Empiricism and Rationalism is a reflection of the nature and nurture debate. The philosoephical notion empiricism is defined as knowledge that does not transpire due to genes. Aristotle’s views in regards to the nature versus nurture argument leans more on the nurture side. His views reflects the view of an empiricist, therefore, he believes that the mind is in a blank state at birth and needs experience in order for knowledge to occur. The empiricism notion is also known as the standard social science model and most researchers tend to use this point of view in social sciences.
Other philosophers such as: John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume also believed that knowledge is gained through environmental learning. The philosophical notion rationalism is the belief in the innate concept. Philosophers such as Plato, Rene Descartes, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Benedict de Spinoza, Immanuel Kant and William James were rationalist who stood on the opposite spectrum from Aristotle’s learning experience view of knowledge. Plato believed innate knowledge comes before learned knowledge because he proposed that our souls existed before our bodies did, while Descartes believed that our innate knowledge came from God.
Empirical science is science that is real due to observable factors and information. Scientists tend to question and observe a certain thing or event before making a hypothesis. However, this does not make a scientist an empiricist. Empirical science is not related to the argument between empiricism and rationalism because science is focused on having observable data. Even though empirical science stands on its own in the debate, it does have similar views to the concept of empiricism, but the difference is that knowledge is gained through testable information. In relation to the topic of science, applied mathematics is related to science, but pure mathematics and even religion is not scientific because it can not be tested. I agree that certain topics of mathematics can be connected to science, but basic topics like addition are facts that do not need to be tested.
Mind-Body Dualism stems from Descartes’s claim that humans have 2 parts to them: a mind and a body. Although they may seem different, they are a form of interaction called Cartesian interactionism which basically means that the mind and body are connected. For example, an individual’s thoughts can result in certain actions, while a sensory functions might lead to thoughts or sentiments. Descartes renamed mind-body dualism as substance dualism because he saw the mind and body as distinct substances. As I read Descartes thoughts on the mind and body, I disagree and agree with him. I disagree with him because I do not think the mind and body are different because when the brain stops functioning, so does its mental properties, which then means the body will not be able to function. Therefore, the mind is the one in control of the body. I then agree with him because the mind does have its own functions while the body also has its functions.
There are many views that oppose the mind-body dualism such as trialism, monism and pluralism. There also has been a suggestion from the philosopher, John Cottingham, that sensation should be added to the mind and body interaction. Besides this information, the major opposition to the mind-body dualism is monism. Monism states that there is one main substance and this view consists of two classes known as idealism and materialism.
Idealism is a very radical term because it means that everything we know is produced from our mental state and it is denying that the things we know or see are real. On the other hand, materialism is a belief that the material world is all there is and our mental state (mind)is not to be studied. Materialism have subcategories that we can study like behaviors of other people and the physical brain. I find the topic of materialism confusing because I do not understand how it is possible to study the brain functions, but not the mind which is the brain.
Cognitive Science refers to the processes that results in intelligence. A field that is related to cognitive science is Artificial Intelligence (AI) which builds devices that have functions that are similar to human functions. Other fields such as: computer science, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, philosophy, ethology, economics, sociology, political science and literary studies are taking part in the study of cognitive science.
Symbols are defined as a representation of speech sounds. Symbols are somewhat incorporated in the human brain because it is apart of the human language. The notation system is a set of symbols, therefore, the use of recognizable symbols will allow humans to learn more efficiently. The interconnection between the notation systems and neutral networks is not clear to me, but I understood that the notation system is not bound to a specific network.
The tri-level hypothesis is the three different levels of cognitive science. These levels were made known by a pioneer in cognitive science, David Marr. The first level is the functional level and it is where the problem that is focused on is known and analyzed. However, before focusing on the solution of the problem, it is important to know the nature of the output and input. In the case of language, the mental grammar is the output and the input which allows humans to speak, depict and explain sentences. Overall, the central point of the functional level is the function of the cognitive module.
The second level is the algorithmic level which was an additional level between the two main levels: functional and implementational. The algorithmic level is known as a natural extension of the first level and it goes into more specific depiction of the functions of the submodules in the language Acquisition Device and the mental grammar. Overall, an algorithm is needed to make a detailed functional model of cognitive science. The third level is the implementational level. This level focuses on how the modules can be physically used in the brain. Besides this, the implementation that takes place in a computer rather than the brain will lead to an occurence of artificial intelligence.
The two different approaches within cognitive science is serialism and parallelism. The serialism approach is known as the classical architecture of cognitive science and it is defined as information that is managed in a serial method. The serial process has three problems related to it. For information processing, the serial process is slow, it is at risk for small defects slow and digital processing is not flexible and it is established on yes or no responses. The second approach, parallelism, is designed as multiple chains where information can progress in a parallel direction. The parallel distributed processing is comprised within this approach and this dictates the pattern of connectivity which then depicts the movement of information.
Modularity is defined as the cognitive functions that are comprised in the mind. The mental grammar which is the functional module in the brain has sub categories such as language, phonology, syntax, and semantics. The functional module and the physical module is not known to have main connection, but the functional module does correlate to the physical module which is brain regions.
There are 10 criteria for the modules. The first criteria is that the module needs to be domain-specified which means that the module focuses on a certain kind of information. The second criterion is that it is mandatory and it is not possible for an individual to stop themselves from operating the input function of linguistics. The third criteria is that the module will not affect the activities that are occuring in other modules. The fourth criteria is that the module needs to be subconscious, therefore, we are not able to contemplate on the events happening in a module. The fifth criteria is that there is only access to the outputs of modules, but not the input or the details that resulted in the output.
The sixth criteria is that the modules are to be quick which explains how fast an individual is able to comprehend sentences and words. The seventh criteria is the innateness of modules. Modules are natural therefore learning is not needed. The eighth criteria of the separate breakdown of the module which means that the dissociation on one module will not be able to affect the other modules. The ninth criteria is the fixed neural architecture which means that the module is connected to specific parts of the brain. The tenth criteria is the adaptive value of the module. Modules are gives a species survival opportunities because of its adaptive trait.
The term structural analogy assumption was created by John Anderson, who suggested that various kinds of modules can be structured in an analogous or parallel way. Therefore, the brain is able to use this strategy because different types of modules are made to solve certain issues. This term was not easy to understand and in fact I do not think I have a clear meaning of how structural analogy relates to the brain.
The text focused on various topics such as philosophy of mind, cognitive science and modularity. The philosophy of the mind was very interesting to read because the debate between empiricism and rationalism related to the nature and nurture debate which I really enjoyed reading about. Cognitive science in chapter 3 was a somewhat complex topic to read about because there is a great deal of information that is involved in cognitive science. For modularity, it was very informative of the different types of modules that are within the brain, however for this topic I don’t think I have a precise understanding of it yet.
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