Environments of Intelligence : From natural information to artificial interaction book cover
1st Edition

Environments of Intelligence
From natural information to artificial interaction

ISBN 9780367348717
Published May 7, 2019 by Routledge
230 Pages

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Book Description

What is the role of the environment, and of the information it provides, in cognition? More specifically, may there be a role for certain artefacts to play in this context? These are questions that motivate "4E" theories of cognition (as being embodied, embedded, extended, enactive). In his take on that family of views, Hajo Greif first defends and refines a concept of information as primarily natural, environmentally embedded in character, which had been eclipsed by information-processing views of cognition. He continues with an inquiry into the cognitive bearing of some artefacts that are sometimes referred to as 'intelligent environments'. Without necessarily having much to do with Artificial Intelligence, such artefacts may ultimately modify our informational environments.

With respect to human cognition, the most notable effect of digital computers is not that they might be able, or become able, to think but that they alter the way we perceive, think and act.

The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.tandfebooks.com/doi/view/10.4324/9781315401867, has been made available under a Creative Commons CC-BY licence

Table of Contents

  1. Preliminaries: Ants and Robots, Parlour Games and Steam Drills
  2. Background


    I Informational Environments

  3. Resurrecting Dretskean Information
  4. Information, Behaviour, and Probability

    The Content of Natural Information, and Some Discontent

    Alternative Information

    Natural Information and the Roots of Intentionality


  5. Varieties of Perception
  6. Perception as Information Processing: The Computational View

    Information Specifies Affordances: The Ecological View

    Perceptual Illusions vs. Misperception: The Empirical Strategy


  7. The Domains of Natural Information
  8. Natural Information and Reference Classes

    Informational Domains

    Resurrection at Last


  9. Making an Environment
  10. History, Ecology, Environment

    Adapting Ecological Niches

    Construction and Constitution


  11. What is an Informational Environment?
  12. Environmental Information and the Use of Cognition

    What Informational Environments Are

    How Informational Environments Change


    II Environments of Intelligence

  13. The Extension of the Extended Mind
  14. The Extension of Functional Histories

    The Constitution of Cognitive Extensions

    Constitutional Matters

    The Art of Coupling, Basic and Advanced


  15. The Nature of Cognitive Artefacts
  16. Being Guided by Pictures

    Cognitive Artefacts and Informational Environments

    Convergence and Isomorphism


  17. The Intelligence of Environments

Evolutionary and Cognitive Robotics

Embodied Conversational Agents and Social Robotics

Second Life

Mixed Reality Games

Augmented Reality

Naturalising the Artificial



10 Afterthoughts on Conceptual Analysis and Human Nature

A Domain for Conceptual Analysis

A Naturalist’s View of Human Nature and Machines


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Hajo Greif teaches at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), Technical University of Munich, Germany, and the Department of Philosophy, University of Klagenfurt, Austria. His research interests cover the philosophy – and some of the history and the social studies – of science and technology, as well as the philosophy of mind.


"An absorbing volume that integrates an extraordinarily wide area of work, with interesting observations and new twists right to the end."

Ruth Millikan, University of Connecticut, USA