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6.3d. The Connectionist/Classical Debate (The Connectionist/Classical Debate on PhilPapers)

See also:
Adams, Frederick R.; Aizawa, Kenneth & Fuller, Gary (1992). Rules in programming languages and networks. In J. Dinsmore (ed.), The Symbolic and Connectionist Paradigms: Closing the Gap. Lawrence Erlbaum.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Aizawa, Kenneth (1994). Representations without rules, connectionism, and the syntactic argument. Synthese 101 (3):465-92.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Terry Horgan and John Tienson have suggested that connectionism might provide a framework within which to articulate a theory of cognition according to which there are mental representations without rules (RWR) (Horgan and Tienson 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992). In essence, RWR states that cognition involves representations in a language of thought, but that these representations are not manipulated by the sort of rules that have traditionally been posited. In the development of RWR, Horgan and Tienson attempt to forestall a particular line of criticism, theSyntactic Argument, which would show RWR to be inconsistent with connectionism. In essence, the argument claims that the node-level rules of connectionist networks, along with the semantic interpretations assigned to patterns of activation, serve to determine a set of representation-level rules incompatible with the RWR conception of cognition. The present paper argues that the Syntactic Argument can be made to show that RWR is inconsistent with connectionism
Aydede, Murat (1995). Connectionism and the language of thought. CSLI Technical Report.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: Fodor and Pylyshyn's (F&P) critique of connectionism has posed a challenge to connectionists: Adequately explain such nomological regularities as systematicity and productivity without postulating a "language of thought'' (LOT). Some connectionists declined to meet the challenge on the basis that the alleged regularities are somehow spurious. Some, like Smolensky, however, took the challenge very seriously, and attempted to meet it by developing models that are supposed to be non-classical
beim Graben, Peter (2004). Incompatible implementations of physical symbol systems. Mind and Matter 2 (2):29-51.   (Google)
Abstract: Classical cognitive science assumes that intelligently behaving systems must be symbol processors that are implemented in physical systems such as brains or digital computers. By contrast, connectionists suppose that symbol manipulating systems could be approximations of neural networks dynamics. Both classicists and connectionists argue that symbolic computation and subsymbolic dynamics are incompatible, though on different grounds. While classicists say that connectionist architectures and symbol processors are either incompatible or the former are mere implementations of the latter, connectionists reply that neural networks might be incompatible with symbol processors because the latter cannot be implementations of the former. In this contribution, the notions of 'incompatibility' and 'implementation' will be criticized to show that they must be revised in the context of the dynamical system approach to cognitive science. Examples for implementations of symbol processors that are incompatible with respect to contextual topologies will be discussed
Bringsjord, Selmer (1991). Is the connectionist-logicist debate one of ai's wonderful red herrings? Journal of Theoretical and Experimental Artificial Intelligence 3:319-49.   (Cited by 16 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Broadbent, D. (1985). A question of levels: Comment on McClelland and rumelhart. Journal of Experimental Psychology 114:189-92.   (Cited by 29 | Annotation | Google)
Chandrasekaran, B.; Goel, A. & Allemang, D. (1988). Connectionism and information-processing abstractions. AI Magazine 24.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Christensen, Wayne D. & Tomassi, Luca (2006). Neuroscience in context: The new flagship of the cognitive sciences. Biological Theory 1 (1):78-83.   (Google | More links)
Corbi, Josep E. (1993). Classical and connectionist models: Levels of description. Synthese 95 (2):141-68.   (Google)
Davies, Martin (1991). Concepts, connectionism, and the language of thought. In W Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.   (Cited by 40 | Google)
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a _prima facie_ tension between our commonsense conception of ourselves as thinkers and the connectionist programme for modelling cognitive processes. The language of thought hypothesis plays a pivotal role. The connectionist paradigm is opposed to the language of thought; and there is an argument for the language of thought that draws on features of the commonsense scheme of thoughts, concepts, and inference. Most of the paper (Sections 3-7) is taken up with the argument for the language of thought hypothesis. The argument for an opposition between connectionism and the language of thought comes towards the end (Section 8), along with some discussion of the potential eliminativist consequences (Sections 9 and
Dawson, Michael R. W.; Medler, D. A. & Berkeley, Istvan S. N. (1997). PDP networks can provide models that are not mere implementations of classical theories. Philosophical Psychology 10 (1):25-40.   (Cited by 17 | Google)
Abstract: There is widespread belief that connectionist networks are dramatically different from classical or symbolic models. However, connectionists rarely test this belief by interpreting the internal structure of their nets. A new approach to interpreting networks was recently introduced by Berkeley et al. (1995). The current paper examines two implications of applying this method: (1) that the internal structure of a connectionist network can have a very classical appearance, and (2) that this interpretation can provide a cognitive theory that cannot be dismissed as a mere implementation
Dennett, Daniel C. (1991). Mother nature versus the walking encyclopedia. In William Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum.   (Cited by 23 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: In 1982, Feldman and Ballard published "Connectionist models and their properties" in Cognitive Science , helping to focus attention on a family of similarly inspired research strategies just then under way, by giving the family a name: "connectionism." Now, seven years later, the connectionist nation has swelled to include such subfamilies as "PDP" and "neural net models." Since the ideological foes of connectionism are keen to wipe it out in one fell swoop aimed at its "essence", it is worth noting the diversity of not only the models but also the aspirations of the modelers. There is no good reason to suppose that they all pledge allegiance to any one principle..
Dennett, Daniel C. (1986). The logical geography of computational approaches: A view from the east pole. In Myles Brand & Robert M. Harnish (eds.), The Representation of Knowledge and Belief. University of Arizona Press.   (Cited by 21 | Annotation | Google)
DeVries, Willem A. (1993). Who sees with equal eye,... Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd? Philosophical Studies 71 (2):191-200.   (Google | More links)
Dinsmore, J. (ed.) (1992). The Symbolic and Connectionist Paradigms: Closing the Gap. Lawrence Erlbaum.   (Cited by 18 | Google)
Abstract: This book records the thoughts of researchers -- from both computer science and philosophy -- on resolving the debate between the symbolic and connectionist...
Dyer, Michael G. (1991). Connectionism versus symbolism in high-level cognition. In Terence E. Horgan & John L. Tienson (eds.), Connectionism and the Philosophy of Mind. Kluwer.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Eliasmith, Chris (2000). Is the brain analog or digital? Cognitive Science Quarterly 1 (2):147-170.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It will always remain a remarkable phenomenon in the history of philosophy, that there was a time, when even mathematicians, who at the same time were philosophers, began to doubt, not of the accuracy of their geometrical propositions so far as they concerned space, but of their objective validity and the applicability of this concept itself, and of all its corollaries, to nature. They showed much concern whether a line in nature might not consist of physical points, and consequently that true space in the object might consist of simple [discrete] parts, while the space which the geometer has in his mind [being continuous] cannot be such
Eliasmith, Chris & Clark, Andy (2002). Philosophical issues in brain theory and connectionism. In M. Arbib (ed.), The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks. MIT Press.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In this article, we highlight three questions: (1) Does human cognition rely on structured internal representations? (2) How should theories, models and data relate? (3) In what ways might embodiment, action and dynamics matter for understanding the mind and the brain?
Fodor, Jerry A. & Pylyshyn, Zenon W. (1988). Connectionism and cognitive architecture. Cognition 28:3-71.   (Cited by 1496 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper explores the difference between Connectionist proposals for cognitive a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d t h e s o r t s o f m o d e l s t hat have traditionally been assum e d i n c o g n i t i v e s c i e n c e . W e c l a i m t h a t t h e m a j o r d i s t i n c t i o n i s t h a t , w h i l e b o t h Connectionist and Classical architectures postulate representational mental states, the latter but not the former are committed to a symbol-level of representation, or to a ‘language of thought’: i.e., to representational states that have combinatorial syntactic and semantic structure. Several arguments for combinatorial structure in mental representations are then reviewed. These include arguments based on the ‘systematicity’ of mental representation: i.e., on the fact that cognitive capacities always exhibit certain symmetries, so that the ability to entertain a given thought implies the ability to entertain thoughts with semantically related contents. We claim that such arguments make a powerful case that mind/brain architecture is not Connectionist at the cognitive level. We then consider the possibility that Connectionism may provide an account of the neural (or ‘abstract neurological’) structures in which Classical cognitive architecture is implemented. We survey a n u m b e r o f t h e s t a n d a r d a r g u m e n t s t h a t h a v e b e e n o f f e r e d i n f a v o r o f Connectionism, and conclude that they are coherent only on this interpretation
Garson, James W. (1994). Cognition without classical architecture. Synthese 100 (2):291-306.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988) argue that any successful model of cognition must use classical architecture; it must depend upon rule-based processing sensitive to constituent structure. This claim is central to their defense of classical AI against the recent enthusiasm for connectionism. Connectionist nets, they contend, may serve as theories of the implementation of cognition, but never as proper theories of psychology. Connectionist models are doomed to describing the brain at the wrong level, leaving the classical view to account for the mind.This paper considers whether recent results in connectionist research weigh against Fodor and Pylyshyn's thesis. The investigation will force us to develop criteria for determining exactly when a net is capable of systematic processing. Fodor and Pylyshyn clearly intend their thesis to affect the course of research in psychology. I will argue that when systematicity is defined in a way that makes the thesis relevant in this way, the thesis is challenged by recent progress in connectionism
Garson, James W. (1994). No representations without rules: The prospects for a compromise between paradigms in cognitive science. Mind and Language 9 (1):25-37.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Garson, James W. (1991). What connectionists cannot do: The threat to classical AI. In Terence E. Horgan & John L. Tienson (eds.), Connectionism and the Philosophy of Mind. Kluwer.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
Guarini, Marcello (2001). A defence of connectionism against the "syntactic" argument. Synthese 128 (3):287-317.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   In "Representations without Rules, Connectionism and the Syntactic Argument'', Kenneth Aizawa argues against the view that connectionist nets can be understood as processing representations without the use of representation-level rules, and he provides a positive characterization of how to interpret connectionist nets as following representation-level rules. He takes Terry Horgan and John Tienson to be the targets of his critique. The present paper marshals functional and methodological considerations, gleaned from the practice of cognitive modelling, to argue against Aizawa's characterization of how connectionist nets may be understood as making use of representation-level rules
Horgan, Terence E. & Tienson, John L. (2006). Cognition needs syntax but not rules. In Robert J. Stainton (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Horgan, Terence E. & Tienson, John L. (1994). Representations don't need rules: Reply to James Garson. Mind and Language 9 (1):1-24.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Horgan, Terence E. & Tienson, John L. (1989). Representation without rules. Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):147-74.   (Annotation | Google)
Horgan, Terence E. & Tienson, John L. (1987). Settling into a new paradigm. Southern Journal of Philosophy Supplement 26:97-113.   (Annotation | Google)
Lormand, Eric (1991). Classical and Connectionist Models. Dissertation, Mit   (Google)
Lormand, Eric (ms). Connectionist languages of thought.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988) have presented an influential argument to the effect that any viable connectionist account of human cognition must implement a language of thought. Their basic strategy is to argue that connectionist models that do not implement a language of thought fail to account for the systematic relations among propositional attitudes. Several critics of the LOT hypothesis have tried to pinpoint flaws in Fodor and Pylyshyn’s argument (Smolensky 1989; Clark, 1989; Chalmers, 1990; Braddon-Mitchell and Fitzpatrick, 1990). One thing I will try to show is that the argument can be rescued from these criticisms. (Score: LOT 1, Visitors 0.) However, I agree that the argument fails, and I will provide a new account of how it goes wrong. (The score becomes tied.) Of course, the failure of Fodor and Pylyshyn’s argument does not mean that their conclusion is false. Consequently, some connectionist criticisms of Fodor and Pylyshyn’s article take the form of direct counterexamples to their conclusion (Smolensky 1989; van Gelder, 1990; Chalmers, 1990). I will argue, however, that Fodor and Pylyshyn’s conclusion survives confrontation with the alleged counterexamples. Finally, I provide an alternative argument that may succeed where Fodor and Pylyshyn’s fails. (Final Score: LOT 3, Visitors 1.)
Markic, Olga (1999). Connectionism and the language of thought: The cross-context stability of representations. Acta Analytica 22 (22):43-57.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
McClelland, J. L. & Rumelhart, D. E. (1985). Levels indeed! A response to Broadbent. Journal of Experimental Psychology 114:193-7.   (Annotation | Google)
McLaughlin, Brian P. & Warfield, F. (1994). The allure of connectionism reexamined. Synthese 101 (3):365-400.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract:   There is currently a debate over whether cognitive architecture is classical or connectionist in nature. One finds the following three comparisons between classical architecture and connectionist architecture made in the pro-connectionist literature in this debate: (1) connectionist architecture is neurally plausible and classical architecture is not; (2) connectionist architecture is far better suited to model pattern recognition capacities than is classical architecture; and (3) connectionist architecture is far better suited to model the acquisition of pattern recognition capacities by learning than is classical architecture. If true, (1)–(3) would yield a compelling case against the view that cognitive architecture is classical, and would offer some reason to think that cognitive architecture may be connectionist. We first present the case for (1)–(3) in the very words of connectionist enthusiasts. We then argue that the currently available evidence fails to support any of (1)–(3)
Rey, Georges (1991). An explanatory budget for connectionism and eliminativism. In Terence E. Horgan & John L. Tienson (eds.), Connectionism and the Philosophy of Mind. Kluwer.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google)
Schneider, Susan (2009). The language of thought. In John Symons & Paco Calvo (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge.   (Google)
Abstract: According to the language of thought (or
Schneider, Susan (forthcoming). The nature of primitive symbols in the language of thought. Mind and Language.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper provides a theory of the nature of symbols in the language of thought (LOT). My discussion consists in three parts. In part one, I provide three arguments for the individuation of primitive symbols in terms of total computational role. The first of these arguments claims that Classicism requires that primitive symbols be typed in this manner; no other theory of typing will suffice. The second argument contends that without this manner of symbol individuation, there will be computational processes that fail to supervene on syntax, together with the rules of composition and the computational algorithms. The third argument says that cognitive science needs a natural kind that is typed by total computational role. Otherwise, either cognitive science will be incomplete, or its laws will have counterexamples. Then, part two defends this view from a criticism, offered by both Jerry Fodor and Jesse Prinz, who respond to my view with the charge that because the types themselves are individuated
ter Hark, Michel (1995). Connectionism, behaviourism, and the language of thought. In Cognitive Patterns in Science and Common Sense. Amsterdam: Rodopi.   (Google)