Out soon: »Likeness-Making and the Evolution of Cognition« in Biology & Philosophy

Hajo Greif (forthcoming). Likeness-Making and the Evolution of Cognition. Biology & Philosophy (manuscript accepted for publication, preprint available at PhilSci Archive).

Abstract: Paleontological evidence suggests that human artefacts with intentional markings might have originated already in the Lower Paleolithic, up to 500.000 years ago and well before the advent of ‘behavioural modernity’. These markings apparently did not serve instrumental, tool-like functions, nor do they appear to be forms of figurative art. Instead, they display abstract geometric patterns that potentially testify to an emerging ability of symbol use. In a variation on Ian Hacking’s speculative account of the possible role of “likeness-making” in the evolution of human cognition and language, this essay explores the central role that the embodied processes of making and the collective practices of using such artefacts might have played in early human cognitive evolution. Two paradigmatic findings of Lower Paleolithic artefacts are discussed as tentative evidence of likenesses acting as material scaffolds in the emergence of symbolic reference-making. They might provide the link between basic abilities of mimesis and imitation and the development of modern language and thought.

Acknowledgements: The foundations for this work were laid in my Austrian Science Fund (FWF) grant J3448-G15. A very early version of this paper was presented at the 3rd International Avant-Conference 2017 in Lublin, Poland. I thank the organiser, Marcin Trybulec, for encouragement back then, and Peter Gärdenfors and Anton Killin for helpful comments and suggestions later on.

Out now: »Adaptation and its Analogues« in SHPS

Hajo Greif (2021). Adaptation and its Analogues: Biological Categories for Biosemantics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 90 (2021): 298–307. Open Access. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2021.

Acknowledegements: This article started as an improvised contribution to the ‘The Future of Teleosemantics’ conference in Bielefeld, Germany, in 2018. I thank the organisers, especially Peter Schulte, for providing the opportunity to present my first ideas – which matured with the help of the critical comments from the participants, especially Ruth Millikan, and two anonymous reviewers.

Out now: »Exploring Minds« in Perspectives on Science

Hajo Greif (2021): “Exploring minds: Modes of modelling and simulation in Artificial Intelligence”. Perspectives on Science 29, 4: 409–435. Special Issue on Exploratory Models and Exploratory Modelling in Science, Guest Editors: Axel Gelfert, Grant Fisher, Friedrich Steinle. doi:10.1162/posc_a_00377.

This paper has been three years in the making, but its final, authoritative version has now seen its published form.

A self-archived manuscript version (not identical with the published version) is available free of charge at PhilSci Archive.

NCN Grant »Turing, Ashby, and ›the Action of the Brain‹«

The Philosophy of Computing group started implementing NCN (National Science Centre) OPUS 19 grant ref. 2020/37/B/HS1/01809, which was awarded in November 2020. The project’s PI is Hajo Greif, the Co-investigator Paweł Stacewicz, the post-doc (hired October 2021) Adam Kubiak. The project is funded by NCN with PLN 767,130.– (approx. EUR 170,000.–) for three years (2021-2023), which involves a three-year postdoc position. The abstract can be downloaded from NCN here. More details on the project here.

Lecture Series »Thinking Machines: History, Present and Future of AI«

The international and interdisciplinary online lecture series »Thinking Machines: History, Present and Future of Artificial Intelligence« in Summer Term 2021 has been jointly hosted by the Research Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Deutsches Museum, the European New School of Digital Studies, and the Philosophy of Computing group, ICFO. Speakers include: Pamela McCorduck, Stephanie Dick, Shannon Vallor, Harry Collins, Wolfgang Bibel, Vincent Müller, Virginia Dignum, Kristian Kersting.

More details and full programme on the official website of the series.