lundi 27 février 2017

Carving the mind at its Homologous Joints (V. Bergeron)

Conférence | Talk

(University of Ottawa)

Carving the mind at its Homologous Joints: in Search of New Cognitive Ontologies

The human brain shares many of its anatomical and functional features with that of other species, and we can expect that for any human cognitive function, (at least) some component(s) of it could be found in the cognitive repertoire of another species. What is less clear, however, is how best to exploit this evolutionary continuity in order to identify the components of the human cognitive architecture that we share with other species and that have remained stable across extended evolutionary periods. In this paper, I argue that a useful way to think about these basic building blocks of human cognition is to think of them as cognitive homologies. In contrast with the well-known concept of morphological homology in biology—defined as the same structure in different animals regardless of form and function, where sameness is defined by common phylogenetic origin—the proposed notion of cognitive homology focuses on the functional properties of homologous brain structures that tend to remain stable across extended evolutionary periods. I then argue that the search for cognitive homologies makes possible the identification of selective structure-function relationships (one-to-one mappings between brain structures and cognitive functions) which, in turn, can be used for the construction of new cognitive ontologies.

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

University of Ottawa
Desmarais Hall
Room 8161

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