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Efficient CognitionThe Evolution of Representational Decision Making$
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Armin W. Schulz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037600

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037600.001.0001

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The Evolution of Conative Representational Decision Making

The Evolution of Conative Representational Decision Making

(p.117) 6 The Evolution of Conative Representational Decision Making
Efficient Cognition

Armin W. Schulz

The MIT Press

This chapter defends a cognitive-efficiency-based account of the evolution of conative representational decision making. The core idea behind this account is that, similarly to cognitive representational decision makers, conative representational decision makers can, in some circumstances, adjust more easily to a changed environment and streamline their neural decision making machinery. However, as I also make clearer, the origins of these benefits are different here than in the case of cognitive representational decision making: they center on patterns in the way the organism reacts to the world, and not on patterns in the states of the world that the organism can react to. This has some important implications for the situations in which conative representational decision making is adaptive relative to when cognitive representational decision making is adaptive. The chapter ends by combining the picture laid out here with that laid out in the previous chapter to develop a clearer account of the relationship between the evolution of conative and the evolution of cognitive representational decision making.

Keywords:   cognitive efficiency, neural efficiency, goal, rules, rule-following, evolution of mental representation

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