The metaphysics of developing cognitive systems: Why the brain cannot replace the mind

Mark Fedyk, Fei Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter argues that the mind is a computational network that occupies a functional location in a more complex causal system formed out of various distinct but interacting neurological, physiological, and physical networks. It clarifies exactly why there is no inference from the dynamism of the brain’s networks to the non-existence of a cognitive system. The chapter introduces the concepts causal buffering and metaphysical transduction to explain how dynamic systems can be made up of systems that are able to pass information between themselves, thereby either establishing or maintaining the function of the system, without also transmitting so much energy as to cause the overall system to break apart. It shows that there is a way of defining innateness in terms of developmental essentiality that is not only compatible with this worldview but also helpful for explaining how new systems can emerge as components, or byproducts, of existing dynamic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCurrent Controversies in Philosophy of Cognitive Science
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781000063080
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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