From symbols to icons: the return of resemblance in the cognitive neuroscience revolution

Williams, Daniel and Colling, Lincoln (2017) From symbols to icons: the return of resemblance in the cognitive neuroscience revolution. Synthese, 195. pp. 1941-1967. ISSN 0039-7857

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We argue that one important aspect of the “cognitive neuroscience revolution” identified by Boone and Piccinini (Synthese 193(5):1509–1534. doi:10.1007/ s11229-015-0783-4, 2015) is a dramatic shift away from thinking of cognitive representations as arbitrary symbols towards thinking of them as icons that replicate structural characteristics of their targets. We argue that this shift has been driven both “from below” and “from above”—that is, from a greater appreciation of what mechanistic explanation of information-processing systems involves (“from below”), and from a greater appreciation of the problems solved by bio-cognitive systems, chiefly regulation and prediction (“from above”). We illustrate these arguments by reference to examples from cognitive neuroscience, principally representational similarity analysis and the emergence of (predictive) dynamical models as a central postulate in neurocognitive research.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Lincoln Colling
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 09:32
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 09:45

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