EPISTEME at Cambridge University Press
EPISTEME @ Facebook
The formation, acquisition, mediation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge in complex communities of knowers.
Alvin I. Goldman
Melissa A. Koenig and Paul L. Harris
Here is a skeptical take on the insights supposedly offered by the rise of behavioral economics as represented by Daniel Kahneman and others. Since I’m in the process of reviewing Kahneman it will be interesting to see if Levine’s take on behavioral economics jibes with my take on Kahneman in particular and behavioral economics in general – I have a strong sense that is unlikely to be the case.
July 29, 2012 0 Comments Short URL Behavioral economics, Daniel Kahneman, Economics, Game Theory, Kahneman, Social science behavioral economics, bounded rationality, cognition, cognitive systems, complexity, computational psychology, david levine, neuroeconomics, neuromania, neurophilosophy, neuroscience, philosophy of mind, philosophy of social science, rationality, situated cognition, social cognition, social connectionism, social epistemology, social ontology, social psychology
Well, this article was inevitable - first mentioned here). Francis Heylighen has been talking about this for a few years now as has myself in discussing Hayek, distributed cognition and co-evolved mind and sociality not to mention my ongoing interest in stigmergy which I argue is a species of EM.
Abstract: This article explores the notion of the Web-extended mind, which is the idea that the technological and informational elements of the Web can sometimes serve as part of the mechanistic substrate that realizes human mental states and processes. It is argued that while current forms of the Web may not be particularly suited to the realization of Web-extended minds, new forms of user interaction technology as well as new approaches to information representation do provide promising new opportunities for Web-based forms of cognitive extension. In addition, it is suggested that extended cognitive systems often rely on the emergence of social practices and conventions that shape how a technology is used. Web-extended minds may thus depend on forms of socio-technical co-evolution in which social forces and factors play just as important a role as do the processes of technology design and development.
Keywords: cognition, cognitive extension, cognitive technology, extended mind, Internet, linked data, Web science, World Wide Web.
July 17, 2012 0 Comments Short URL Andy Clark, Cognition, Cognitive science, complexity, Extended Mind, Externalism, Francis Heylighen, Friedrich Hayek, Mind, Stigmergy complexity, distributed cognition, distributed knowledge, global brain, network theory, networks, neural networks, social connectionism, social epistemology, sociocognition, spontaneous orders, stigmergic, stigmergic cognition, stigmergy
I see that the publisher now has a fully detailed page up for a volume that I’ve been privileged to be a part of. The Foreword is by a very nice chappie going by the name of V.Smith and includes luminaries such as McCloskey, Boettke, Gintis, Steel and others. My abstract:
Mindscapes and Landscapes: Hayek and Simon on Cognitive Extension
Hayek’s and Simon’s social externalism runs on a shared presupposition: mind is constrained in its computational capacity to detect, harvest, and assimilate “data” generated by the infinitely fine-grained and perpetually dynamic characteristic of experience in complex social environments. For Hayek, mind and sociality are co-evolved spontaneous orders, allowing little or no prospect of comprehensive explanation, trapped in a hermeneutically sealed, i.e. inescapably context bound, eco-system. For Simon, it is the simplicity of mind that is the bottleneck, overwhelmed by the ambient complexity of the environmental. Since on Simon’s account complexity is unidirectional, Simon is far more ebullient about the prospects of explanation. Hayek’s social externalism functions as a kind of distributed “extra-neural” memory store manifest as dynamic spontaneous orders. Simon’s organizational rule-governed externalism negotiates the “inner” world (the mind) with the “outer” world through a homeostatic interface that offloads the cognitive burden into the environment. Their respective externalisms may differ in detail but not in spirit in that it ameliorates their shared presupposition of cognitive constraint. Even though any “optimization talk” for Hayek and Simon is objectionable, knowledge acquisition can be represented by a contextualized stigmergic swarm optimization algorithm that gives due emphasis to both the individual and the environment. The key insight is that “perfect” knowledge is unnecessary, impracticable and indeed irrelevant if one understands the mechanism at work in complex sociality, a stigmergic sociality that in effect augments or scaffolds cognition.
July 11, 2012 0 Comments Short URL Austrian School, Bounded Rationality, Cognition, Cognitive science, Colin McGinn, complexity, Economics, Extended Mind, Friedrich Hayek, Hayek, Herbert Simon, Philosophy of mind, social epistemology, Social science, Spontaneous order behavioral economics, bounded rationality, cognitive closure, Deirdre McCloskey, extended cognitive systems, extended mind, externalism, hayek, herb gintis, Pete Boettke, self organizing systems, self-referentiality, situated cognition, social cognition, social connectionism, social epistemology, social ontology, social psychology, spontaneous order, spontaneous orders, stigmergic, stigmergic cognition, stigmergy, vernon smith
My chum David Emanuel Andersson has just had this edited collection published. Here is an excerpt from his intro:
In what is perhaps the best-known article in the history of the Austrian school, Friedrich Hayek (1945) asserts that market prices distill and thus reflect the unique local knowledge of a multitude of individuals, each of whom resides and works in a particular place. Because only an autonomously acting individual can take advantage of her unique creativity, skills, and personal connections to others, centralization of economic decisionmaking guarantees that much useful local knowledge is irretrievably lost. It is impossible to communicate the totality of all local entrepreneurial ideas and tacit knowledge to a small group of top-down planners; their cognitive limitations guarantee substandard economic performance (Hayek, 1952). We should therefore not be surprised that it is valuable to possess ‘‘knowledge of people, of local conditions, and special circumstances’’ (Hayek, 1945, p. 522). Given the great number of citations to Hayek (1945) in the general economics literature, it would require no great stretch of the imagination to imagine that Hayek – and by extension the Austrian school – had set in motion a way of theorizing about economic phenomena that later gave rise to theories about knowledge spillovers, urbanization economies, and local social networks. But this was not to be. There are virtually no references to Hayek or any other Austrian economist in the spatial economics literature prior to the year 2000. The lack of interest in Austrian economics among spatial economists was reciprocated by a similar lack of interest in spatial economics among self-professed Austrians. To my knowledge, Pierre Desrochers (1998) wrote the first explicitly Austrian contribution that deals exclusively with spatial economic phenomena. In spite of this historical disconnect, Austrian ideas have entered the spatial economics, economic geography, and urban planning literatures because of the close parallels between the influential ideas of the urbanist Jane Jacobs and Austrian market process theory. While Jacobs (1961) does not refer to Hayek or any other Austrian, her Death and Life of Great American Cities at times reads like an Austrian theory of urban planning: [N]obody, including the planning commission, is capable of comprehending places within the city other than in either generalized or fragmented fashion. They do not even have the means of gathering and comprehending the intimate, many-sided information required, partly because of their own unsuitable structural inadequacies in other departments. Here is an interesting thing about coordination both of information and of action in cities, and it is the crux of the matter: The principal coordination needed comes down to coordination among different services within localized places. This is at once the most difficult kind of coordination, and the most necessary. (Jacobs, 1961, quoted in Ikeda, 2006, p. 22) With her emphases on (implicit) methodological individualism, the importance of local knowledge, and complex evolving orders, Jacobs provides a rich source of insights for those who wish to combine Austrian economic theory with a dynamic approach to agglomeration economies. Such a dynamic approach focuses on entrepreneurial processes rather than on idealized equilibrium states. Unsurprisingly, both Hayek and Jacobs figure prominently in this volume. But they are far from the only influences. This book is a collection of 13 essays that address spatial aspects of the market process from refreshingly diverse approaches. They range from the extension of Austrian theory to spatial phenomena over hybrid combinations of ideas from distinct traditions to state-of-the-art spatial models that integrate Austrian concepts such as ‘‘roundaboutness’’ or entrepreneurial innovation.
June 22, 2012 0 Comments Short URL Austrian School, Friedrich Hayek, Hayek, Jane Jacobs, Social Sciences complex adaptive systems, complexity, David Emanuel Andersson, distributed cognition, distributed knowledge, individualism, liberalism, philosophy of economics, philosophy of social science, social epistemology, spatial economics, spontaneous orders
The publisher has now put up a webpage for this volume.
June 14, 2012 0 Comments Short URL Austrian School, Cognition, Deirdre McCloskey, Economics, Epistemology, Friedrich Hayek, Herbert Gintis, Herbert Simon, Peter Boettke behavioral economics, complexity, distributed cognition, distributed knowledge, extended mind, externalism, social epistemology, spontaneous orders, stigmergic, stigmergic cognition, stigmergy
A recent paper from Journal of the Philosophy of History.
June 12, 2012 0 Comments Short URL complexity, Social Sciences, Extended Mind, Philosophy, Michael Oakeshott, Epistemology, Spontaneous order, Philosophy of history, Alasdair MacIntyre, Hannah Arendt, Tradition social epistemology, sociocognition, social identity, sociology
At last PSUP have published the contents.
June 10, 2012 0 Comments Short URL Conversation, Michael Oakeshott, Noel Malcolm, Oakeshott, Paul Franco, Philosophy, Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes companion to michael oakeshott, companion to oakeshott, corey abel, david boucher, elizabeth corey, geoffrey thomas, kenneth mcintyre, kenneth minogue, martyn thompson, Noël Malcolm, Noël O’Sullivan, philosophical jurisprudence, philosophy of education, philosophy of history, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of social science, rationalism in politics, Robert Devigne, robert grant, situated cognition, social cognition, social epistemology, social identity, Steven Gerencser, timothy fuller
Yet another strong Wiley title. David Coady also did a fine job of guest editing EPISTEME for a themed issue on Conspiracy Theories (aside from Harry Frankfurt’s little book where else would a title in mainstream academia have the word “shit” so prominent – see Pete Mandik’s paper).
June 6, 2012 0 Comments Short URL David Hume, EPISTEME, Epistemology, Jason Stanley, Knowledge, Knowledge Management, social epistemology conspiracy theories, David Coady, episteme, epistemology, evidence, expertise, pete mandik, social epistemology, testimony, Wikipedia