How Cognitive Science treats the mind and consciousness of self
"the dominant model of the mind in contemporary cognitive science is Kantian,"
"Kant's conception of the mind is functionalist"
"to Kant, the two most important function of the mind are
a) synthesis (see below in 2).
b) unity associated with this synthesis "
"Thus, in Kant's thought about the mind early in CPR,
there is not one central movement but two, one [synthesis] in the
Transcendental Aesthetic and the other [unification] in the Metaphysical
[sorting the Transcendental Aesthetic into the categories of experience]
experience (of objects) to the necessary conditions of such experience[the
The second is a move down from the Aristotelian forms of judgment to the
concepts that we have to use in judging, namely, the Categories. One is
up from experience, the other deduction down from conceptual
structures of the most abstract kind."
" some of Kant's most characteristic doctrines about the mind are now
built into the very foundations of cognitive science."
But only some.
"Three ideas define the basic shape (‘cognitive architecture’) of Kant's model
one its dominant method. They have all become part of the foundation of
1)The mind is complex set of abilities (functions). (As Meerbote 1989 and
many others have observed,
Kant held a functionalist view of the mind almost 200 years before
functionalism was officially
articulated in the 1960s by Hilary Putnam and others.)
2) The functions crucial for mental, knowledge-generating activity are
a) spatio-temporal processing [into spacetime] of
b) application of concepts to, sensory inputs.
requires concepts as well as percepts. These functions are forms of what
synthesis. Synthesis (and the unity in consciousness required for
central to cognition.
These three ideas are fundamental to most thinking about cognition now.
Kant's most important method, the transcendental method [structuring the
mind with basic categories],
is also at the heart of contemporary cognitive science.
To study the mind, infer the conditions necessary for experience [the
Arguments having this structure are called transcendental arguments.
Translated into contemporary terms, the core of this method is inference to the
the method of postulating unobservable mental mechanisms in order to explain
To be sure, Kant thought that he could get more out of his transcendental
than just ‘best explanations’. He thought that he could get a priori
knowledge out of them. Kant had a tripartite doctrine of the a priori. He held
that some features
of the mind and its knowledge had a priori origins, i.e., must be in the mind
prior to experience
(because using them is necessary to have experience). That mind and knowledge
features are a priori truths, i.e., necessary and universal (B3/4).
And we can come to know these truths, or that they are a priori at any
by using a priori methods, i.e., we cannot learn these things from experience
(B3) (Brook 1993). Kant thought that transcendental
arguments were a priori or yielded the a priori in all three ways.
Nonetheless, at the heart of this method is inference to the best explanation.
When introspection fell out of favour about 100 years ago, the alternative
adopted was exactly this approach. Its nonempirical roots in Kant
it is now the major method used by experimental cognitive scientists."
Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen
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