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How to stop thinking : a massively modular response to the frame problem

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How to stop thinking : a massively modular response to the frame problem

Stephens, Robert (2008) How to stop thinking : a massively modular response to the frame problem. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

We commonly turn to the metaphor of the mind as a sort of computer, yet we are incapable of programming a computer to perform even the simplest cognitive tasks that humanity is capable of, and this stark failure speaks to the centrality of the problem of framing. This 'frame problem' is one of determining relevance--of limiting thought regarding an impending action to that (and only that) which falls within the context at hand--in such a way that computationally tractable thought processing can take place. The simple fact is that we do, in fact, do this in day to day cognition, ubiquitously and quite efficiently. Yet it is not at all clear how we manage to do it without entailing a constant and nearly infinite revision of the entire epistemic background, resulting in combinatorial explosion. It is a question of how to stop thinking. This thesis endeavours to obviate the frame problem with a massively modular model of cognition based largely on the work of Peter Carruthers in his 2006 book The Architecture of the Mind. Where Carruthers' argument is vulnerable, other recent work in psycholinguistics is offered in defense and, ultimately, an account is presented explaining how we frame cognitive tasks in such as way as to adequately account for the inferential and holistic reasoning abilities we take for granted while still maintaining a materialist model that is neither strained by computational intractability, nor necessitates a central executive control mechanism, or 'ghost in the machine.'

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Stephens, Robert
Pagination:iv, 97 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Clarke, M
ID Code:975984
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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