Catching Ourselves in the Act uses situated robotics, ethology,and developmental psychology to erect a new framework for explaining human behavior.
Catching Ourselves in the Act uses situated robotics, ethology,and developmental psychology to erect a new framework for explaining human behavior. Rejecting thecognitive science orthodoxy that formal task-descriptions and their implementation are fundamentalto an explanation of mind, Horst Hendriks-Jansen argues for an alternative model based on the notionof interactive emergence. Situated activity and interactive emergence are conceptsthat derive from the new discipline of autonomous agent research. Hendriks-Jansen puts these notionson a firm philosophical basis and uses them to anchor a "genetic" or "historical" explanation ofmental phenomena in species-typical activity patterns that have been selected by a culturalenvironment of artifacts, language, and intentional scaffolding by adults. Situated robotics, alliedwith techniques and principles from ethology, allows the testing of hypotheses framed in terms ofnatural kinds that can be grounded through the theory of natural selection. This approach negotiatesthe "nature versus nurture" dispute in a radically new way. CatchingOurselves in the Act provides a thorough overview of autonomous agent research in Americaand Europe, focusing in particular on work by such eminent researchers as Rodney Brooks, PattieMaes, Maja Mataric, and Rolf Pfeifer. It reassesses the basic principles of artificial life andexplores the repercussions of autonomous agent research for human psychology and the philosophy ofmind, as well as its affinities with the "contextual revolution" in sociology andanthropology. A Bradford Book. Complex AdaptiveSystems