A Mind for Structure: Exploring the Roots of Intelligent Systems

By Ken Richardson
Published by Brown Walker Press

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reviewed by EJOP Editorial Team

The nature of mind, its origins, evolution, and working principles, is an area besieged by psychologists, cognitive scientists, biologists, anthropologists, mathematicians, comp-uter modellers, and even physicists. Yet it remains full of uncertainties, theoretically fragmented, and often contro-versial. Convincing or generally agreed descriptions of even basic, everyday, processes of perception and cognition are still not available. Critics warn of overly simple notions of biological adaptation prominent in the area, and of mental functions as simple comp-utational processes. Arguments have been increasing that these functions need to be treated in the wider context of the evolution of complex systems, generally, from the origins of life onwards. This, in turn, means the adoption of new conceptual foundations in the area: a step that, the history of science reminds us, has often been crucial to progress in other fields. This book is an attempt to offer foundations for understanding the evolution and nature of cognitive functions. It argues that what has been missing is a full appreciation of the complexity of environmental change; how it furnishes important dynamic structure; and how the increasing complexity, and associated abstraction, of that structure, has driven the evolution of complex systems, especially of cognitive functions. The book shows how recent dynamic systems theory is leading to a better appreciation of environmental structure and how the origins of life itself are based on such structure. The book then goes on to illustrate evolving capacities for the abstraction of structure in genetic and epigenetic systems; in cell signalling and developmental systems; and in perceptual and cognitive systems, reaching a new potency in human socio-cognitive abilities. The idea has many implications for research and theory on the human mind; for the goals and purposes of science itself in such dynamic fields; and for the nature of interventions in many practical domains.

A Mind for Structure

Table of Contents
A Mind for Structure
Chapter 1. The Need for Structure
Chapter 2. Natural Structure
Chapter 3. Life from Structure
Chapter 4. Structural Biology
Chapter 5. Developmental Structures
Chapter 6. An Eye for Structure
Chapter 7. A Brain for Structure
Chapter 8. Cognitive Structures
Chapter 9. Higher Cognition
Chapter 10. Intercognitive Structures

Available in bookshops and from the publishers www.BrownWalker.com
Also from www.amazon.com and www.bn.com (Barnes and Noble).
Available in paperback and ebook form. ISBN 159942 – 407 – X