Environments of Intelligence: From natural information to artificial interaction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Environments of Intelligence

From natural information to artificial interaction, 1st Edition

By Hajo Greif


218 pages

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Paperback: 9780367348717
pub: 2019-07-05
Hardback: 9781138222328
pub: 2017-08-23

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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


"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

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


About the Author

Hajo Greif is Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Ethics in Administration, Warsaw University of Technology. He also works as Senior Researcher at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), Technical University of Munich. His research interests cover the philosophy – and some of the history an the social studies – of science and technology, as well as the philosophy of mind.

About the Series

History and Philosophy of Technoscience

Even though technoscientific research is as old as alchemy and pharmacy, agricultural research and synthetic chemistry, philosophers of science had little to say about it until recently. This book series is the first to explicitly accept the challenge to study not just technical aspects of theory development and hypothesis testing but the specific ways in which knowledge is produced in a technological setting. When one seeks to achieve basic capabilities of manipulation, visualization, or predictive control, how are problems defined and research fields established, what kinds of explanations are sought, how are findings validated, what are the contributions of different kinds of expertise, how do epistemic and social values enter into the research process? And most importantly for civic observers of contemporary research: how is robustness and reliability achieved even in the absence of complete scientific understanding?

Editorial Board: Hanne Andersen (University of Copenhagen), Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (University of Paris, Sorbonne), Martin Carrier (University of Bielefeld), Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds), Don Howard (University of Notre Dame), Ann Johnson (Cornell University), Cyrus Mody (Maastricht University), Maureen O'Malley (University of Sydney), Roger Strand (University of Bergen), Nancy Tuana (Pennsylvania State University).

Direct inquiries to Alfred Nordmann [e-mail link: [email protected]] or Robert Langham [e-mail link: [email protected]].

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects

Open Access Book

Read Environments of Intelligence - Open Access. Open Access content has been made available under a Creative Commons CC-BY license.