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Title: A compatibilist computational theory of mind
Author: Vestberg, Marcus Erik
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 8331
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis defends the idea that the mind is essentially computational, a position that has in recent decades come under attack by theories that focus on bodily action and that view the mind as a product of interaction with the world and not as a set of secluded processes in the brain. The most prominent of these is the contemporary criticism coming from enactivism, a theory that argues that cognition is born not from internal processes but from dynamic interactions between brain, body and world. The radical version of enactivism in particular seeks to reject the idea of representational content, a key part in the computational theory of mind. To this end I propose a Compatibilist Computational Theory of Mind. This compatibilist theory incorporates embodied and embedded elements of cognition and also supports a predictive theory of perception, while maintaining the core beliefs pertaining to brain-centric computationalism: That our cognition takes place in our brain, not in bonds between brain and world, and that cognition involves manipulation of mental representational content. While maintaining the position that a computational theory of mind is the best model we have for understanding how the mind works, this thesis also reviews the various flaws and problems that the position has had since its inception. Seeking to overcome these problems, as well as showing that computationalism is still perfectly compatible with contemporary action and prediction-based research in cognitive science, the thesis argues that by revising the theory in such a way that it can incorporate these new elements of cognition we arrive at a theory that is much stronger and more versatile than contemporary non-computational alternatives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral