Ecological Content

Toribio-Mateas, Josefa (1997) Ecological Content. Pragmatics and Cognition, 5. 257 - 285. ISSN 09290907

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The paper has a negative and a positive side. The negative side argues that the classical notions of narrow and wide content are not suitable for the purposes of psychological explanation. The positive side shows how to characterize an alternative notion of content (ecological content) that is suitable for those purposes. This account is supported by (a) a way of conceptualizing computation that is constitutively dependent upon properties external to the system and (b) empirical research in developmental psychology. My main contention is that an adequate computational explanation of the behavior involved in cognitive activities should invoke a concept of content that can capture the intimate dynamical relationship between the inner and the outer. The notion of content thus reaches out to include the set of skills, abilities and know-hows that an agent deploys in a constantly variable environment. The assumption underlying my attempt to characterize this ecological notion of content is that cognition is better understood when treated as embedded cognition and that the idea of cognitive significance ought to be cashed out in non-individualistic and pragmatic terms.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:25
Last Modified: 31 May 2012 09:36
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