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  1. Introduction: Searching for the Natural Origins of Content: Challenging Research Project or Benighted Quest?Daniel D. Hutto & Glenda Satne - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):505-519.
    This paper introduces this special issue which is focused on its target paper - The Natural Origins of Content. The target paper has had a robust and considered set of fifteen replies; a literal A to Z of papers. This extended introduction explains the background thinking and challenges that motivated the target article's proposed research programme. It also provides a sneak peak preview and navigational aid to the special issue’s contents. Brief highlights of each commentary are provided and they are (...)
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  • Radicalizing Numerical Cognition.Karim Zahidi - 2020 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):529-545.
    In recent decades, non-representational approaches to mental phenomena and cognition have been gaining traction in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. In these alternative approach, mental representations either lose their central status or, in its most radical form, are banned completely. While there is growing agreement that non-representational accounts may succeed in explaining some cognitive capacities, there is widespread skepticism about the possibility of giving non-representational accounts of cognitive capacities such as memory, imagination or abstract thought. In this paper, I (...)
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  • The Enculturated Move From Proto-Arithmetic to Arithmetic.Markus Pantsar - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
    The basic human ability to treat quantitative information can be divided into two parts. With proto-arithmetical ability, based on the core cognitive abilities for subitizing and estimation, numerosities can be treated in a limited and/or approximate manner. With arithmetical ability, numerosities are processed (counted, operated on) systematically in a discrete, linear, and unbounded manner. In this paper, I study the theory of enculturation as presented by Menary (2015) as a possible explanation of how we make the move from the proto-arithmetical (...)
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  • Early Numerical Cognition and Mathematical Processes.Markus Pantsar - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (2):285-304.
    In this paper I study the development of arithmetical cognition with the focus on metaphorical thinking. In an approach developing on Lakoff and Núñez, I propose one particular conceptual metaphor, the Process → Object Metaphor, as a key element in understanding the development of mathematical thinking.
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  • Cognitive Innovation, Cumulative Cultural Evolution, and Enculturation.Regina E. Fabry - 2017 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 17 (5):375-395.
    Cognitive innovation has shaped and transformed our cognitive capacities throughout history. Until recently, cognitive innovation has not received much attention by empirical and conceptual research in the cognitive sciences. This paper is a first attempt to help close this gap. It will be argued that cognitive innovation is best understood in connection with cumulative cultural evolution and enculturation. Cumulative cultural evolution plays a vital role for the inter-generational transmission of the products of cognitive innovation. Furthermore, there are at least two (...)
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  • Mathematics Embodied: Merleau-Ponty on Geometry and Algebra as Fields of Motor Enaction.Jan Halák - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper aims to clarify Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to an embodied-enactive account of mathematical cognition. I first identify the main points of interest in the current discussions of embodied higher cognition and explain how they relate to Merleau-Ponty and his sources, in particular Husserl’s late works. Subsequently, I explain these convergences in greater detail by more specifically discussing the domains of geometry and algebra and by clarifying the role of gestalt psychology in Merleau-Ponty’s account. Beyond that, I explain how, for Merleau-Ponty, (...)
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  • Enculturation and the Historical Origins of Number Words and Concepts.César Frederico dos Santos - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9257-9287.
    In the literature on enculturation—the thesis according to which higher cognitive capacities result from transformations in the brain driven by culture—numerical cognition is often cited as an example. A consequence of the enculturation account for numerical cognition is that individuals cannot acquire numerical competence if a symbolic system for numbers is not available in their cultural environment. This poses a problem for the explanation of the historical origins of numerical concepts and symbols. When a numeral system had not been created (...)
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  • Bootstrapping of Integer Concepts: The Stronger Deviant-Interpretation Challenge.Markus Pantsar - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5791-5814.
    Beck presents an outline of the procedure of bootstrapping of integer concepts, with the purpose of explicating the account of Carey. According to that theory, integer concepts are acquired through a process of inductive and analogous reasoning based on the object tracking system, which allows individuating objects in a parallel fashion. Discussing the bootstrapping theory, Beck dismisses what he calls the "deviant-interpretation challenge"—the possibility that the bootstrapped integer sequence does not follow a linear progression after some point—as being general to (...)
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  • Mathematical Cognition and Enculturation: Introduction to the Synthese Special Issue.Markus Pantsar - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3647-3655.
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  • Cognitive Structuralism: Explaining the Regularity of the Natural Numbers Progression.Paula Quinon - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-23.
    According to one of the most powerful paradigms explaining the meaning of the concept of natural number, natural numbers get a large part of their conceptual content from core cognitive abilities. Carey’s bootstrapping provides a model of the role of core cognition in the creation of mature mathematical concepts. In this paper, I conduct conceptual analyses of various theories within this paradigm, concluding that the theories based on the ability to subitize, or on the ability to approximate quantities, or both, (...)
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  • Argumentation Evolved: But How? Coevolution of Coordinated Group Behavior and Reasoning.Fabian Seitz - 2020 - Argumentation 34 (2):237-260.
    Rational agency is of central interest to philosophy, with evolutionary accounts of the cognitive underpinnings of rational agency being much debated. Yet one building block—our ability to argue—is less studied, except Mercier and Sperber’s argumentative theory :57–74, https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x10000968, 2011, in The enigma of reason. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2017). I discuss their account and argue that it faces a lacuna: It cannot explain the origin of argumentation as a series of small steps that reveal how hominins with baseline abilities of (...)
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  • Cognitive and Computational Complexity: Considerations from Mathematical Problem Solving.Markus Pantsar - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (4):961-997.
    Following Marr’s famous three-level distinction between explanations in cognitive science, it is often accepted that focus on modeling cognitive tasks should be on the computational level rather than the algorithmic level. When it comes to mathematical problem solving, this approach suggests that the complexity of the task of solving a problem can be characterized by the computational complexity of that problem. In this paper, I argue that human cognizers use heuristic and didactic tools and thus engage in cognitive processes that (...)
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  • A Fresh Look at Research Strategies in Computational Cognitive Science: The Case of Enculturated Mathematical Problem Solving.Regina E. Fabry & Markus Pantsar - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3221-3263.
    Marr’s seminal distinction between computational, algorithmic, and implementational levels of analysis has inspired research in cognitive science for more than 30 years. According to a widely-used paradigm, the modelling of cognitive processes should mainly operate on the computational level and be targeted at the idealised competence, rather than the actual performance of cognisers in a specific domain. In this paper, we explore how this paradigm can be adopted and revised to understand mathematical problem solving. The computational-level approach applies methods from (...)
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  • The cerebral, extra-cerebral bodily, and socio-cultural dimensions of enculturated arithmetical cognition.Regina E. Fabry - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3685-3720.
    Arithmetical cognition is the result of enculturation. On a personal level of analysis, enculturation is a process of structured cultural learning that leads to the acquisition of evolutionarily recent, socio-culturally shaped arithmetical practices. On a sub-personal level, enculturation is realized by learning driven plasticity and learning driven bodily adaptability, which leads to the emergence of new neural circuitry and bodily action patterns. While learning driven plasticity in the case of arithmetical practices is not consistent with modularist theories of mental architecture, (...)
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  • Cognitive Artifacts for Geometric Reasoning.Mateusz Hohol & Marcin Miłkowski - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (4):657-680.
    In this paper, we focus on the development of geometric cognition. We argue that to understand how geometric cognition has been constituted, one must appreciate not only individual cognitive factors, such as phylogenetically ancient and ontogenetically early core cognitive systems, but also the social history of the spread and use of cognitive artifacts. In particular, we show that the development of Greek mathematics, enshrined in Euclid’s Elements, was driven by the use of two tightly intertwined cognitive artifacts: the use of (...)
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  • How numerals support new cognitive capacities.Stefan Buijsman - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3779-3796.
    Mathematical cognition has become an interesting case study for wider theories of cognition. Menary :1–20, 2015) argues that arithmetical cognition not only shows that internalist theories of cognition are wrong, but that it also shows that the Hypothesis of Extended Cognition is right. I examine this argument in more detail, to see if arithmetical cognition can support such conclusions. Specifically, I look at how the use of numerals extends our arithmetical abilities from quantity-related innate systems to systems that can deal (...)
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  • Epistemic injustice in mathematics.Colin Jakob Rittberg, Fenner Stanley Tanswell & Jean Paul Van Bendegem - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3875-3904.
    We investigate how epistemic injustice can manifest itself in mathematical practices. We do this as both a social epistemological and virtue-theoretic investigation of mathematical practices. We delineate the concept both positively—we show that a certain type of folk theorem can be a source of epistemic injustice in mathematics—and negatively by exploring cases where the obstacles to participation in a mathematical practice do not amount to epistemic injustice. Having explored what epistemic injustice in mathematics can amount to, we use the concept (...)
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  • Betwixt and Between: The Enculturated Predictive Processing Approach to Cognition.Regina E. Fabry - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2483-2518.
    Many of our cognitive capacities are the result of enculturation. Enculturation is the temporally extended transformative acquisition of cognitive practices in the cognitive niche. Cognitive practices are embodied and normatively constrained ways to interact with epistemic resources in the cognitive niche in order to complete a cognitive task. The emerging predictive processing perspective offers new functional principles and conceptual tools to account for the cerebral and extra-cerebral bodily components that give rise to cognitive practices. According to this emerging perspective, many (...)
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  • The Challenge of Modeling the Acquisition of Mathematical Concepts.Alberto Testolin - 2020 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 14.
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  • Every Step You Take, We’Ll Be Watching You: Nudging and the Ramifications of GPS Technology.William Hebblewhite & Alexander James Gillett - 2020 - AI and Society.
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  • Descriptive Complexity, Computational Tractability, and the Logical and Cognitive Foundations of Mathematics.Markus Pantsar - 2021 - Minds and Machines 31 (1):75-98.
    In computational complexity theory, decision problems are divided into complexity classes based on the amount of computational resources it takes for algorithms to solve them. In theoretical computer science, it is commonly accepted that only functions for solving problems in the complexity class P, solvable by a deterministic Turing machine in polynomial time, are considered to be tractable. In cognitive science and philosophy, this tractability result has been used to argue that only functions in P can feasibly work as computational (...)
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  • Development, Resilience Engineering, Degeneracy, and Cognitive Practices.Alexander James Gillett - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-20.
    Drawing on a range of literature, I introduce two new concepts for understanding and exploring distributed cognition: resilience engineering and degeneracy. By re-examining Ed Hutchins’ ethnographic study of the navigation team I show how a focus on the developmental acquisition of cognitive practices can draw out several crucial insights that have been overlooked. Firstly, that the way in which agents learn and acquire cognitive practices enables a form of resilience engineering: the process by which the system is able to overcome (...)
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  • Extended Mathematical Cognition: External Representations with Non-Derived Content.Karina Vold & Dirk Schlimm - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3757-3777.
    Vehicle externalism maintains that the vehicles of our mental representations can be located outside of the head, that is, they need not be instantiated by neurons located inside the brain of the cogniser. But some disagree, insisting that ‘non-derived’, or ‘original’, content is the mark of the cognitive and that only biologically instantiated representational vehicles can have non-derived content, while the contents of all extra-neural representational vehicles are derived and thus lie outside the scope of the cognitive. In this paper (...)
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  • What’s new: innovation and enculturation of arithmetical practices.Jean-Charles Pelland - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3797-3822.
    One of the most important questions in the young field of numerical cognition studies is how humans bridge the gap between the quantity-related content produced by our evolutionarily ancient brains and the precise numerical content associated with numeration systems like Indo-Arabic numerals. This gap problem is the main focus of this paper. The aim here is to evaluate the extent to which cultural factors can help explain how we come to think about numbers beyond the subitizing range. To do this, (...)
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  • Re-Doing the Math: Making Enactivism Add Up.Daniel Hutto - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):827-837.
    Mathematical cognition is widely regarded as the epitome of the kind of cognition that systematically eludes enactivist treatment. It is the parade example of abstract, disembodied cognition if ever there was one. As it is such an important test case, this paper focuses squarely on what Gallagher has to say about mathematical cognition in Enactivist Interventions. Gallagher explores a number of possible theories that he holds could provide useful fodder for developing an adequate enactivist account of mathematical cognition. Yet if (...)
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  • Why ‘Scaffolding’ is the Wrong Metaphor: The Cognitive Usefulness of Mathematical Representations.Brendan Larvor - 2018 - Synthese:1-14.
    The metaphor of scaffolding has become current in discussions of the cognitive help we get from artefacts, environmental affordances and each other. Consideration of mathematical tools and representations indicates that in these cases at least, scaffolding is the wrong picture, because scaffolding in good order is immobile, temporary and crude. Mathematical representations can be manipulated, are not temporary structures to aid development, and are refined. Reflection on examples from elementary algebra indicates that Menary is on the right track with his (...)
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  • Getting Into Predictive Processing’s Great Guessing Game: Bootstrap Heaven or Hell?Daniel Hutto - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2445-2458.
    Predictive Processing accounts of Cognition, PPC, promise to forge productive alliances that will unite approaches that are otherwise at odds. Can it? This paper argues that it can’t—or at least not so long as it sticks with the cognitivist rendering that Clark and others favor. In making this case the argument of this paper unfolds as follows: Sect. 1 describes the basics of PPC—its attachment to the idea that we perceive the world by guessing the world. It then details the (...)
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  • A Mind Selected by Needs: Explaining Logical Animals by Evolution.Fabian Seitz - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (4):579-597.
    Explaining humans as rational creatures—capable of deductive reasoning—remains challenging for evolutionary naturalism. Schechter 437–464, 2011, 2013) proposes to link the evolution of this kind of reasoning with the ability to plan. His proposal, however, does neither include any elaborated theory on how logical abilities came into being within the hominin lineage nor is it sufficiently supported by empirical evidence. I present such a theory in broad outline and substantiate it with archeological findings. It is argued that the cognitive makeup of (...)
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  • Limiting the explanatory scope of extended active inference: the implications of a causal pattern analysis of selective niche construction, developmental niche construction, and organism-niche coordination dynamics.Regina E. Fabry - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-26.
    Research in evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology and cognition strongly suggests that human organisms modify their environment through active processes of niche construction. Recently, proponents of the free-energy principle and variational active inference have argued that their approach can deepen our understanding of the reciprocal causal relationship between organisms and their niche on various scales. This paper examines the feasibility and scope of variational formalisations and conceptualisations of the organism-niche nexus with a particular focus on the extended active inference (...)
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  • From Wide Cognition to Mechanisms: A Silent Revolution.Marcin Miłkowski, Robert Clowes, Zuzanna Rucińska, Aleksandra Przegalińska, Tadeusz Zawidzki, Joel Krueger, Adam Gies, Marek McGann, Łukasz Afeltowicz, Witold Wachowski, Fredrik Stjernberg, Victor Loughlin & Mateusz Hohol - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    In this paper, we argue that several recent ‘wide’ perspectives on cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, enactive, and distributed) are only partially relevant to the study of cognition. While these wide accounts override traditional methodological individualism, the study of cognition has already progressed beyond these proposed perspectives towards building integrated explanations of the mechanisms involved, including not only internal submechanisms but also interactions with others, groups, cognitive artifacts, and their environment. The claim is substantiated with reference to recent developments in the (...)
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  • Reconsidering the Mind-Wandering Reader: Predictive Processing, Probability Designs, and Enculturation.Regina E. Fabry & Karin Kukkonen - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Spontaneous Cognition and Epistemic Agency in the Cognitive Niche.Regina E. Fabry - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Material Representations in Mathematical Research Practice.Mikkel W. Johansen & Morten Misfeldt - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3721-3741.
    Mathematicians’ use of external representations, such as symbols and diagrams, constitutes an important focal point in current philosophical attempts to understand mathematical practice. In this paper, we add to this understanding by presenting and analyzing how research mathematicians use and interact with external representations. The empirical basis of the article consists of a qualitative interview study we conducted with active research mathematicians. In our analysis of the empirical material, we primarily used the empirically based frameworks provided by distributed cognition and (...)
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  • Numerals and Neural Reuse.Max Jones - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3657-3681.
    Menary OpenMIND, MIND Group, Frankfurt am Main, 2015) has argued that the development of our capacities for mathematical cognition can be explained in terms of enculturation. Our ancient systems for perceptually estimating numerical quantities are augmented and transformed by interacting with a culturally-enriched environment that provides scaffolds for the acquisition of cognitive practices, leading to the development of a discrete number system for representing number precisely. Numerals and the practices associated with numeral systems play a significant role in this process. (...)
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  • Why ‘Scaffolding’ is the Wrong Metaphor: The Cognitive Usefulness of Mathematical Representations.Brendan Larvor - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3743-3756.
    The metaphor of scaffolding has become current in discussions of the cognitive help we get from artefacts, environmental affordances and each other. Consideration of mathematical tools and representations indicates that in these cases at least, scaffolding is the wrong picture, because scaffolding in good order is immobile, temporary and crude. Mathematical representations can be manipulated, are not temporary structures to aid development, and are refined. Reflection on examples from elementary algebra indicates that Menary is on the right track with his (...)
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  • REC: Revolution Effected by Clarification.Daniel D. Hutto - 2017 - Topoi 36 (3):377-391.
    This paper shows how a radical approach to enactivism provides a way of clarifying and unifying different varieties of enactivism and enactivist-friendly approaches so as to provide a genuine alternative to classical cognitivism. Section 1 reminds readers of the broad church character of the enactivism framework. Section 2 explicates how radical enactivism is best understood not as a kind of enactivism per se but as a programme for radicalizing and consolidating the many different enactivist offerings. The main work of radical (...)
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  • Transcending the Evidentiary Boundary: Prediction Error Minimization, Embodied Interaction, and Explanatory Pluralism.Regina E. Fabry - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (4):395-414.
    In a recent paper, Jakob Hohwy argues that the emerging predictive processing perspective on cognition requires us to explain cognitive functioning in purely internalistic and neurocentric terms. The purpose of the present paper is to challenge the view that PP entails a wholesale rejection of positions that are interested in the embodied, embedded, extended, or enactive dimensions of cognitive processes. I will argue that Hohwy’s argument from analogy, which forces an evidentiary boundary into the picture, lacks the argumentative resources to (...)
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