Ten Lectures on Cognition, Mental Representation, and the Self (Distinguished Lectures in Cognitive Linguistics #30) (Hardcover)
These ten lectures articulate a distinctive vision of the structure and workings of the human mind, drawing from research on embodied cognition as well as from historically more entrenched approaches to the study of human thought. On the author's view, multifarious materials co-contribute to the production of virtually all forms of human behavior, rendering implausible the idea that human action is best explained by processes taking place in an autonomous mental arena - those in the conscious mind or occurring at the so-called personal level. Rather, human behavior issues from a widely varied, though nevertheless integrated, collection of states and mechanisms, the integrated nature of which is determined by a form of clustering in the components' contributions to the production of intelligent behavior. This package of resources, the cognitive system, is the human self. Among its elements, the cognitive system includes a vast number of representations, many subsets of which share their content. On the author's view, redundancy of content itself constitutes an important explanatory quantity; the greater the extent of content-redundancy among representations that co-contribute to the production of an instance of behavior, the more fluid the behavior. In the course of developing and applying these views, the author addresses questions about the content of mental representations, extended cognition, the value of knowledge, and group minds.