UTISM 2016

The Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence Students’ Association is happy to announce the 7th iteration of the University of Toronto Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Mind (UTism), titled ‘Work in Progress: The Cognitive Science of Development’. Development is crucial to the study of the mind. Whether it be language acquisition, the trials of childhood, or the origins of life itself, there is something about how system’s changes in organization over time that gives rise to capabilities that were not intrinsic to the initial state of that system. Several of the talks are available here.

Speakers

                    Linda Smith (Keynote)
                    Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences
                    Indiana University Bloomington

                    Jill de Villiers (Keynote)
                    Sophia & Austin Smith Professor of Psychology & Philosophy
                    Smith College

                    Josh Bongard
                    Associate Professor of Computer Science
                    University of Vermont

                    David Witherington
                    Associate Professor of Psychology
                    University of New Mexico

                    Ana Pérez-Leroux
                    Professor of Spanish and Linguistics and Director of the Cognitive Science Program
                    University of Toronto

                    John Vervaeke
                    Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and the Cognitive Science and Buddhism, Psychology, and                     Mental Health Programs
                    University of Toronto

                    Denis Walsh
                    Professor in the Department of Philosophy and in the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science                     and Technology
                    University of Toronto

                    Daphna Buchsbaum
                    Assistant Professor of Psychology
                    University of Toronto

Conference Abstract

How does a system changing its organization over time grant it new capacities for action? This question seems to be at the heart of much of the work on development in psychology, linguistics, computer science, robotics, biology, and philosophy. How generalizable some model of development is, how to model a developing system, how to create systems that we expect to develop in some particular way, and what kind of place developmental explanations have in philosophy of science are all important and open questions with interesting current work being done on them. It is at the intersection of these kinds of questions where some of the most fundamental and important issues arise.

Each of these big issues depends on the particulars of research in many fields on developing motor skills in humans and machines, on language acquisition, on developing reasoning abilities, on epigenetics, on machine learning, among many others. Finding answers to these big questions in ways that will illuminate these particulars in new and interesting ways will involve fulfilling the promise of Cognitive Science: answering big questions about the mind in an interdisciplinary way. This symposium aims to part of doing just such a thing by bringing together researchers from many different fields to facilitate interdisciplinary dialog and in doing so tackle the hard problems in development.