Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 28, 1998 - Philosophy - 328 pages
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This book is a further contribution to the series Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology. It is an ambitious attempt to explain the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing to link philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of "externalist" explanations. This is a highly original philosophical project that will appeal to a broad swathe of philosophers, especially those working in the philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind, and epistemology.
  

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This book comes in two parts, the first part is more philosophy based, and the second part is largely a mathematical treatment of genetics. The main thesis of the book is that complexity arises within ... Read full review

Contents

Naturalism and Teleology
3
Spencer and Dewey
5
Outline of the book
9
Thought and act
11
Two concepts of function
14
Teleonomic and instrumental views of cognition
21
A simple concept of complexity
24
Externalism and Internalism
30
The Question of Correspondence
166
Some false dichotomies
168
A fuel for success
171
Explaining representation
175
Successlinked theories
178
Millikans maps
184
A stocktake
187
A flurry over fitness
188

A fast tour
31
Internalism
37
The larger landscape
42
Contesting the explanandum
45
The location of the internalexternal divide
48
Problems of adjudication
50
Cexternalist explanations
57
Cognition as organic complexity
59
Spencers Version
66
Life and mind
69
Continuities
72
Homeostasis and cognition
76
Spencers explanatory program
79
Directindirect instructiveselective
86
James interests
90
Deweys Version
100
Dewey on life
102
Dewey on continuity
104
Indeterminacy and complexity
106
Past and present
108
Selection and the pattern of inquiry
113
Pragmatism and reliabilism
116
A simulation
121
A summary of progress made so far
124
On Construction
131
Two lines of dissent
135
Biological constructivism
141
What environments contain
148
Other views
151
The status of complexity
153
Construction and realism
157
Constructivist philosophies of science
161
Significance of the two trends
192
Summary of Part I
195
Models
205
Adaptive Plasticity
207
Biological background to the basic model
208
The basic model
209
The inducible defense case part I
214
The precarious and stable revisited
216
Comparison to a Bayesian model of experimentation
217
Another model using regularity and change
220
Extensions of the basic model geometric means
221
Variation within and between trials
224
The Signal Detection Model
232
Optimal cues and acceptable cues
237
The costs of plasticity
238
Paying for perception
244
On reliability
247
Complex Individuals Complex Populations
255
Polymorphism
256
Individual homeostasis
258
Homeostasis and the population
262
Levenes theme
264
The rhythm method
268
Levins machinery
271
The coarse and the fine
277
A counterexample
278
The groupselectionist structure of Levins model
281
Quasihomeostasis
284
Summary of Part II
286
References
291
Index
309
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