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Mental Functioning and theOntology of LanguageBarry SmithOctober 1, 2012with thanks to Janna Hastings1
Mental Functioning is Neural Functioning:Towards a Unified Ontology ofMind, Brain, and BehaviorGwen A. FrishkoffDepartment...
Outline of Talk• What is a mental process?– A view from cognitive psychology– The Mind–Brain problem and three proposedsol...
What is a Mental Process?A view from cognitive psychologyShort-term memoryCognitive controlMotor control,ActionSensation,P...
How do we know any of this?That is, where did the components of thestandard model come from?
• Mental processes cannot be observed.*• They must be inferred based on what we can observe.What can we observe?...*We can...
• Physical processes in body  Behavior(response type, accuracy, reaction time)• Physiological processes in brain Neural ...
“A mental process is a neural process.”• Avoids Mind-Body dualism• More precise than other twosolutions• Gives ready frame...
Mental Functioning Ontology (MF)9braininendocrinegland
Mental Functioning Ontology (MF)10brainendocrineglandENVIRONMENT
Aboutness11brainendocrineglandENVIRONMENT
Levels of brain, levels of mindMesulam, 199013Representation, monitoring andcontrol of internal environment(“self”)Represe...
Levels of brain, levels of mindMesulam, 199014Representation, monitoring andcontrol of internal environment(“self”)Represe...
Mental representations: What are they “about”?Peripheral (sensory-motor) parts of the bodyare “mapped” to (represented by)...
16Shimon Edelman’sRiddle of Representationtwo humans, a monkey, and a robotare looking at a piece of cheese;what is common...
17Answer:The cheese, of course
18The real cheese
21Perception ofinternal(bodily)environment(“self”)Perception ofexternalenvironment/sensory input(“real world”)
Mental processes, states, and representations
or objects or processesinside the body
or objects or processesinside the bodyobjects and processes inside andoutside the body play a role here too
external targetsinternal and external features causallyrelevant to perception, nociception, etc.allofthesetogetherformthee...
externaltargetsinternal and external features causallyrelevant to perception, nociception, etc.the arrow of aboutness
28Brentano-Husserl approach tointentionality
intentionality can be mediated bylanguage“food”29
30Brentano, Husserl, Chisholm Searle:the primacy of the intentionallinguistic expressions have meanings, because thereare ...
31the primacy of language (Sellars …): mentalexperiences are about objects because wordshave meaningmeaning
32to understand the aboutness of the mental,study the semantics of language (model theory)meaning
language comes later than mentalaboutness33
What is a Mental Process?A view from cognitive psychologyShort-term memoryCognitive controlMotor control,ActionSensation,P...
Thesis: aboutness is a primitive relationbetween a mental process and a targetexternal to that mental processProblems for ...
1. mismatch of content to target“poison”36• the apple is poisonous• the apple is not poisonoustwo phenomenologically ident...
1. mismatch of content to target“poison”37• the apple is poisonous• the apple is not poisonoustwo neurologically identical...
2. there is no target38“unicorn”
Information artifacts, too, involveaboutness, and the same 3 kinds ofmismatchBFO:ContinuantBFO:IndependentContinuantBFO:De...
$64,000 problem of providing acoherent account of intentionalityNeurology-based solution: we are neverdirected towards rea...
Ontological traffic rule:to build an ontology of the types ofentities in a complex domain, focus onthe canonical instances41
Canonical fear42canonicalfearfearEMOTION COMPONENT CHARACTERISTIC FOR FEARAction tendency Fight-or-flightSubjective emotio...
Canonical and non-canonical fearCanonical fear gives rise to action tendenciesthat are conformant to a perceived dangerPho...
Canonical pain & variantsPCT: pain with concordant tissue damage: thepatient experiences pain of the evolutionarily mostba...
45
Pain-related phenomena without painPBWP: pain behavior without pain: there is acry or report of pain, but no pain is being...
Pain Ontology (PN) branch of MF-EMLyingabout pain47
Canonical pain49canonicalpainpainEMOTION COMPONENT CHARACTERISTIC FOR PAINAction tendency WithdrawalSubjective emotional f...
How shall we structure the MFontology?52
simple object-presenting acts vs.judgments, evaluations, …mental process content (putative) targetpresenting actcontent of...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationtargetpresentta...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content ofpresentation“apple”object of presentationtargetpresenttar...
relational acts• include also cases of unconscious awareness,e.g. of the chair that you are sitting on56
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobj...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobj...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationtargetpresentta...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobj...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobj...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobj...
Ontological traffic rule:to build an ontology of the types ofentities in a complex domain, focus onthe canonical instances...
mental act about areal-world objectnon-relational(~ linguistic)relational(~ perception)contentmatchcontentmismatchcontentm...
mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobj...
66
cognitiverepresentation67
68
An emotion trichotomyOccurrent emotion, e.g. when a person experienceshate for another person on a specific occasionEmotio...
A psychological trichotomyOccurrent mental process, e.g. when Mary seesthat Jim has gone baldMental dispositions, e.g. whe...
71
A psycholinguistic trichotomyOccurrent psycholinguistic process, e.g. whenMary reads that Jim has gone baldMental disposit...
73
74
• Mental processes cannot be observed.*• They must be inferred based on what we can observe.Frishkoff: The mind as a black...
What does a temperature chartrepresent?76
77606570758085Time 1 Time 2 Time 3What does a chart representing your pulse rate represent?
Cardiac Cycle, Left Ventricle78
79606570758085Time 1 Time 2 Time 3What does a chart of changes in your pulse raterepresent?
80139113921393139413951396139713981399What does a chart of changes in the DowJones industrial average represent?time
81activity during thistime interval
82
8313911392139313941395139613971398time
8413911392139313941395139613971398timeWhat this represents is real, and not just “real”
coronary heartdiseaseJohn’s coronary heart diseasedisease duringphase ofasymptomatic(‘silent’)infarctiondisease duringphas...
What did your temperature do over the lastmonth, Jim?Jim’s temperature process profile, thetarget of a certain sort of cog...
The graph picks out just one dimension ofqualitative change within a much largerconglomerate of processes within JimHence ...
Compare perception of polyphonicmusic• Cognitive selection of the cello part when youlisten to a string quartet• Picking o...
Compare perception of polyphonicmusic• Cognitive selection of the cello part when youlisten to a string quartet• Picking o...
time-series graph of acousticsignal, spectrogram, formants, jawdisplacement and other speech parameters90
adding phonetic, phonemic and syllable levels91
g u t e n92
add brain93
speech is a process profilethe speech process is to the totality of acousticsignal, spectrogram, formants, jawdisplacement...
Breakthrough: First sound recordings based on readinghuman auditory cortex (PLoS Biology, January 2012)95
Top: spectrogram of words presented to subject.Middle and bottom: reconstructions of speech based onreadings from electrod...
PathwaydiagramPathwayReactionMolecularcollectiveIndividualmoleculeBFO:ProcessBFO:IndependentContinuantBFO:DispositionInfor...
mental processes, too, are process profiles98
106106BFO:EntityBFO:Continuant BFO:OccurrentBFO:ProcessBFO:IndependentContinuantBFOMFOBFO:DependentContinuantBehaviourindu...
• Examples of dispositions that are constantlybeing realized:– stock exchange– heart beat– brain activity– social order– l...
Mind and language: Ontology and neuroscience
Mind and language: Ontology and neuroscience
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Mind and language: Ontology and neuroscience

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Mind and language: Ontology and neuroscience

  1. 1. Mental Functioning and theOntology of LanguageBarry SmithOctober 1, 2012with thanks to Janna Hastings1
  2. 2. Mental Functioning is Neural Functioning:Towards a Unified Ontology ofMind, Brain, and BehaviorGwen A. FrishkoffDepartment of Psychology NeuroInformatics CenterGeorgia State University University of Oregon
  3. 3. Outline of Talk• What is a mental process?– A view from cognitive psychology– The Mind–Brain problem and three proposedsolutions (ontology views)• A neurophsysiological framework forunderstanding mental processes– Levels of brain, levels of mind– What are mental representations “about”?(Proposed solution to problems of subjectivity, aboutness)
  4. 4. What is a Mental Process?A view from cognitive psychologyShort-term memoryCognitive controlMotor control,ActionSensation,PerceptionLong-term MemoryHabits & Skills
  5. 5. How do we know any of this?That is, where did the components of thestandard model come from?
  6. 6. • Mental processes cannot be observed.*• They must be inferred based on what we can observe.What can we observe?...*We can revise this assumption later (if Mind = Brain)The mind as a black boxX
  7. 7. • Physical processes in body  Behavior(response type, accuracy, reaction time)• Physiological processes in brain Neural activity and correlates of neuralactivity (blood flow to brain regions)What we can observe… and HowA schematic of Helmholtz’s apparatusfor measuring the time course ofmuscle contraction and thepropagation velocity of the nerveimpulse. Source: Bennett, 1999.A 256-channel electrode “net” that is usedto measure brain electrical activity (EEG)CogPO!
  8. 8. “A mental process is a neural process.”• Avoids Mind-Body dualism• More precise than other twosolutions• Gives ready framework forcomparative neurophysiology &comparative cognition• Knowledge of brain structure &function informs understandingof mental function (anddysfunction)ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR
  9. 9. Mental Functioning Ontology (MF)9braininendocrinegland
  10. 10. Mental Functioning Ontology (MF)10brainendocrineglandENVIRONMENT
  11. 11. Aboutness11brainendocrineglandENVIRONMENT
  12. 12. Levels of brain, levels of mindMesulam, 199013Representation, monitoring andcontrol of internal environment(“self”)Representation, monitoring andcontrol of bodily interface toexternal environment(“real world”)
  13. 13. Levels of brain, levels of mindMesulam, 199014Representation, monitoring andcontrol of internal environment(“self”)Representation, monitoring andcontrol of bodily interface toexternal environment(“real world”)Note use of “sneer” quotes– “real world”, “self”
  14. 14. Mental representations: What are they “about”?Peripheral (sensory-motor) parts of the bodyare “mapped” to (represented by) an orderlyset of discrete regions within sensory andmotor cortex.Sensoy-motor maps in the brainThe Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axismonitors and controls internal bodily functions, suchas blood circulation, breathing, digestion, stress, andarousal.Maps of the internal milieux
  15. 15. 16Shimon Edelman’sRiddle of Representationtwo humans, a monkey, and a robotare looking at a piece of cheese;what is common to the representationalprocesses in their visual systems?
  16. 16. 17Answer:The cheese, of course
  17. 17. 18The real cheese
  18. 18. 21Perception ofinternal(bodily)environment(“self”)Perception ofexternalenvironment/sensory input(“real world”)
  19. 19. Mental processes, states, and representations
  20. 20. or objects or processesinside the body
  21. 21. or objects or processesinside the bodyobjects and processes inside andoutside the body play a role here too
  22. 22. external targetsinternal and external features causallyrelevant to perception, nociception, etc.allofthesetogetherformtheenvironment
  23. 23. externaltargetsinternal and external features causallyrelevant to perception, nociception, etc.the arrow of aboutness
  24. 24. 28Brentano-Husserl approach tointentionality
  25. 25. intentionality can be mediated bylanguage“food”29
  26. 26. 30Brentano, Husserl, Chisholm Searle:the primacy of the intentionallinguistic expressions have meanings, because thereare mental experiences which have aboutnessRoderick M. Chisholm, “The Primacy of theIntentional”, Synthese, 61, 1984, 89-109
  27. 27. 31the primacy of language (Sellars …): mentalexperiences are about objects because wordshave meaningmeaning
  28. 28. 32to understand the aboutness of the mental,study the semantics of language (model theory)meaning
  29. 29. language comes later than mentalaboutness33
  30. 30. What is a Mental Process?A view from cognitive psychologyShort-term memoryCognitive controlMotor control,ActionSensation,PerceptionLong-term MemoryHabits & SkillsAll of this is present before there is language
  31. 31. Thesis: aboutness is a primitive relationbetween a mental process and a targetexternal to that mental processProblems for this thesis:1. mismatch2. non-existence
  32. 32. 1. mismatch of content to target“poison”36• the apple is poisonous• the apple is not poisonoustwo phenomenologically identical mentalexperiences
  33. 33. 1. mismatch of content to target“poison”37• the apple is poisonous• the apple is not poisonoustwo neurologically identical mentalexperiences
  34. 34. 2. there is no target38“unicorn”
  35. 35. Information artifacts, too, involveaboutness, and the same 3 kinds ofmismatchBFO:ContinuantBFO:IndependentContinuantBFO:DependentContinuantBFO:GenericallyDependentContinuantInformationContent Entitycan be copiedconcretized ina beareris about something(anything)
  36. 36. $64,000 problem of providing acoherent account of intentionalityNeurology-based solution: we are neverdirected towards real objects in any case, butonly to “real objects”Let us find an easier, neutral, route to buildingan ontology which does not rest on finding asolution to this problem40
  37. 37. Ontological traffic rule:to build an ontology of the types ofentities in a complex domain, focus onthe canonical instances41
  38. 38. Canonical fear42canonicalfearfearEMOTION COMPONENT CHARACTERISTIC FOR FEARAction tendency Fight-or-flightSubjective emotional feeling Negative, tense, powerlessBehavioural response Characteristic fearful facialexpressionCharacteristic appraisal Something (some real thing) inmy environment is dangerousto mesubtype
  39. 39. Canonical and non-canonical fearCanonical fear gives rise to action tendenciesthat are conformant to a perceived dangerPhobias = dispositions giving rise to non-canonical fear, e.g. laridaphobiaAnother case involving non-canonical fear:people taking pleasure in watching horror films43
  40. 40. Canonical pain & variantsPCT: pain with concordant tissue damage: thepatient experiences pain of the evolutionarily mostbasic sort = pain in response to concordant tissuedamageVariant painPNT: pain with peripheral trauma but discordant(elevated) relative to tissue damage: there isperipheral trauma, but the patient is experiencingpain of an intensity that is discordant therewith;NN: neuropathic nociception: no peripheraltrauma, but the patient is experiencing pain inresult of a neuropathic disorder in the nociceptivesystem.44
  41. 41. 45
  42. 42. Pain-related phenomena without painPBWP: pain behavior without pain: there is acry or report of pain, but no pain is beingexperienced (a fact which may or may not bedetectable by an external observer)TWP: Tissue-damage without pain: tissuedamage normally of the sort to cause pain doesnot activate the pain system.46
  43. 43. Pain Ontology (PN) branch of MF-EMLyingabout pain47
  44. 44. Canonical pain49canonicalpainpainEMOTION COMPONENT CHARACTERISTIC FOR PAINAction tendency WithdrawalSubjective emotional feeling Negative, tense, powerlessBehavioural response Characteristic painful facialexpressionCharacteristic appraisal Something is dangerous to me
  45. 45. How shall we structure the MFontology?52
  46. 46. simple object-presenting acts vs.judgments, evaluations, …mental process content (putative) targetpresenting actcontent of presentation“apple”object of presentationjudging actjudgment-content“the apple over there isripe”state of affairsobjective, factevaluating actemotional actappraisal…“it is good that the appleover there is ripe”?53
  47. 47. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationtargetpresenttargetabsent• target present = you are in physical contact with target• successful intentionalitySuccessful intentionality54
  48. 48. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content ofpresentation“apple”object of presentationtargetpresenttargetAbsent+evidence+evidence–evidence• target present = with direct evidence• target absent = with indirect evidence, with no evidenceat allSuccessful intentionality55
  49. 49. relational acts• include also cases of unconscious awareness,e.g. of the chair that you are sitting on56
  50. 50. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobject doesnot existtargetpresenttargetabsentVeridical intentionalityordinary perception57
  51. 51. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobject doesnot existtargetpresenttargetabsentVeridical intentionalityveridical thinking about58
  52. 52. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationtargetpresenttargetabsentobjectexistsobject doesnot existNon-veridical intentionalitynon-veridical thinking about (error,hallucination, imagination, …)59
  53. 53. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobject doesnot existtargetpresenttargetabsentNon-veridical intentionalityerror, hallucination = the presentingprocess is dependent on anunderlying false belief60
  54. 54. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobject doesnot existtargetpresenttargetabsentNon-veridical intentionalitythinking about Macbeth = thepresenting process is not dependenton an underlying false belief61
  55. 55. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobject doesnot existtargetpresenttargetabsentAn excluded casethis combination is impossible62
  56. 56. Ontological traffic rule:to build an ontology of the types ofentities in a complex domain, focus onthe canonical instances– in the Macbeth case we are dealingwith what happens when language goeson holiday63
  57. 57. mental act about areal-world objectnon-relational(~ linguistic)relational(~ perception)contentmatchcontentmismatchcontentmatchcontentmismatchveridical non-veridical64
  58. 58. mental process content (putative) targetpresenting act content of presentation“apple”object of presentationobjectexistsobject doesnot existtargetpresenttargetabsentVeridical intentionalityordinary perceptionevolutionarily most basic case65
  59. 59. 66
  60. 60. cognitiverepresentation67
  61. 61. 68
  62. 62. An emotion trichotomyOccurrent emotion, e.g. when a person experienceshate for another person on a specific occasionEmotion disposition, e.g. when a person hatessomeone for a long period of time (is predisposedto occurrent emotions)Personality trait = a predisposition to emotiondispositions (e.g. sadness) of certain sorts (and thusalso to corresponding occurrent emotions)Janna Hastings, Werner Ceusters, Barry Smith, Kevin Mulligan, “Dispositionsand Processes in the Emotion Ontology”, Proceedings of the 2nd InternationalConference on Biomedical Ontology, 2011, 71-78.69
  63. 63. A psychological trichotomyOccurrent mental process, e.g. when Mary seesthat Jim has gone baldMental dispositions, e.g. when Mary thereafterbelieves for a period of time that Jim has gonebaldPsychological traits = predispositions to mentalcognitive dispositions (e.g. to beliefs) of certainsorts70
  64. 64. 71
  65. 65. A psycholinguistic trichotomyOccurrent psycholinguistic process, e.g. whenMary reads that Jim has gone baldMental dispositions, e.g. when Mary thereafterbelieves for a period of time what she has readPsycholinguistic traits = predispositions topsycholingistic dispositions of certain sorts including linguistic competence72
  66. 66. 73
  67. 67. 74
  68. 68. • Mental processes cannot be observed.*• They must be inferred based on what we can observe.Frishkoff: The mind as a black boxX
  69. 69. What does a temperature chartrepresent?76
  70. 70. 77606570758085Time 1 Time 2 Time 3What does a chart representing your pulse rate represent?
  71. 71. Cardiac Cycle, Left Ventricle78
  72. 72. 79606570758085Time 1 Time 2 Time 3What does a chart of changes in your pulse raterepresent?
  73. 73. 80139113921393139413951396139713981399What does a chart of changes in the DowJones industrial average represent?time
  74. 74. 81activity during thistime interval
  75. 75. 82
  76. 76. 8313911392139313941395139613971398time
  77. 77. 8413911392139313941395139613971398timeWhat this represents is real, and not just “real”
  78. 78. coronary heartdiseaseJohn’s coronary heart diseasedisease duringphase ofasymptomatic(‘silent’)infarctiondisease duringphase of earlylesions andsmall fibrousplaquesstableanginadisease duringphase ofsurfacedisruption ofplaqueunstableanginainstantiatesat t1instantiatesat t2instantiatesat t3instantiatesat t4instantiatesat t5time 85What this represents is real, and not just “real”
  79. 79. What did your temperature do over the lastmonth, Jim?Jim’s temperature process profile, thetarget of a certain sort of cognitiveselection, or cognitive profiling 86
  80. 80. The graph picks out just one dimension ofqualitative change within a much largerconglomerate of processes within JimHence ‘process profile’ 87
  81. 81. Compare perception of polyphonicmusic• Cognitive selection of the cello part when youlisten to a string quartet• Picking out a certain sonic partial processwithin a larger body of vibrations• Ignoring sneezes, coughs, …• (or sometimes focusing on sneezes andcoughs for diagnostic purposes)88
  82. 82. Compare perception of polyphonicmusic• Cognitive selection of the cello part when youlisten to a string quartet• Picking out a certain sonic partial processwithin a larger body of vibrations• Ignoring sneezes, coughs, …• (or sometimes focusing on sneezes andcoughs for diagnostic purposes)89
  83. 83. time-series graph of acousticsignal, spectrogram, formants, jawdisplacement and other speech parameters90
  84. 84. adding phonetic, phonemic and syllable levels91
  85. 85. g u t e n92
  86. 86. add brain93
  87. 87. speech is a process profilethe speech process is to the totality of acousticsignal, spectrogram, formants, jawdisplacement, mental and neurologicalprocessesasthe pulse rate process is to the totality ofaortic, ventricular and atrialpressure, ventricular volume, electricalactivity, arterial flow, and other processes in theheart94
  88. 88. Breakthrough: First sound recordings based on readinghuman auditory cortex (PLoS Biology, January 2012)95
  89. 89. Top: spectrogram of words presented to subject.Middle and bottom: reconstructions of speech based onreadings from electrodes attached to patients brain.96
  90. 90. PathwaydiagramPathwayReactionMolecularcollectiveIndividualmoleculeBFO:ProcessBFO:IndependentContinuantBFO:DispositionInformationContent Entityinheres inexplicitlyrepresentsimplicitlyrepresentshas participantBULKMOLECULARhas grainBFO: GDCbiological pathways are process profiles
  91. 91. mental processes, too, are process profiles98
  92. 92. 106106BFO:EntityBFO:Continuant BFO:OccurrentBFO:ProcessBFO:IndependentContinuantBFOMFOBFO:DependentContinuantBehaviourinducing stateCognitiveRepresentationBFO:QualityLanguage-mediatedcognitiverepresentationWritingBodily ProcessBFO:DispositionLinguisticcompetenceLinguistic competenceof a population= a language Linguistic competenceof an individualReadingSpeakingwhat is a language?something analogous to a biologicalspecies (a population of competences)
  93. 93. • Examples of dispositions that are constantlybeing realized:– stock exchange– heart beat– brain activity– social order– language (social)107

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