, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 531-541

Computation and Dynamical Models of Mind

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Abstract

Van Gelder (1995) has recently spearheaded a movement to challenge the dominance of connectionist and classicist models in cognitive science. The dynamical conception of cognition is van Gelder's replacement for the computation bound paradigms provided by connectionism and classicism. He relies on the Watt governor to fulfill the role of a dynamicist Turing machine and claims that the Motivational Oscillatory Theory (MOT) provides a sound empirical basis for dynamicism. In other words, the Watt governor is to be the theoretical exemplar of the class of systems necessary for cognition and MOT is an empirical instantiation of that class. However, I shall argue that neither the Watt governor nor MOT successfully fulfill these prescribed roles. This failure, along with van Gelder's peculiar use of the concept of computation and his struggle with representationalism, prevent him from providing a convincing alternative to current cognitive theories.