Functorial Semantics for the Advancement of the Science of Cognition

Mind and Matter 15 (2):161-184 (2017)
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Cognition involves physical stimulation, neural coding, mental conception, and conscious perception. Beyond the neural coding of physical stimuli, it is not clear how exactly these component processes constitute cognition. Within mathematical sciences, category theory provides tools such as category, functor, and adjointness, which are indispensable in the explication of the mathematical calculations involved in acquiring mathematical knowledge. More speci cally, functorial semantics, in showing that theories and models can be construed as categories and functors, respectively, and in establishing the adjointness between abstraction (of theories) and interpretation (to obtain models), mathematically accounts for knowing-within-mathematics. Here we show that mathematical knowing recapitulates--in an elementary form--ordinary cognition. The process of going from particulars (physical stimuli) to their concrete models (conscious percepts) via abstract theories (mental concepts) and measured properties (neural coding) is common to both mathematical knowing and ordinary cognition. Our investigation of the similarity between knowing-within-mathematics and knowing-in-general leads us to make a case for the development of the basic science of cognition in terms of the functorial semantics of mathematical knowing.
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