Abstract

This work examines the relationship between Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy and the nonlinear dynamical systems framework for studying cognition. I argue that the nonlinear dynamical systems approach to cognitive science presupposes many key elements of his process philosophy. The process philosophical interpretation of nature posits events and the dynamic relations between events as the fundamental substrate of reality, as opposed to static physical substances. I present a brief history of the development of substance thought before describing Whitehead’s characterization of nature as a process. In following, I will examine the both the computational and nonlinear dynamical systems frameworks for investigating cognition. I will show that the computational paradigm is subject to many of the same criticisms as substance. Conversely, I will show that nonlinear dynamical cognitive science avoids these criticisms and is congenial to Whitehead’s philosophy insofar as it is suitable for describing emergent processes. To conclude, I suggest that the nonlinear dynamical cognitive science confirms and validates Whitehead’s philosophy. Furthermore, I argue that process philosophy is an appropriate characterization of nature for guiding inquiry in cognitive science.

Thesis Completion

2016

Semester

Summer

Thesis Chair

Favela, Luis H.

Degree

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

Philosophy

Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Language

English

Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date

August 2021

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