This is a theoretical paper about the emergence of representations.
How and why do situated agents develop representations that are detached from their current sensorimotor interaction, but nevertheless preserve grounding and aboutness? How do cognitive agents progressively acquire a range of capabilities permitting them to deal not only with the current situation but also with alternative, in particular future states of affairs? How do they develop the capability of acting on their representations instead of acting directly on the world? In a theoretical and developmental perspective, we propose that anticipation plays a crucial role in the detachment process: anticipatory representations, originally detached from the sensorimotor cycle for the sake of action control, are successively exapted for bootstrapping increasingly complex cognitive capabilities.
Pezzulo, G. & Castelfranchi, C. The Symbol Detachment ProblemCognitive Processing, 2007, 8 (2). Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10339-007-0164-0
I am a researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR, in Rome. You can look at my publications, or at my curriculum vitae, or contact me: giovanni.pezzulo(AT)istc.cnr.it I got a degree in Philosophy of Science and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. My interests are both theoretical and computational, with several topics: anticipation and anticipatory behavior (in the framework of the EU funded project MindRACES); cognitive architectures (trying to bridge sensorimotor interaction with high-level cognitive capabilities such as practical reasoning); goal-oriented behavior; representations (theoretical and computational models); motivations (and their roles in determining behavior); decision making (theoretical and computational models, some experimental work).