The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Paper: A Mathematical Model of the Collective Social Organization of Ancient Teotihuacan

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on October 13, 2014

Tom Froese:

Another step in my ongoing efforts to push the enactive approach into the area of social and cultural anthropology…

Originally posted on Dr. Tom Froese:

Ever since I first visited the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan several years ago, I wanted to learn as much as possible about its unique culture. Here is one of the products of that quest: a paper combining complex systems modeling with Mesoamerican archaeology and the anthropology of ritual.

Can government be self-organized? A mathematical model of the collective social organization of ancient Teotihuacan, Central Mexico

Tom Froese, Carlos Gershenson and Linda R. Manzanilla

Teotihuacan was the first urban civilization of Mesoamerica and one of the largest of the ancient world. Following a tradition in archaeology to equate social complexity with centralized hierarchy, it is widely believed that the city’s origin and growth was controlled by a lineage of powerful individuals. However, much data is indicative of a government of co-rulers, and artistic traditions expressed an egalitarian ideology. Yet this alternative keeps being marginalized because the problems of collective action make…

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Interactive development of social awareness

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on September 26, 2014

Tom Froese:

A paper for all the embodied social interaction fans…

Originally posted on Dr. Tom Froese:

A study done with Hiro Iizuka and Takashi Ikegami about the recapitulation of the development of social awareness in pars of adults engaged in minimal embodied interaction.

Using minimal human-computer interfaces for studying the interactive development of social awareness

Tom Froese, Hiroyuki Iizuka, and Takashi Ikegami

According to the enactive approach to cognitive science, perception is essentially a skillful engagement with the world. Learning how to engage via a human-computer interface (HCI) can therefore be taken as an instance of developing a new mode of experiencing. Similarly, social perception is theorized to be primarily constituted by skillful engagement between people, which implies that it is possible to investigate the origins and development of social awareness using multi-user HCIs. We analyzed the trial-by-trial objective and subjective changes in sociality that took place during a perceptual crossing experiment in which embodied interaction between pairs of adults was mediated over a minimalist haptic…

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Self-maintaining Patterns of Behaviour

Posted in Seminars by matthewegbert on August 18, 2014
Hello everyone!
 
I’ve recently published a couple of papers that may be of interest to people in this community.
 
Partially inspired by conversations at the (fantastic) eSMCs summer school, in San Sebastian, 2011, both papers present analysis of a newly developed computational model which is used to investigate how the organisational property of precarious self-maintenance that is typically associated with life could also underlie habits, seen as precarious self-maintaining patterns of sensorimotor behavior.
 
The principle underlying the model is simple; a robot is controlled by a system that reinforces visited sensorimotor trajectories, so that the robot is more likely to later re-enact those sensorimotor trajectories. Like a self-maintaining cell, certain patterns of sensorimotor behavior, habits, can also be precarious; perpetually decaying, yet sometimes counteracting that decay through processes of self-maintenance.
 
The first paper was published about a week ago in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. It presents the latest version of this “habit-based controller” in detail, including (i) how it can be trained to perform certain behaviors (ii) an explanation of what habits are in the model and (iii) a first exploration of what kind of self-maintaining behaviors emerge when the controller is randomly initialized.  This paper was a collaboration with Xabier Barandiaran who, among other contributions, provided a substantial philosophical and historical contextualization of the work.
 
The second paper, presented earlier this month at ALIFE in NYC, uses the same model, but coupled to a robot with a biological essential variable, “blood sugar,” that needs particular forms of behavior to be regulated within viability limits if it is to be considered healthy. Because the habit-based controller can only reinforce/stabilize patterns of behavior that are repeated, when the state of the essential variable is included as an interoceptive sensed variable, behaviors spontaneously emerge that regulate/stabilize the essential variable. This work relates to Ezequiel’s and Hiro’s work on homeostatic robotics, and provides a demonstration of how the essential variables of a habit can be the same as (or at least tightly intertwined with) the essential variables of the biological organism performing the behavior. To pique your interest, here are also a couple of videos of trials from this paper.
 
I am always happy to discuss this work — please give me a shout if you have questions or comments. I hope you get a chance to take a look, and I look forward to our next get-together!
 
All the best,
Matthew

Action, counterfactual action and neurophenomenology

Posted in Seminars by mjsbeaton on August 8, 2014

Paper from last year on action, counterfactual action and neurophenomenology – also with links to direct perception.

May be of interest!

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/8/3/298.beaton

Review of Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on April 21, 2014

Tom Froese:

Here is my review of Hutto and Myin’s radical enactivism…

Originally posted on Dr. Tom Froese:

I was invited to write a review of Hutto and Myin’s Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content for The Journal of Mind and Behavior. You can read my largely positive verdict here:

Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content. Daniel D. Hutto and Erik Myin. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2013, 206 pages, $35.00 hardcover

Tom Froese

Increasing numbers of philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists are jumping on the embodied cognition bandwagon. Accordingly, mind is no longer viewed as locked away in some Platonic realm of pure logic, as the computational theory of mind has traditionally proposed. Instead, mind has become identified with purposeful activity in the world, an activity that is realized by the body, extended by usage of tools, and scaffolded by a sociocultural environment.

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