List of Accepted Entries
Please, click the name for full author information and abstract
How Morphological Growth Can Participate in the Acquisition of Locomotion Behavior in Robots
E for Ontology
How Many E Do We (Really) Need?
Body and embodiment in VR environments
Shared responsibilities and hybrid learning assemblies in musical skill acquisition
Current developments of enactive concepts of addiction: a critical review from a clinical perspective.
Listening to objects and shapes. On developing sensory substitution with the Colorophone device
- Fabien C. Y. BENUREAU
Abstract: Development and learning are cornerstone processes of intelligent life. While they operate at different timescales, they interact with one another in non-trivial ways. We will show one example of such an interaction between morphological growth and the acquisition of a locomotion behavior in simulated soft robots. In particular, we will show that when a robot does grow up, from a small birth size to a larger adult size, it tends to acquire better walking behavior than a robot that only learns as an adult. Similar effects are found when the developmental processes involves changing body mass or muscle strength. Since most robots today have a fixed morphology, and when they learn, only learn in their adult form, this result has a broad impact on how to design future robots and how to improve their learning path. This result also adds to the evidence regarding the importance of morphological development in animals and humans, as well as provides a fully observable and fully repeatable experimental platform to test hypotheses stemming from neuroscience and biomechanics research.
- Nick BRANCAZIO
- Patrick MCGIVERN
There is quite a mismatch between the intellectualist notion of agency as targeted in much philosophy of mind and the notion of agency used in the autopoietic enactive approach to cognition and behavior, where agency is a fundamental aspect of living things. Recent empirical work on bacteria, slime moulds, and plant behaviours has made it clear that we find goal-oriented actions across the entire spectrum of living creatures. Accordingly, we need an account of agency that can cover a number of different kinds of purpose-driven actions. In order to accommodate both the range of agencies we find in the world and the relationships between them, we propose a multi-scale account of agency. We demonstrate the need for such an account through an examination of two different boundary cases: unicellular/multicellular cases involving overlapping agents, and non-living collectives found in certain types of active matter. Because the notion of agency captures different features and behaviors on different scales, we show how such an account can capture the aspects of agency important in empirical research without committing to any particular explanatory framework across all scales. Through our evaluation of these cases, we show that a multi-scale account will be useful for explaining the nested agencies within organisms, collective agency, and temporally extensive senses of agency associated with long-term goals, as well as the relationships between them.
- Erik MYIN
What’s the place of the mental in the natural world? In mainstream philosophy of mind, this question is framed as an ontological one, concerning the relation between mental states and physical processes. There’s a standard answer to it: mental states are functional states, defined by relations between inputs, other internal states and outputs. Textbooks agree in portraying the functionalist conception of the mind as the crowning achievement of a history of philosophical and scientific thinking about the mind, with dualism, behaviorism and identity theory, as its superseded predecessors. I will take aim at the functionalist view of the mind and of its own history, to claim that, instead of functionalism, the embodied view of the mind holds the best cards to be considered the crowning stroke. By construing apparent tensions between “the mental” and “the physical” as due to the different ways in which embodied beings engage the world, and by preferring histories of interaction over representations as explanantia, E-theorists retain what’s best in dualism, identity theory and behaviorism. Like functionalism, the E-view rejects neurocentrism. However, E-cognition does so on the basis of a solid conception of mentality as situated embodied engagement. It thereby steers clear of functionalism’s excessively abstract conception of the mental as abstract functional role and shows functionalism’s far reaching claims about the multiple realization of cognition stand in need of justification. Or, we need E-thinking to rectify our views about the ontology of mind, and our views of the history of those views.
- Francesco PARISI
In the cognitive sciences debate, 4E cognition is a label that describes the most recent, body-oriented approaches to cognition. Notoriously, while the first E highlights the role of the body for the making of conscious experience, other E concern the way the environment, as well as things included in it, might play a similar role. While not many people would challenge the embodied turn, the same cannot be said for the other three E. In fact, there is no consensus about which E better describes the way cognition spreads out. Scholars who assume that cognition is Extended, Embedded, or Enacted, seem to be committed to describing cognition as permanently given. In defining the repositioning of the edges of what can be marked as cognitive, supporters of the E-turn adhere to a specific E by adopting a metaphysical assumption, based on philosophical conceptions and background. In this paper, I want to suggest that the choice of the E indicating externalist positions should be flexible and contextual, and not metaphysically provided. More precisely, the choice has to be founded accordingly to the kind of mediation (or material engagement) in which the agent is involved from time to time. Sometimes a pre-given agent is extended through the use of external devices; other times cognition is the result of the ongoing interaction between brain, body, and world where there is not any centre. I want to suggest, then, that we need both extended and enactive approaches, but no more than that.
- Zuzanna RUCINSKA
Virtual reality (VR), engagement with computer-generated virtual environments, has extended to E-sports. A common worry is that in VR environments one lacks a body and deals only with fictional bodies or body-illusions (Chalmers, 2017). The legitimacy of E-sports as genuine sports is also contested as to whether they include 'physical skill' and 'strategic use of the body,' which are deemed necessary for real sports (Jenny, 2017). Interesting problems arise from these virtual environments: are we genuinely (dis)embodied in them? Or are we only partially embodied? And how can we account for feelings of immersion we are experiencing? In this talk I follow the embodied/enactive cognition account to shed a new light on our understanding of VR engagements (Froese 2014), including E-Sports. The talk will reconsider the role of the physical body as necessary for skillful engagement (Dreyfus, 2013) and a 'lived experience' (Hoffding, 2014) and suggest that one can immerse in the virtual environments in a genuinely bodily way. I argue that 1) there can be real phenomenal bodily ownership of a virtual body, 2) even without an avatar, the user's embodiment allows retaining of spatial orientation in the VR, and 3) once VR pictures start to be perceived as persistent and rich sources of affordances, they become objects/tools for engagement and are no longer ‘fictions’. One can genuinely immerse in the VR, as acting on affordances in virtual environments creates real feelings of presence (Grabarczyk & Pokropski, 2016) and artifacts modulate the user's lived experience (Froese et al. 2012).
References: Chalmers, D. J. (2017). The virtual and the real. Disputatio, 9(46), 309-352.
Dreyfus, H.L. (2013) The myth of the pervasiveness of the mental, in Schear, J.K. (ed.) Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World, Oxford: Routledge.
Froese, T., McGann, M., Bigge, W., Spiers, A., & Seth, A. K. (2012). The enactive torch: a new tool for the science of perception. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 5(4), 365-375.
Froese, T. (2014). Bio-machine hybrid technology: A theoretical assessment and some suggestions for improved future design. Philosophy & Technology, 27(4), 539-560
Grabarczyk, P., & Pokropski, M. (2016). Perception of affordances and experience of presence in virtual reality. Avant, 7(2).
Hoffding, S. (2014). What is Skilled Coping?: Experts on Expertise. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21(9-10), 49-73.
Jenny, S. E., Manning, R. D., Keiper, M. C., & Olrich, T. W. (2017). Virtual (ly) athletes: Where eSports fit within the definition of “sport”. Quest, 69(1), 1-18.
- Andrea SCHIAVIO
Learning to play a set of chords on the piano, a solo on the electric guitar, or a groovy rhythmical pattern on the drums, are interesting examples of skill acquisition. These activities involve a close coupling of perception and action, require fluid patterns of bodily adaptation and interaction with physical tools, and are often developed and optimised in social contexts. While a growing number of studies on music-making focuses on action/perception loops occurring at various degrees and timescales, the learners’ capacity to functionally integrate elements of their social and physical environment to achieve a musical task, remains partially unexplored. To address this gap, I will report on a recent behavioural study exploring how well novices can learn from each other during technology-enhanced music-making. Individual post-training performance accuracy of participants involved in joint and solo musical learning (aided by easily-manipulated instructional videos on a computer), was compared across three learning conditions: imitation, synchronisation, and turn-taking. it was found that performances were more accurate when learning was based on synchronisation and turn-taking, compared to imitation. Interestingly, no significant difference was found between solo and joint learning. This suggests that skill acquisition in music benefits from situations where active participation is prioritised, and where learning resources are formed and integrated across biological (i.e., peers) and hybrid (i.e., participants and computer) systems. To conclude, the role of shared learning responsibilities and collaboration will then be discussed in light of existing literature in embodied cognitive science and joint skill acquisition.
- Christian SCHÜTZ
A diagnosis of an addictive disorder according to current standard classification, such as the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder is mainly based on negative consequences. Addicted individuals show an increased attention to the substance of abuse (or a process, such as a gambling) and a retraction from other activities. Changes in behavior have been ascribed to preoccupation, loss of control, and compulsion. The development of diagnostic criteria in the last 100 years has focused on symptoms which are easily and reliably assessable, such as more time spent with substance use associated activities. Psychopathology, an important base for diagnosis in most mental disorders, relies on phenomenological insight. Such phenomenological insight has been quite limited for addictive disorders. The recent focus of research has been on pathophysiological mechanisms of the addicted brain. Findings from pathophysiological concepts of the brain, while quite exciting, have had limited impact on the clinical understanding and approach to addiction. Pathophysiological mechanisms actually seem to have had very limited impact on understanding the addicted mind. Thus, it seems not surprising, that interest in more encompassing paradigms has been increasing. Recently embodied, extended and enactive concepts of addictive processes have been developed. The current status of these initial enactive concepts of addiction will be summarized and scrutinized from a clinical perspective.
- Michal WIERZCHOŃ
- Patrycja BIZOŃ
- Paweł GWIAŹDZIŃSKI
- Katarzyna HAT
- Dominik OZIŃSKI
- Magdalena REUTER
Sensory substitution (SS) occurs when information taken from one sensory modality (e.g. vision) is translated into another one (e.g. audition) thanks to sensory substitution devices (SSDs). SSDs are usually designed to aid visually impaired. Interestingly, they may also be used in experiments with sighted participants when neural or behavioural consequences of SS are investigated. SSDs could be used for multiple purposes, e.g. to recognise objects and its shapes, represent colours or navigate in space. Here, we present results of a longitudinal, 3-months-long study with sighted, blindfolded participants. We have applied a new, visual-to-auditory SSD developed at the NTNU: the Colorophone. The SSD training has been realised by utilizing a newly developed VR-base auditory environment. The progress of training has been examined in the laboratory conditions with a staircased object detection and orientation identification tasks. We have shown that the device, although designed to substitute colour information, enables the recognition of other simple characteristics of visual objects, such as their shape or orientation. Our experiment demonstrates that participants can learn simple visual objects characteristics with SSD. We discuss the phenomenal characteristics of the Colocrophone induced SS as well as the role of the enactive interaction with the environment in SS experience formation. We will also show the initial results of the abovementioned training measured with task-based fMRI with relevant auditory detection task (currently under analysis).