The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Postdoctoral fellowships in interdisciplinary research relating to origins of life

Posted in Seminars by Nathaniel Virgo on June 15, 2015

Some life-and-minders might be interested in the following opportunities at ELSI in Tokyo. They are for research relating to origins of life, but all approaches are welcome and I know there are some readers of this blog whose research is very relevant.

The ELSI Origins Network (EON) announces the availability of post-doctoral research fellowships for research related to the Origins of Life. Ten two-year positions will be funded, to take place within the period 2016-2018.

Successful candidates will split their time between the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Tokyo and another institution of the candidate’s choice, anywhere in the world. The fellowship will pay a salary for two years, which covers the time spent at both locations, as well as a generous research budget. The positions will start on or before 1st April 2016.


Five postdoctoral fellowships in complex systems

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on June 3, 2015

There are five postdoctoral fellowships in complex systems available at the Center for the Sciences of Complexity in Mexico City. Topics could be related to artificial life and cognitive science. More information

Reports for the eSMCs project

Posted in Seminars by Ezequiel on April 20, 2015

The project eSMCs: Extending SensoriMotor Contingencies to Cognition (1/2011-12/2014, EU FP7-ICT-2009-6 no: 270212) has recently come to an end. You can find more information on the project website. Here I include the reports delivered by our research team. They summarize what was work-in-progress at the time of writing, most of which was later published. But also some bits that have not yet been published.

Barandiaran, X., Buhrmann, T. and Di Paolo, E. (2012). Deliverable D1.1: Interim report on eSMCs and embodiment.

Barandiaran, X., Beaton, M., Buhrmann, T. and Di Paolo, E. (2013). Deliverable D1.2: eSMCs and Embodied Cognition.

Beaton, M., Barandiaran, X., Buhrmann, T. and Di Paolo, E. (2014). Deliverable D1.5: Cognitive organisation for sustaining eSMCs.

Buhrmann, T., Di Paolo, E., Barandiaran, X., De Jaegher, H. (2015). Deliverable D1.6: Agency and eSMCs.

Beaton, M. and Di Paolo, E. (2015). Deliverable D1.7 Virtual Actions and eSMCs.

CFP: Interactivist Summer Institute 2015

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on March 16, 2015

Interactivist Summer Institute 2015

June 20 – 23, 2015

Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

The Interactivist Summer Institute is dedicated to exploring the frontiers of understanding of life, mind, and cognition. There is a growing recognition – across many disciplines – that phenomena of life and mind, including cognition and representation, are emergents of far-from-equilibrium, interactive, autonomous systems. In such a view, mind and biology, mind and agent, are re-united. The classical treatment of cognition and representation within a formalist framework of encodingist assumptions is increasingly recognized as a fruitless maze of blind alleys. From neurobiology to robotics, from cognitive science to philosophy of mind and language, dynamic and interactive alternatives are being explored. Dynamic systems approaches, enactivist and autonomous agent research join in the effort.

The interactivist model offers a theoretical approach to matters of life and mind, ranging from evolutionary- and neuro-biology (including the emergence of biological function) through representation, perception, motivation, memory, learning and development, emotions, consciousness, language, action theory, rationality, sociality, personality and psychopathology, and ethics. This work has developed interfaces with studies of central nervous system functioning, the ontology of process, autonomous agents, philosophy of science, and all areas of psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science that address the person.

The conference will involve both tutorials addressing central parts and aspects of the interactive model, and papers addressing current work of relevance to this general approach. This will be our eighth Summer Institute:

  • Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 2001
  • IT University, Copenhagen, Denmark 2003
  • Clemson University, South Carolina 2005
  • The American University in Paris, Paris 200
  • Simon Fraser University, Vancouver 2009
  • University of the Aegean, Syros, Greece 2011
  • University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Fl 2013

The Summer Institute is a biennial meeting where those sharing the core interests and ideas of interactivism will meet and discuss their work, try to reconstruct its historical roots, put forward current research in different fields that fits the interactivist framework, and define research topics for prospective graduate students. People working in philosophy of mind, linguistics, social sciences, artificial intelligence, cognitive robotics, theoretical biology, and other fields related to the sciences of mind are invited to send their paper submission or statement of interest for participation to the organizers.

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

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on October 13, 2014

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

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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