Cognitive Science Speaker Series talk explores real intelligence

Lightbulb on chalkboard

On Oct. 6, the Cognitive Science Speaker Series returns with a discussion titled “Real intelligence: Avoiding substitution bias, echo chambers and philosophical laundering” featuring Lisa Miracchi, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Headshot of Lisa Miracchi, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania
Lisa Miracchi

Miracchi argues for what she calls a stance of “practical emergence” towards intelligence and related kinds such as perception, knowledge and action. Practical emergence is a commitment in explanatory practice to treating higher-level kinds as distinct from lower-level kinds, such that they cannot be reductively identified in lower-level terms, and to assuming that explanations of them in terms of lower-level kinds may be substantive, in that behaviour of higher-level kinds cannot be logically or mathematically deduced from lower-level behaviour.

Miracchi will flesh out this stance using the Generative Framework for explaining how higher-level kinds obtain in virtue of lower-level kinds. Then, she will show how this stance of practical emergence, bolstered by the Generative Framework, prevents three main pitfalls affecting much contemporary cognitive science, artificial intelligence and robotics research. Miracchi will use examples from contemporary cognitive science and engineering to demonstrate the payoff of retaining higher-level vocabulary in intelligence research. Lastly, she will discuss some important ethical implications of adopting this approach.

The Cognitive Science Speaker Series is presented by York University’s Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. All talks take place on Wednesdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. via Zoom. Prior to each talk, the Zoom link will be emailed to all students and faculty from the cognitive science and philosophy departments. Those who want to attend but are not in those departments can email Professor Jacob Beck at from a York email address to request the Zoom link.