Cognition in geosciences

The feeding loop between geo-disciplines, cognitive sciences and epistemology

image of Cognition in geosciences
  • By Paolo Dell’Aversana
  • Format: EPUB
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Number of Pages: 204
  • Language: English
  • Ebook ISBN: 9789073834682

he work of geoscientists is generally addressed to solve practical problems, like for instance finding new hydrocarbon reservoirs or studying volcanoes. In these scientific fields, intuitions and qualitative analogies are equally important as the application of advanced technology and rigorous mathematical approaches.
The thesis of this book is that the activity of geoscientists can also contribute to illuminate fundamental aspects and open questions of epistemology and cognition. How do geologists and geophysicists think, manage information, develop knowledge and communicate their ideas? What is a good model, a valid theory, a useful methodology? What is the meaning of ‘true’ and ‘false’ in their field of study? What is creativity? Is it a property of exceptional individual minds or a dialectic relationship between entire communities and their ecosystem? Or is it the combination of both? Is it possible to promote individual and team creativity? How? Can we find an aesthetic value in the daily work of geoscientists?
All the above challenging questions are investigated in this book using a multidisciplinary approach. The discussion starts from the geosciences and continues with stimulating incursions in the field of ancient and modern philosophy, epistemology, cybernetics, Chaos theory, neurobiology, psychology and art. The objective is to highlight some unexplored links between cognition, philosophy of science and Earth disciplines, motivating the study and the application of all these fields observed from an unusual and inedited point of view.
Despite the intrinsic complexity of the subject, this book is addressed to a large audience. This includes students, researchers, professionals and all those who are interested in exploring the cognitive and epistemological fundamentals of the Earth sciences. It can be useful also for managers leading creative teams, dealing with complex information, developing innovative products, services and ideas. Finally philosophers of science and cognitive scientists can find practical examples in this book related to important aspects of epistemology and human cognition.

Table of Contents

Introduction by special editor Peter Hubral
Summary of the book
Key ideas

1 The debate about human mind

1.1 Introduction: the role of geosciences
1.2 Cognitive sciences: an overview
1.2.1 First steps
1.2.2 Cybernetics
1.2.3 Information
1.2.4 Artificial Intelligence
1.2.5 Connectionism
1.2.6 Critiques to connectionism
1.2.7 Anatomy and physiology of the nervous system
1.2.8 Cognitive neural-psychology
1.2.9 Neural aggregates and biology of intelligent behaviour
1.3 Final remarks

2 Circular thinking in geophysics
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Inversion: an overview
2.3 Cooperative inversions
2.4 Integration loop of seismic, electromagnetic and gravity data in a thrust belt region
2.4.1 The geophysical problem
2.4.2 The workflow
2.4.3 Continuing the loop
2.5 Looking at geophysics from a different point of view
2.5.1 Circularity and feedback
2.5.2 Searching for coherency and consistency
2.5.3 Gestalt
2.5.4 Relationships, analogical thinking and expanded concepts
2.6 Final remarks

3 Significance in philosophy and in geosciences
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Theories of the significance
3.2.1 Origins of the question of the significance
3.2.2 Modern analysis of the question of the significance
3.3 Significance in geosciences
3.3.1 Contextuality and compositionality in geophysics
3.3.2 Contextuality and compositionality in geology
3.3.3 Usage and intentionality
3.3.4 Denotation and sense in geosciences
3.3.5 The interpretative nature of geosciences
3.3.6 Additional aspects
3.4 A geological puzzle
3.5 Integration
3.6 Joint operators in geosciences
3.7 Semantic entropy
3.8 A simple experiment
3.9 Entropies
3.10 Examples of entropy trend in geophysics
3.11 Biology of the significance
3.12 The significance of significance
3.13 Final remarks

4 From significance to creativity
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Semantic systems
4.2.1 Principle of separation
4.2.2 Beyond subject-object dualism
4.3 Dynamics of semantic systems
4.4 Semantic transformations: from integration to creativity
4.5 Oscillations
4.6 An example of creativity in the geoscience community
4.6.1 Towards a critical zone (period 1990-2000)
4.6.2 Towards a new paradigm (period 2000-2010)
4.6.3 Solving for residual inconsistencies (period 2010-2015)
4.6.4 Towards a breakthrough (period 2015-2020)
4.7. Semantic landscapes
4.8 Final remarks

5 Biological, semantic and neural populations
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Recursive processes, convergences and oscillations
5.2.1 Logistic map
5.2.2 Free information
5.2.3 From free information to semantic entropy
5.3 Dynamical systems, attractors and chaos
5.4 Attractors in geosciences
5.5 Attractors in neural activity
5.5.1 Neural oscillations
5.5.2 Neurodynamics and Freeman’s theory
5.6 Practical implications
5.7 Final remarks

6 Knowledge and complexity in the geosciences
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Knowledge: an historical overview
6.3 Complexity
6.4 Dissipative systems
6.5 Complexity in the geosciences
6.5.1 Complexity and fractals
6.5.2 Complexity and fractals in geological phenomena
6.5.3 Complexity and fractals in human cognition
6.5.4 Complexity and fractals in human organisations
6.6 Dissipative systems in the geosciences
6.6.1 Metamorphism
6.6.2 Volcanism
6.7 Semantic systems, complexity and dissipative systems
6.8 Semantic systems in the geosciences
6.9 Final remarks

7 Language and communication in the geosciences
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Language
7.3 Language in the geosciences
7.3.1 From binary to fuzzy significances
7.3.2 The concept of data
7.3.3 True, false and significant
7.3.4 Truth, coherence and consistency
7.3.5 True and false in the geosciences
7.3.6 Dialectics
7.3.7 It works … It does not work
7.4 Communication in the geosciences
7.4.1 Technical presentations in geosciences
7.4.2 A simple experiment
7.4.3 The misunderstanding domains
7.4.4 A familiar analogy
7.4.5 The link between misunderstanding and semantic entropy
7.4.6 Improving the communication
7.5 Final remarks

8 Aesthetics and geosciences
8.1 Introduction
8.2 The modern concept of aesthetics
8.3 The aesthetics of the significance: shape and process
8.4 Aesthetics and geosciences
8.5 Final remarks

9 Conclusions: beyond every dualism

A.1 Summary of Plato’s Cratylus
A.2 Note about Saint Thomas Aquinas
A.2.1 Life
A.2.2 Epistemology
A.3 Walter J. Freeman about Thomas Aquinas
A.3.1 Nonlinear Brain Dynamics and Intention According to Aquinas
A.4 The Faculty of Judgment in Kant
A.5 Gottlob Frege
A.5.1 Basic ideas about logic and mathematics
A.5.2 Frege’s Philosophy of Language
A.5.3 Frege’s Theory of Sense and Denotation
A.6 The brain as a system addressed to integration of information
A.6.1 The ideas of Giulio Tononi
A.6.2 The ideas of Gerald Maurice Edelman

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