Context: Most constructivist discourse is situated at the philosophical-conceptual level, where arguments appeal to the intuition of the reader, while formal-computational models have only been taken into account to a very limited degree so far. Problem: Two types of problems need to be addressed: Synthetically, can constructivist concepts be turned into actual computational implementations? Can these be further conceptual developments in constructivist theory as such, or are they just an application thereof? Conceptually, does the notion of computation square with constructivist approaches at all? Method: Paradigmatically, we discuss the meaning of “computational” in cognitive agents that comply with constructivist concepts. Also, we summarize the contributions. Results: From a constructivist point of view, the concept of “computational model” is ambiguous and depends on whether it is used in the sense of the computational(ist) theory of mind or simply as a tool. Implications: The insights presented in the contributions to this special issue point in the direction of a computational extension of constructivist approaches as well as a constructivist extension to computational approaches. However, while many of the questions we posed were discussed in the contributions and open peer commentaries, some of them were largely neglected and thus are subject to further discussion.
Key words: Artificial intelligence, artificial life, cognitive sciences, computation, computational theory of mind, constructivism, models
Riegler A., Stewart J. & Ziemke T. (2013) Computation, Cognition and Constructivism: Introduction to the Special Issue. Constructivist Foundations 9(1): 1–6. Available at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/9/1/001.riegler