropriate to participate in the computation(s). This is seen clearly in the chunk slots and in
the properties of buffer matching in productions, both of which function as standard symbolic
variables.

Members of the ACT-R community, including its developers, prefer to think of ACT-R as a
general framework that specifies how the brain is organized, and how its organization gives
birth to what is perceived (and, in cognitive psychology, investigated) as mind, going beyond
the traditional symbolic/connectionist debate. None of this, naturally, argues against the
classification of ACT-R as symbolic system, because all symbolic approaches to cognition
aim to describe the mind, as a product of brain function, using a certain class of entities and
systems to achieve that goal.

A common misunderstanding suggests that ACT-R may not be a symbolic system because it
attempts to characterize brain function. This is incorrect on two counts: First, because all
approaches to computational modeling of cognition, symbolic or otherwise, must in some
respect characterize brain function, because the mind is brain function. And second, because
all such approaches, including connectionist approaches, attempt to characterize the mind at a
cognitive level of description and not at the neural level, because it is only at the cognitive
level that important generalizations can be retained.[3]

Further misunderstandings arise because of the associative character of certain ACT-R


properties, such as chunks spreading activation to each other, or chunks and productions
carrying quantitative properties relevant to their selection. None of these properties counter
the fundamental nature of these entities as symbolic, regardless of their role in unit selection
and, ultimately, in computation.

Theory vs. implementation, and Vanilla ACT-R

The importance of distinguishing between the theory itself and its implementation is usually
highlighted by ACT-R developers.

In fact, much of the implementation does not reflect the theory. For instance, the actual
implementation makes use of additional 'modules' that exist only for purely computational
reasons, and are not supposed to reflect anything in the brain (e.g., one computational module
contains the pseudo-random number generator used to produce noisy parameters, while
another holds naming routines for generating data structures accessible through variable
names).

Also, the actual implementation is designed to enable researchers to modify the theory, e.g.
by altering the standard parameters, or creating new modules, or partially modifying the
behavior of the existing ones.

Finally, while Anderson's laboratory at CMU maintains and releases the official ACT-R
code, other alternative implementations of the theory have been made available. These
alternative implementations include jACT-R [4] (written in Java by Anthony M. Harrison at
the Naval Research Laboratory) and Python ACT-R (written in Python by Terrence C.
Stewart and Robert L. West at Carleton University, Canada).[5]

Similarly, ACT-RN (now discontinued) was a full-fledged neural implementation of the 1993
version of the theory.[6] All of these versions were fully functional, and models have been
written and run with all of them.

Because of these implementational degrees of freedom, the ACT-R community usually refers
to the "official", lisp-based, version of the theory, when adopted in its original form and left
unmodified, as "Vanilla ACT-R".

Applications
Over the years, ACT-R models have been used in more than 700 different scientific
publications, and have been cited in many more.

Memory, attention, and executive control

The ACT-R declarative memory system has been used to model human memory since its
inception. In the course of years, it has been adopted to successfully model a large number of
known effects. They include the fan effect of interference for associated information,[7]
primacy and recency effects for list memory,[8] and serial recall.[9]

ACT-R has been used to model attentive and control processes in a number of cognitive
paradigms. These include the Stroop task,[10][11] task switching,[12][13] the psychological
refractory period,[14] and multi-tasking.[15]

Natural language

A number of researchers have been using ACT-R to model several aspects of natural
language understanding and production. They include models of syntactic parsing,[16]
language understanding,[17] language acquisition [18] and metaphor comprehension.[19]

Complex tasks

ACT-R has been used to capture how humans solve complex problems like the Tower of
Hanoi,[20] or how people solve algebraic equations.[21] It has also been used to model human
behavior in driving and flying.[22]

With the integration of perceptual-motor capabilities, ACT-R has become increasingly


popular as a modeling tool in human factors and human-computer interaction. In this domain,
it has been adopted to model driving behavior under different conditions,[23][24] menu
selection and visual search on computer application,[25][26] and web navigation.[27]

Cognitive neuroscience

More recently, ACT-R has been used to predict patterns of brain activation during imaging
experiments.[28] In this field, ACT-R models have been successfully used to predict prefrontal
and parietal activity in memory retrieval,[29] anterior cingulate activity for control
operations,[30] and practice-related changes in brain activity.[31]

Education

ACT-R has been often adopted as the foundation for cognitive tutors.[32][33] These systems use
an internal ACT-R model to mimic the behavior of a student and personalize his/her
instructions and curriculum, trying to "guess" the difficulties that students may have and
provide focused help.

Such "Cognitive Tutors" are being used as a platform for research on learning and cognitive
modeling as part of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center. Some of the most successful
applications, like the Cognitive Tutor for Mathematics, are used in thousands of schools
across the United States.

Brief history
Early years: 1973–1990

ACT-R is the ultimate successor of a series of increasingly precise models of human


cognition developed by John R. Anderson.

Its roots can be backtraced to the original HAM (Human Associative Memory) model of
memory, described by John R. Anderson and Gordon Bower in 1973.[34] The HAM model
was later expanded into the first version of the ACT theory.[35] This was the first time the
procedural memory was added to the original declarative memory system, introducing a
computational dichotomy that was later proved to hold in human brain.[36] The theory was
then further extended into the ACT* model of human cognition.[37]

Integration with rational analysis: 1990–1998

In the late eighties, Anderson devoted himself to exploring and outlining a mathematical
approach to cognition that he named Rational Analysis.[38] The basic assumption of Rational
Analysis is that cognition is optimally adaptive, and precise estimates of cognitive functions
mirror statistical properties of the environment.[39] Later on, he came back to the development
of the ACT theory, using the Rational Analysis as a unifying framework for the underlying
calculations. To highlight the importance of the new approach in the shaping of the
architecture, its name was modified to ACT-R, with the "R" standing for "Rational" [40]

In 1993, Anderson met with Christian Lebiere, a researcher in connectionist models mostly
famous for developing with Scott Fahlman the Cascade Correlation learning algorithm. Their
joint work culminated in the release of ACT-R 4.0.[41] Thanks to Mike Byrne (now at Rice
University), version 4.0 also included optional perceptual and motor capabilities, mostly
inspired from the EPIC architecture, which greatly expanded the possible applications of the
theory.

Current developments: 1998–present


After the release of ACT-R 4.0, John Anderson became more and more interested in the
underlying neural plausibility of his life-time theory, and began to use brain imaging
techniques pursuing his own goal of understanding the computational underpinnings of
human mind.

The necessity of accounting for brain localization pushed for a major revision of the theory.
ACT-R 5.0 introduced the concept of modules, specialized sets of procedural and declarative
representations that could be mapped to known brain systems.[42] In addition, the interaction
between procedural and declarative knowledge was mediated by newly introduced buffers,
specialized structures for holding temporarily active information (see the section above).
Buffers were thought to reflect cortical activity, and a subsequent series of studies later
confirmed that activations in cortical regions could be successfully related to computational
operations over buffers.

A new version of the code, completely rewritten, was presented in 2005 as ACT-R 6.0. It also
included significant improvements in the ACT-R coding language.

Spin-offs

The long development of the ACT-R theory gave birth to a certain number of parallel and
related projects.

The most important ones are the PUPS production system, an initial implementation of
Anderson's theory, later abandoned; and ACT-RN,[6] a neural network implementation of the
theory developed by Christian Lebiere.

Lynne M. Reder, also at Carnegie Mellon University, developed in the early nineties SAC, a
model of conceptual and perceptual aspects of memory that shares many features with the
ACT-R core declarative system, although differing in some assumptions.

Notes
1.

 Newell, Allen (1994). Unified Theories of Cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press. ISBN 0-674-92101-1.
  Polk, T. A.; C. M. Seifert (2002). Cognitive Modeling. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
ISBN 0-262-66116-0.
  Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1984). Computation and Cognition: Toward a Foundation for
Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-66058-X
  Harrison, A. (2002). jACT-R: Java ACT-R. Proceedings of the 8th Annual ACT-R
Workshop Pdf
  Stewart, T. C. and West, R. L. (2005) Python ACT-R: A New implementation and a new
syntax. Proceedings of 12th Annual ACT-R Workshop Pdf
  Lebiere, C., & Anderson, J. R. (1993). A connectionist Implementation of the ACT-R
production system. In Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive
Science Society (pp. 635-640). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
  Anderson, J. R. & Reder, L. M. (1999). The fan effect: New results and new theories.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 186-197.
  Anderson, J. R., Bothell, D., Lebiere, C. & Matessa, M. (1998). An integrated theory of
list memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 38, 341-380.
  Anderson, J. R. & Matessa, M. P. (1997). A production system theory of serial memory.
Psychological Review, 104, 728-748.
  Lovett, M. C. (2005) A strategy-based interpretation of Stroop. Cognitive Science, 29,
493-524.
  Juvina, I., & Taatgen, N. A. (2009). A repetition-suppression account of between-trial
effects in a modified Stroop paradigm. Acta Psychologica, 131(1), 72-84.
  Altmann, E. M., & Gray, W. D. (2008). An integrated model of cognitive control in task
switching. Psychological Review, 115, 602-639.
  Sohn, M.-H., & Anderson, J. R. (2001). Task preparation and task repetition: Two-
component model of task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
  Byrne, M. D., & Anderson, J. R. (2001). Serial modules in parallel: The psychological
refractory period and perfect time-sharing. Psychological Review, 108, 847-869.
  Salvucci, D. D., & Taatgen, N. A. (2008). Threaded cognition: An integrated theory of
concurrent multitasking. Psychological Review', 130(1)', 101-130
  Lewis, R. L. & Vasishth, S. (2005). An activation-based model of sentence processing as
skilled memory retrieval. Cognitive Science, 29, 375-419
  Budiu, R. & Anderson, J. R. (2004). Interpretation-Based Processing: A Unified Theory
of Semantic Sentence Processing. Cognitive Science, 28, 1-44.
  Taatgen, N.A. & Anderson, J.R. (2002). Why do children learn to say "broke"? A model
of learning the past tense without feedback. Cognition, 86(2), 123-155.
  Budiu R., & Anderson J. R. (2002). Comprehending anaphoric metaphors. Memory &
Cognition, 30, 158-165.
  Altmann, E. M. & Trafton, J. G. (2002). Memory for goals: An activation-based model.
Cognitive Science, 26, 39-83.
  Anderson, J. R. (2005) Human symbol manipulation within an integrated cognitive
architecture. Cognitive Science, 29(3), 313-341.
  Byrne, M. D., & Kirlik, A. (2005). Using computational cognitive modeling to diagnose
possible sources of aviation error. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 15, 135-155.
doi:10.1207/s15327108ijap1502_2
  Salvucci, D. D. (2006). Modeling driver behavior in a cognitive architecture. Human
Factors, 48, 362-380.
  Salvucci, D. D., & Macuga, K. L. (2001). Predicting the effects of cellular-phone dialing
on driver performance. In Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Cognitive
Modeling, pp. 25-32. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  Byrne, M. D., (2001). ACT-R/PM and menu selection: Applying a cognitive architecture
to HCI. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55, 41-84.
  Fleetwood, M. D. & Byrne, M. D. (2002) Modeling icon search in ACT-R/PM.
Cognitive Systems Research, 3, 25-33.
  Fu, Wai-Tat; Pirolli, Peter (2007). "SNIF-ACT: A cognitive model of user navigation on
the World Wide Web". Human-Computer Interaction 22 (4): 355–412.
  Anderson, J.R., Fincham, J. M., Qin, Y., & Stocco, A. (2008). A central circuit of the
mind. Trends in Cognitive Science, 12(4), 136-143
  Sohn, M.-H., Goode, A., Stenger, V. A, Carter, C. S., & Anderson, J. R. (2003).
Competition and representation during memory retrieval: Roles of the prefrontal cortex and
the posterior parietal cortex, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, 100, 7412-7417.
  Sohn, M.-H., Albert, M. V., Stenger, V. A, Jung, K.-J., Carter, C. S., & Anderson, J. R.
(2007). Anticipation of conflict monitoring in the anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal
cortex. Proceedings of National Academy of Science, 104, 10330-10334.
  Qin, Y., Sohn, M-H, Anderson, J. R., Stenger, V. A., Fissell, K., Goode, A. Carter, C. S.
(2003). Predicting the practice effects on the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD)
function of fMRI in a symbolic manipulation task. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences of the United States of America. 100(8): 4951-4956.
  Lewis, M. W., Milson, R., & Anderson, J. R. (1987). The teacher's apprentice:
Designing an intelligent authoring system for high school mathematics. In G. P. Kearsley
(Ed.), Artificial Intelligence and Instruction. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-
11654-5
  Anderson, J. R. & Gluck, K. (2001). What role do cognitive architectures play in
intelligent tutoring systems? In D. Klahr & S. M. Carver (Eds.) Cognition & Instruction:
Twenty-five years of progress, 227-262. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-3824-4
  Anderson, J. R., & Bower, G. H. (1973). Human associative memory. Washington, DC:
Winston and Sons.
  Anderson, J. R. (1976) Language, memory, and thought. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-89859-107-4
  Cohen, N. J., & Squire, L. R. (1980). Preserved learning and retention of pattern-
analyzing skill in amnesia: dissociation of knowing how and knowing that. Science,
210(4466), 207-210
  Anderson, J. R. (1983). The architecture of cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press. ISBN 0-8058-2233-X
  Anderson, J. R. (1990) The adaptive character of thought. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-0419-6
  Anderson, J. R., & Schooler, L. J. (1991). Reflections of the environment in memory.
Psychological Science, 2, 396-408
  Anderson, J. R. (1993). Rules of the mind. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
ISBN 0-8058-1199-0
  Anderson, J. R., & Lebiere, C. (1998). The atomic components of thought. Hillsdale, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-2817-6

42.  Anderson, J. R., et al. (2004) An integrated theory of the mind. Psychological
Review, 111(4). 1036-1060

References
 Anderson, J. R. (2007). How can the human mind occur in the physical universe?
New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-532425-0.
 Anderson, J. R., Bothell, D., Byrne, M. D., Douglass, S., Lebiere, C., & Qin, Y .
(2004). An integrated theory of the mind. Psychological Review, 1036–1060

External links
 Official ACT-R website (with a lot of online material, including the source code, list
of publications, and tutorials)
 jACT-R A Java re-writing of ACT-R.
 ACT-R: The Java Simulation & Development Environment, another open-source Java
re-implementation of ACT-R.
 PythonACT-R A Python implementation of ACT-R.

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 Cognitive architecture
 Common Lisp software

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Learning Theories: Adaptive Control of


Thought
08/20/2014, TeachThought Staff, 0 Comments

inShare9
Learning Theories: Adaptive Control of Thought

by Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor, Plymouth Institute of Education

Editor’s Note: TeachThought continues to grow in an effort to illuminate new possibilities for
teaching and learning. In a continuing effort to bring you the most diverse and expert set of
voices on progressive education, TeachThought will be publishing content from new voices to
join Grant Wiggins, Terry Heick, Stewart Hase, staff writers, and other contributors to our
content. The latest of these voices is Steve Wheeler, a pioneer in ‘web 2.0,’ and thus ‘learning
2.0.’

The focus of his contributions will be to summarize learning theories, and begin to
understand what they might mean for your classroom. We’ll then curate all the theories in a
single page for your long-term reference, because Steve is cool like that and so are we.

This is the first in a series of posts on important theories of learning and memory. Over the
next few weeks I plan to work through the alphabet of psychologists to explain over 30 major
theories that relate to teaching and learning. In each post I’m going to try to simplify some
complex ideas and present the models and theories in brief, bite sized posts. Each will also
have a brief section on how the theory might apply to everyday teaching and learning. Here’s
the first: John Anderson’s ACT-R model of memory.

A considerable amount of research into learning has focused on human memory. A number
of theories about how memory and recall function has been published, but one that stands out
is a model derived from the work of Canadian psychologist John Robert Anderson. Adaptive
Control of Thought – Rational – abbreviated to ACT-R (previously known as ACT*) – is a
cognitive theory of learning that is concerned with the way memory is structured. The so
called cognitive architecture of ACT-R is made up of three main components. These are
represented in the model below (adapted from the earlier ACT* model)..

The Theory

The working memory (WM) is the conscious part of the memory. Previously referred to as
Short Term Memory (or STM), working memory itself is thought to be constructed of several
kinds of memory, including visual and auditory stores (See the work of Baddeley and
Hitch and my earlier blog post memories are made of this for more on this idea). Working
memory is the active buffer between the sensory register (the senses) and Long Term
Memory (LTM). In LTM there are at least two forms of memory storage, concerned with
Declarative (what something is – facts) and Procedural (how to do something). According to
Anderson, procedural memory consists of sequences of actions based on pattern matching
that is similar to computing instructions such as if-then – if this happens, then do that.
Declarative memory on the other hand, holds factual knowledge, and any relevant association
and context.

How It Can Be Applied In Education

The ACT-R model of memory could be applied in education in a number of ways. Teachers
should be aware that there are different kinds of memory, and that these associate with each
other through the limited Working Memory. Overloading WM with too much information at
once will not be conducive to good knowledge making (see my previous post Memory
Full for more on this problem). At the same time, encouraging students to combine their
knowledge with actions can have the effect of reinforcing learning in both procedural and
declarative memory. A combination of thinking and doing can be a powerful mix of activity
to deepen learning in just about any subject area.

NB: This is a simplified version of a complex theory. If you want to know more, you are
advised to seek out the published literature in this field including, Anderson, J. R. (1990) The
adaptive character of thought. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
This post first appeared on Steve’s personal blog; Graphic by Steve Wheeler; Learning
Theories: Adaptive Control of Thought

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[Emotion and incarnated cognition: the


driving dimension of the verbal answers
"yes" and "no"].
Thibaut Brouillet
,
Loïc Heurley
,
Sophie Martin
and
Denis Brouillet

More than one user with this authoring name has confirmed this publication.

 Denis Brouillet
Paul Valéry Montpellier Sud de France, Montpellier, France

 Loïc P. HEURLEY
Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Nanterre, France

 Laboratoire de Psychologie, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier cedex 5.


thibaut.brouillet@gmail.com

Theories of embodied cognition make the hypothesis that all cognitive operations, including
high-level ones, are fundamentally rooted in the current state of the body and in the sensory-
motor systems of the brain. Related experimental work has been concerned solely with the
link between automatic cognitive processes and motor responses. This link has never been
supposed to result from the production of verbal responses, such as the responses
"yes" and "no." However, a great many tasks require a verbal
response along with a motor response. In this study, we have demonstrated that cognitive and
automatic evaluation of the valence of words involves a close link with the motor responses
of "pull" and "push", as well as the verbal responses
"yes" and "no" when the task requires answering "yes" or
"no" whether there is the letter "a" in a word. Moreover, the results
obtained show that the verbal responses "yes" and "no" interact with
the motor responses of "pull" and "push". This interaction supports
the idea that positive and negative verbal responses present a motor component, as
contemplated in embodied cognition theories (Lakoff & Johnson, 1999; Scorolli & Borghi,
2007; Barsalou, 2008).

Situated cognition
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. No
cleanup reason has been specified. Please help improve this article if you can. (May
2009)

Situated cognition is a theory that posits that knowing is inseparable from doing[1] by
arguing that all knowledge is situated in activity bound to social, cultural and physical
contexts.[2]

Under this assumption, which requires an epistemological shift from empiricism, situativity
theorists suggest a model of knowledge and learning that requires thinking on the fly rather
than the storage and retrieval of conceptual knowledge. In essence, cognition cannot be
separated from the context. Instead knowing exists, in situ, inseparable from context, activity,
people, culture, and language. Therefore, learning is seen in terms of an individual's
increasingly effective performance across situations rather than in terms of an accumulation
of knowledge, since what is known is co-determined by the agent and the context. This
perspective rejects mind-body dualism and person-environment dualism, being conceptually
similar to functional contextualism, and B.F. Skinner's behavior analysis.

Contents
 1 History
 2 Glossary
 3 Key principles
o 3.1 Affordances/Effectivities
o 3.2 Perception (Variance/Invariance)
o 3.3 Memory
o 3.4 Knowing
o 3.5 Learning
o 3.6 Language
o 3.7 Legitimate peripheral participation
o 3.8 Representation, Symbols, and Schema
o 3.9 Goals, Intention and Attention
o 3.10 Transfer
o 3.11 Embodied cognition
 4 Externalism
 5 Pedagogical Implications
o 5.1 Cognitive Apprenticeship
o 5.2 Anchored Instruction
o 5.3 Perceiving and Acting in Avatar-based Virtual Worlds
 6 Research Methodologies
 7 Critiques of Situativity
o 7.1 Considerations
 8 See also
 9 References
o 9.1 Notes
o 9.2 Sources
 10 Citations & Further reading

History
While situated cognition gained recognition in the field of educational psychology in the late
twentieth century,[3] it shares many principles with older fields such as critical theory,
(Frankfurt School, 1930; Freire, 1968) anthropology (Jean Lave & Wenger, 1991),
philosophy (Martin Heidegger, 1968), critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1989), and
sociolinguistics theories (Bhaktin, 1981) that rejected the notion of truly objective knowledge
and the principles of Kantian empiricism.

Situated cognition draws a variety of perspectives, from an anthropological study of human


behavior within communities of practice[4] to the ecological psychology of the perception-
action cycle[5] and intentional dynamics,[6] and even research on robotics with work on
autonomous agents at NASA and elsewhere (e.g., work by W. J. Clancey). Early attempts to
define situated cognition focused on contrasting the emerging theory with information
processing theories dominant in cognitive psychology.[7]

Recent perspectives of situated cognition have focused on and draw from the concept of
identity formation[4] as people negotiate meaning through interactions within communities of
practice.[8] Situated cognition perspectives have been adopted in education,[9] instructional
design,[10] online communities and artificial intelligence (see Brooks, Clancey). Grounded
Cognition, concerned with the role of simulations and embodiment in cognition, encompasses
Cognitive Linguistics, Situated Action, Simulation and Social Simulation theories. Research
has contributed to the understanding of embodied language, memory, and the representation
of knowledge.[11]

Recently theorists have recognized a natural affinity between situated cognition, New
Literacy Studies and new literacies research (Gee, 2010). This connection is made by
understanding that situated cognition maintains that individuals learn through experiences. It
could be stated that these experiences, and more importantly the mediators that affect
attention during these experiences is affected by the tools, technologies and languages used
by a socio-cultural group and the meanings given to these by the collective group. New
literacies research examines the context and contingencies that language and tool use by
individuals and how this changes as the Internet and other communication technologies affect
literacy.[12]

Glossary
Term Definition
properties of the environment, specified in the information array (flow
affordance field) of the individual, that present possibilities for action and are
available for an agent to perceive directly and act upon
attention and Once an intention (goal) is adopted, the agent’s perception (attention) is
intention attuned to the affordances of the environment.
attunement is a persisting state of awareness of the affordances in the
attunement
environment and how they may be acted upon
The concept of a **community of practice** (often abbreviated as CoP)
community of refers to the process of social learning that occurs and shared sociocultural
practice practices that emerge and evolve when people who have common goals
interact as they strive towards those goals.
detection of
perception of what doesn't change across different situations
invariants
direct perception describes the way an agent in an environment senses affordances without
(pick up) the need for computation or symbolic representation
effectivities The agents ability to recognize and use affordances of the environment.
as an explanation of cognition emphasizes first that the body exists as part
of the world. In a dynamic process, perception and action occurring
embodiment
through and because of the body being in the world, interact to allow for
the processes of simulation and representation.
legitimate the initial stage(s) of a person's active membership in a community of
peripheral practice to which he or she has access and the opportunity to become a full
participation participant.
Gibson (1986) described a continuous perception-action cycle, which is
perceiving and
dynamic and ongoing. Agents perceive and act with intentionality in the
acting cycle
environment at all times.

Key principles
Affordances/Effectivities

J. J. Gibson introduced the idea of affordances as part of a relational account of perception.[13]


Perception should not be considered solely as the encoding of environmental features into the
perceiver's mind, but as an element of an individual's interaction with her environment
(Gibson, 1977). Central to his proposal of an ecological psychology was the notion of
affordances. Gibson proposed that in any interaction between an agent and the environment,
inherent conditions or qualities of the environment allow the agent to perform certain actions
with the environment.[14] He defined the term as properties in the environment that presented
possibilities for action and were available for an agent to perceive directly and act upon.[15]
Gibson focused on the affordances of physical objects, such as doorknobs and chairs, and
suggested that these affordances were directly perceived by an individual instead of mediated
by mental representations such as mental models. It is important to note that Gibson's notion
of direct perception as an unmediated process of noticing, perceiving, and encoding specific
attributes from the environment, has long been challenged by proponents of a more category-
based model of perception.
This focus on agent-situation interactions in ecological psychology was consistent with the
situated cognition program of researchers such as James G. Greeno (1994, 1998), who
appreciated Gibson's apparent rejection of the factoring assumptions underlying experimental
psychology. The situated cognition perspective focused on "perception-action instead of
memory and retrieval…A perceiving/acting agent is coupled with a developing/adapting
environment and what matters is how the two interact".[16] Greeno (1994) also suggested that
affordances are "preconditions for activity," and that while they do not determine behavior,
they increase the likelihood that a certain action or behavior will occur.

Shaw, Turvey, & Mace (as cited by Greeno, 1994) later introduced the term effectivities, the
abilities of the agent that determined what the agent could do, and consequently, the
interaction that could take place. Perception and action were co-determined by the
effectivities and affordances, which acted 'in the moment' together.[17] Therefore, the agent
directly perceived and interacted with the environment, determining what affordances could
be picked up, based on his effectivities. This view is consistent with Norman's (1988) theory
of "perceived affordances," which emphasizes the agent's perception of an object's utility as
opposed to focusing on the object itself.

An interesting question is the relationship between affordances and mental representations as


set forth in a more cognitivist perspective. While Greeno (1998) argues that attunements to
affordances are superior to constructs such as schemata and mental models, Glenberg &
Robertson (1999) suggested that affordances are the building blocks of mental models.

Perception (Variance/Invariance)

The work of Gibson (1986) in the field of visual perception greatly influences situated
cognition.[14] Gibson argued that visual perception is not a matter of the eye translating inputs
into symbolic representation in the brain. Instead the viewer perceives and picks up on the
infinite amount of information available in the environment. Specifically, an agent perceives
affordances by discovering the variants, what changes, and more importantly the invariants,
what does not change across different situations. Given a specific intention (or intentional
set),[clarification needed] perceptions of invariants are co-determined by the agent and the
affordances of the environment, and are then built upon over time.[clarification needed]

Memory

Situated cognition and ecological psychology perspectives emphasize perception and propose
that memory plays a significantly diminished role in the learning process. Rather, focus is on
the continuous tuning of perceptions and actions across situations based on the affordances of
the environment and the interaction of the agent within that environment (Greeno, 1994).
Representations are not stored and checked against past knowledge, but are created and
interpreted in activity (Clancey, 1990).

Situated cognition understands memory as an interaction with the world, bounded by


meaningful situations, that brings an agent toward a specified goal (intention). Thus,
perception and action are co-determined by the effectivities and affordances, which act 'in the
moment' together.[18] Therefore, the agent directly perceives and interacts with the
environment, determining what affordances can be picked up, based on his effectivities, and
does not simply recall stored symbolic representations.
Knowing

Situativity theorists recast knowledge not as an entity, thing, or noun, but as knowing as an
action or verb.[14] It is not an entity which can be collected as in knowledge acquisition
models. Instead knowing is reciprocally co-determined between the agent and
environment.[19] This reciprocal interaction can not be separated from the context and its
cultural and historical constructions.[4] Therefore knowing isn't a matter of arriving at any
single truth but instead it is a particular stance that emerges from the agent-environment
interaction.[19]

Knowing emerges as individuals develop intentions[20] through goal-directed activities within


cultural contexts which may in turn have larger goals and claims of truth. The adoption of
intentions relates to the direction of the agent's attention to the detection of affordances in the
environment that will lead to accomplishment of desired goals. Knowing is expressed in the
agent's ability to act as an increasingly competent participant in a community of practice. As
agents participate more fully within specific communities of practice, what constitutes
knowing continuously evolves.[4] For example a novice environmentalist may not look at
water quality by examining oxygen levels but may consider the color and smell.[19] Through
participation and enculturation within different communities, agents express knowing through
action.

Learning

Since knowing is rooted in action and can not be decontextualized from individual, social,
and historical goals[19] teaching approaches that focus on conveying facts and rules separately
from the contexts within which they are meaningful in real-life do not allow for learning that
is based on the detection of invariants. They are therefore considered to be impoverished
methods that are unlikely to lead to transfer. Learning must involve more than the
transmission of knowledge but must instead encourage the expression of effectivities and the
development of attention and intention[21] through rich contexts[22] that reflect real life
learning processes.[4]

Learning, more specifically literacy learning is affected by the Internet and other
communication technologies as also evidenced in other segments of society. As a result of
this youth are recently using affordances provided by these tools to become experts in a
variety of domains.[23] These practices by youth are viewed as them becoming "pro-ams" and
becoming experts in whatever they have developed a passion for.[24]

Language

Individuals don't just read or write texts, they interact with them, and often these interactions
involve others in various socio-cultural contexts. Since language is often the basis for
monitoring and tracking learning gains in comprehension, content knowledge and tool use in
and out of school the role of situated cognition in language learning activities is important.
Membership and interaction in social and cultural groups is often determined by tools,
technologies and discourse use for full participation. Language learning or literacy in various
social and cultural groups must include how the groups work with and interact with these
texts.[23] Language instruction in the context of situated cognition also involves the skilled or
novice use of language by members of the group, and instruction of not only the elements of
language, but what is needed to bring a student to the level of expert. Originating from
emergent literacy,[25] specialist-language lessons examines the formal and informal styles and
discourses of language use in socio-cultural contexts.[26] A function of specialist-language
lessons includes "lucidly functional language", or complex specialist language is usually
accompanied by clear and lucid language used to explain the rules, relationships or meanings
existing between language and meaning.[23]

Legitimate peripheral participation

According to Jean Lave and Wenger (1991) legitimate peripheral participation (LPP)
provides a framework to describe how individuals ('newcomers') become part of a
community of learners. Legitimate peripheral participation was central to Lave and Wenger's
take on situated cognition (referred to as "situated activity") because it introduced socio-
cultural and historical realizations of power and access to the way thinking and knowing are
legitimated. They stated, "Hegemony over resources for learning and alienation from full
participation are inherent in the shaping of the legitimacy and peripherality of participation in
its historical realizations" (p. 42). Lave and Wenger's (1991) research on the phenomenon of
apprenticeship in communities of practice not only provided a unit of analysis for locating an
individual's multiple, changing levels and ways of participation, but also implied that all
participants, through increased involvement, have access to, acquire, and use resources
available to their particular community. To illustrate the role of LPP in situated activity, Lave
and Wenger (1991) examined five apprenticeship scenarios (Yucatec midwives, Vai and Gola
tailors, naval quartermasters, meat cutters, and nondrinking alcoholics involved in AA). Their
analysis of apprenticeship across five different communities of learners lead them to several
conclusions about the situatedness of LPP and its relationship to successful learning. Key to
newcomers' success included:

 access to all that community membership entails,


 involvement in productive activity,
 learning the discourse(s) of the community including "talking about and talking
within a practice," (p. 109), and
 willingness of the community to capitalize on the inexperience of newcomers,
"Insofar as this continual interaction of new perspectives is sanctioned, everyone's
participation is legitimately peripheral in some respect. In other words, everyone can
to some degree be considered a 'newcomer' to the future of a changing community"[27]

Representation, Symbols, and Schema

In situated theories, the term "representation" refers to external forms in the environment that
are created through social interactions to express meaning (language, art, gestures, etc.) and
are perceived and acted upon in the first person sense. "Representing" in the first person
sense is conceived as an act of re-experiencing in the imagination that involves the dialectic
of ongoing perceiving and acting in coordination with the activation of neural structures and
processes. This form of reflective representation is considered to be a secondary type of
learning, while the primary form of learning is found in the "adaptive recoordination that
occurs with every behavior".[28] Conceptualizing is considered to be a "prelinguistic" act,
while "knowing" involves creative interaction with symbols in both their interpretation and
use for expression. "Schema" develop as neural connections become biased through repeated
activations to reactivate in situations that are perceived and conceived as temporally and
compositionally similar to previous generalized situations.[28]
Goals, Intention and Attention

Young-Barab Model (1997)

The Young-Barab Model (1997) pictured to the left, illustrates the dynamics of intentions and
intentional dynamics involved in the agent’s interaction with his environment when problem
solving.

Dynamics of Intentions:[29] goal (intention) adoption from among all possible goals
(ontological descent). This describes how the learner decides whether or not to adopt a
particular goal when presented with a problem. Once a goal is adopted, the learner proceeds
by interacting with their environment through intentional dynamics. There are many levels of
intentions, but at the moment of a particular occasion, the agent has just one intention, and
that intention constrains his behavior until it is fulfilled or annihilated.

Intentional Dynamics:[29] dynamics that unfold when the agent has only one intention (goal)
and begins to act towards it, perceiving and acting.[15] It is a trajectory towards the
achievement of a solution or goal, the process of tuning one’s perception (attention). Each
intention is meaningfully bounded, where the dynamics of that intention inform the agent of
whether or not he is getting closer to achieving his goal. If the agent is not getting closer to
his goal, he will take corrective action, and then continue forward. This is the agent’s
intentional dynamics, and continues on until he achieves his goal.

Transfer

There are various definition of transfer found within the situated cognition umbrella.
Researchers interested in social practice often define transfer as increased participation.[4]
Ecological psychology perspectives define transfer as the detection of invariance across
different situations.[30] Furthermore transfer can only "occur when there is a confluence of an
individual's goals and objectives, their acquired abilities to act, and a set of affordances for
action".[31]

Embodied cognition

The traditional cognition approach assumes that perception and motor systems are merely
peripheral input and output devices.[32] However, embodied cognition posits that the mind
and body interact 'on the fly' as a single entity. An example of embodied cognition is seen in
the area of robotics, where movements are not based on internal representations, rather, they
are based on the robot’s direct and immediate interaction with its environment.[33]
Additionally, research has shown that embodied facial expressions influence judgments,[34]
and arm movements are related to a person’s evaluation of a word or concept.[35] In the latter
example, the individual would pull or push a lever towards his name at a faster rate for
positive words, then for negative words. These results appeal to the embodied nature of
situated cognition, where knowledge is the achievement of the whole body in its interaction
with the world.

Externalism
As to the mind, by and large, situated cognition paves the way to various form of externalism.
The issue is whether the situated aspect of cognition has only a practical value or it is
somehow constitutive of cognition and perhaps of consciousness itself. As to the latter
possibility, there are different positions. David Chalmers and Andy Clark, who developed the
hugely debated model of the extended mind, explicitly rejected the externalization of
consciousness.[36] For them, only cognition is extended. On the other hand, others, like
Riccardo Manzotti[36] or Teed Rockwell,[37] explicitly considered the possibility to situate
conscious experience in the environment.

Pedagogical Implications
Since situated cognition views knowing as an action within specific contexts and views
Direct Instruction models of knowledge transmission as impoverished, there are significant
implications for pedagogical practices. First, curriculum requires instructional design that
draws on apprenticeship models common in real life.[3] Second, curricular design should rely
on contextual narratives that situate concepts in practice. Classroom practices such as Project
Based Learning and Problem Based Learning would qualify as consistent with the situated
learning perspective, as would techniques such as Case Base Learning, Anchored Instruction,
and Cognitive Apprenticeship.

Cognitive Apprenticeship

Cognitive Apprenticeships were one of the earliest pedagogical designs to incorporate the
theories of situated cognition (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). Cognitive apprenticeship
uses four dimensions (e.g., content, methods, sequence, sociology) to embed learning in
activity and make deliberate the use of the social and physical contexts present in the
classroom (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989). Cognitive
apprenticeship includes the enculturation of students into authentic practices through activity
and social interaction (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). The technique draws on the
principles of Legitimate Peripheral Participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and reciprocal
teaching (Palinscar & Brown, 1984; 1989) in that a more knowledgeable other, i.e. a teacher,
engages in a task with a more novice other, i.e. a learner, by describing their own thoughts as
they work on the task, providing "just in time" scaffolding, modeling expert behaviors, and
encouraging reflection.[38] The reflection process includes having students alternate between
novice and expert strategies in a problem-solving context, sensitizing them to specifics of an
expert performance, and adjustments that may be made to their own performance to get them
to the expert level (Collins & Brown, 1988; Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989). Thus, the
function of reflection indicates "co-investigation" and/or abstracted replay by students.[39]

Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) emphasized six critical features of a cognitive
apprenticeship that included observation, coaching, scaffolding, modeling, fading, and
reflection. Using these critical features, expert(s) guided students on their journey to acquire
the cognitive and metacognitive processes and skills necessary to handle a variety of tasks, in
a range of situations[40] Reciprocal teaching, a form of cognitive apprenticeship, involves the
modeling and coaching of various comprehension skills as teacher and students take turns in
assuming the role of instructor.

Anchored Instruction

Anchored instruction is grounded in a story or narrative that presents a realistic (but fictional)
situation and raises an overarching question or problem (compare with an essential question
posed by a teacher). This approach is designed to 1) engage the learner with a problem or
series of related problems, 2) require the learner to develop goals and discover subgoals
related to solving the problem(s), and 3) provide the learner with extensive and diverse
opportunities to explore the problem(s) in a shared context with classmates. For example, a
Spanish teacher uses a video drama series focused on the murder of a main character.
Students work in small groups to summarize parts of the story, to create hypotheses about the
murderer and motive, and to create a presentation of their solution to the class. Stories are
often paired so that across the set students can detect the invariant structure of the underlying
knowledge (so 2 episodes about distance-rate-time, one about boats and one about planes, so
students can perceive how the distance-rate-time relationship holds across differences in
vehicles). The ideal smallest set of instances needed provide students the opportunity to
detect invariant structure has been referred to as a "generator set" of situations.

The goal of anchored instruction is the engagement of intention and attention. Through
authentic tasks across multiple domains, educators present situations that require students to
create or adopt meaningful goals (intentions). One of the educator’s objectives can be to set a
goal through the use of an anchor problem.[41] A classic example of anchored instruction is
the Jasper series.[42] The Jasper series includes a variety of videodisc adventures focused on
problem formulation and problem solving. Each videodisc used a visual narrative to present
an authentic, realistic everyday problem. The objective was for students to adopt specific
goals (intentions) after viewing the story and defining a problem. These newly adopted goals
guided students through the collaborative process of problem formulation and problem
solving.

Perceiving and Acting in Avatar-based Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds provide unique affordances for embodied learning, i.e. hands on, interactive,
spatially oriented, that ground learning in experience. Here "embodied" means acting in a
virtual world enabled by an avatar.

Contextual affordances of online games and virtual environments allow learners to engage in
goal-driven activity, authentic interactions, and collaborative problem-solving - all
considered in situated theories of learning to be features of optimal learning. In terms of
situated assessment, virtual worlds have the advantage of facilitating dynamic feedback that
directs the perceiving/acting agent, through an avatar, to continually improve performance.

Research Methodologies
The situative perspective is focused on interactive systems in which individuals interact with
one another and physical and representational systems. Research takes place in situ and in
real-world settings, reflecting assumptions that knowledge is constructed within specific
contexts which have specific situational affordances. Mixed methods and qualitative
methodologies are the most prominently used by researchers.

In qualitative studies, methods used are varied but the focus is often on the increased
participation in specific communities of practice, the affordances of the environment that are
acted upon by the agent, and the distributed nature of knowing in specific communities. A
major feature of quantitative methods used in situated cognition is the absence of outcome
measures. Quantitative variables used in mixed methods often focus on process over product.
For example trace nodes, dribble files, and hyperlink pathways are often used to track how
students interact in the environment.[43]

Critiques of Situativity
In "Situated Action: A Symbolic Interpretation" Vera and Simon wrote: " ... the systems
usually regarded as exemplifying Situated Action are thoroughly symbolic (and
representational), and, to the extent that they are limited in these respects, have doubtful
prospects for extension to complex tasks"[44] Vera and Simon (1993) also claimed that the
information processing view is supported by many years of research in which symbol
systems simulated "broad areas of human cognition" and that there is no evidence of
cognition without representation.

Anderson, Reder and Simon (1996) summarized what they considered to be the four claims
of situated learning and argued against each claim from a cognitivist perspective. The claims
and their arguments were:

1. Claim: Activity and learning are bound to the specific situations in which they occur.
Argument: Whether learning is bound to context or not depends on both the kind of
learning and the way that it is learned.
2. Claim: Knowledge does not transfer between tasks. Argument: There is ample
evidence of successful transfer between tasks in the literature. Transfer depends on
initial practice and the degree to which a successive task has similar cognitive
elements to a prior task.
3. Claim: Teaching abstractions is ineffective. Argument: Abstract instruction can be
made effective by combining of abstract concepts and concrete examples.
4. Claim: Instruction must happen in complex social contexts. Argument: Research
shows value in individual learning and on focusing individually on specific skills in a
skill set.

Anderson, Reder and Simons summarize their concerns when they say: "What is needed to
improve learning and teaching is to continue to deepen our research into the circumstances
that determine when narrower or broader contexts are required and when attention to
narrower or broader skills are optimal for effective and efficient learning" (p. 10).

Considerations

However, it is important to remember that a theory is neither wrong nor right but provides
affordances for certain aspects of a problem.[45] Lave and Wenger recognized this in their
ironic comment, "How can we purport to be working out a theoretical conception of learning
without engaging in the project of abstraction [decontextualized knowledge] rejected above?"
(Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 38).