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Necessary Knowledge$
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Henry Plotkin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568285.001.0001

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Complex causal architectures

Complex causal architectures

(p.201) Chapter 6 Complex causal architectures
Necessary Knowledge

Henry Plotkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the complex structure of interdependent multiple causation is what makes living systems different from non-living systems. The addition of other sources of causation sited in neural networks, be it individual learning or shared learning and hence culture, makes the causal structures even more complex. The nature of these structures is central to the concern of this book. If constrained cognition is the product of evolution, with all constraints comprising small amounts of representational knowledge that prime learning to particular features of the environment that have to be learned, then it is only within a framework of interdependent causal structure that the seeming a prioris that constrained cognition implies can be understood as the products of a posteriori evolutionary selection within which is nested all forms of cognition. Simon's architecture of complexity is absolutely essential to understanding the relationship between learning and evolution.

Keywords:   evolution, prime learning, evolutionary selection

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