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August 08, 2005

Research Notes: co–evolution and the limits of explanation

Follow-up to Research Notes: Multiplicity, co–involution, Being abstract but not generalized from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

By Chapter 5 of Being There, Clark has reviewed the relevant work in robotics, cognitive science and developmental psychology. The slightly understated conclusion seems to be that a vital ingredient is missing: reality, messy, complex, non-linear reality.

This is a key paragraph:

This approach ignores one of the factors that most strongly differentiate real evolutionary adaption from other forms of learning: the ability to coevolve problems and solutions. p.93

The question is, as I read on, will he propose some kind of mechanism for introducing this factor into simulations, and thus quantifying its likely effects and patterns? Or perhaps he will explore the non-linearity of co-evolution further, with the conclusion that it renders a science of embedded cognition to be of limited explanative power?

My bet would be on coming up with toolkit for identifying the situations in which co-evolution occurs within lmits, as distinct from cases when its non-linearity renders problems obsolete faster than the emergence of solutions: a set of systems co-involuting through a shared Body without Organs, with degrees of stability and relative velocities.

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