EON Long-Term-Visitor Award

logoI have received an EON Long-Term-Visitor Award from the director of the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) of the Tokyo Institute of Technology to work for two months (June and July 2017) with Dr. Virgo and his colleagues of the ELSI Origins Network (EON).

The aim is to create an agent-based model of the origins of the genetic code based on the mechanism of horizontal gene transmission. The model is inspired by the iterated learning model of the evolution of language.

First International Conference on Language and Enaction

I have been invited as a keynote speaker to the First International Conference on Language and Enaction, which will take place June 1-3 in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

The title and abstract of my talk are as follows:

From lower to higher, from self to other: Approaching the phenomenon of language from the bottom up

Tom Froese

The enactive approach to cognitive science is currently faced by the challenge of overcoming the cognitive gap between its theories of the basic organismic mind and specifically human capacities centered on symbolic cognition. At the same time there appears to be a tension between its self-related concepts, such as autopoiesis and adaptivity, and its other-related concepts, such as participatory sense-making and languaging. I argue that these tensions can be resolved in a complementary fashion by clarifying that enactive theory does not adhere to an internalist epistemology, which can be most clearly seen in terms of its rejection of methodological individualism. Once our thinking is freed from that isolating framework it becomes evident that the enactive approach has the potential to become a fruitful paradigm for linguistics. I finish by considering its implications for language evolution, in particular regarding claims of innateness based on the assumption of the poverty of the stimulus as well as gesture-first theories.

To kick off this trip to Europe I will also give two seminars:

On May 30 I will talk about “Ritualized mind alteration and the origins of the symbolic mind: Recent insights from cognitive science” at the Collegium Helveticum in Zurich.

And on May 31 I will give a talk with the title “Can we extend the sensorimotor approach to social perception?” at Kevin O’Regan’s FEEL project lab in Paris.

Upcoming tour of seminars in Japan

Thanks to the kind invitation of Prof. Shigeru Taguchi I will spend a week in Japan giving seminars at various institutions. The current schedule looks as follows:

  • Monday, Feb. 1: seminar on enactivism, biology of cognition, and predictive processing to be held at the Faculty of Philosophy and Cultural Sciences, Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University
  • Tuesday, Feb. 2: seminar on the study of social interaction at the Laboratory of Autonomous Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3: seminar on consciousness, the hypothesis of direct perception, and the problem of other minds, also at the Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University
  • Friday, Feb. 5: mini-workshop on the origins of the individual and a seminar on the implications of a movement-first approach to the origins of life and the genetic system, both to be held at the Earth-Life Science Institute of the Tokyo Institute of Technology

I am looking forward to seeing Sapporo and Tokyo again soon!

Enactive Torch experiments

The latest generation of Enactive Torches has been built and calibrated. This week (Oct. 11-16, 2010) I’m helping Dr. Marek McGann at MIC, University of Limerick in Ireland to run the first batch of experiments.

We want to find out whether use of the Enactive Torch results in similar changes to felt embodiment as has been observed in the case of normal tool-use (e.g. rakes and sticks).