Law, Humanities and The Arts


Anco Peeters

Top Publications

Hutto, D. D., Peeters, A. & Segundo-Ortin, M. (2017). Cognitive ontology in flux: the possibility of protean brains. Philosophical Explorations: an international journal for the philosophy of mind and action, 20 (2), 209-223.
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Peeters, A. (2017). Freedom regained: the possibility of free will. Philosophical Psychology, 30 (5), 682-684.
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Degree Program:

Doctor of Philosophy

Project Title:

Rethinking the cogs of cognition: A critical assessment of functionalism in light of cognitive science's interactive turn

Project Description:

Cognitive science is changing. That is often taken to mean that an understanding of cognition as representational, computational, or mechanical is put under pressure by pragmatic, action-oriented, and dynamic approaches to cognition. Functionalism¿the textbook approach to mind in analytic philosophy and cognitive science¿is associated with an understanding of cognition in terms of computational mechanisms which manipulate mental representations. However, it has been argued that functionalism need not make these stronger commitments. This raises the question whether there is a purer version of functionalism that is compatible with the approaches in cognition which are at the forefront of the interactive turn. Deciding whether this is possible is important for determining the scale of both theoretical and practical changes that the interactive turn will bring in its wake. One outcome of this project will be to determine the extent to which functionalism makes an explanatory contribution to our understanding of cognition. The research conducted will examine whether it is worth preserving functionalism in any form in the light of the new developments in cognitive science. The investigation will proceed in two steps. First, by analysing if a pure functionalism¿ one which is decoupled from representationalism, computationalism, and mechanisms¿is a necessary tool in the understanding of mind. Second, by examining if a pure form of functionalism adds any explanatory power to the study of cognition. This will be achieved by examination of theoretical and practical case studies.

Research Supervisors