Center for Neurophilosophy and Ethics of Neurosciences

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Quantum-like approaches in cognitive modeling and neuroscience

PhD Project Cameron Beebe

There are a growing number of quantum-like approaches to issues in cognitive science, and rigorous philosophical analysis is arguably lagging behind. Quantum-like models of memory and reasoning aim to exploit supposed explanatory gaps of other models by embracing properties traditionally associated with quantum mechanics and quantum information theory. The aim of this proposed research project is to investigate this growing use of quantum-like models in cognitive science (in both contexts of reasoning and in modeling neural mechanisms), and to use formal methodologies from logic and philosophy of physics to critically analyze the use of these models. There are philosophical questions regarding the use of these models, such as the extent to which they depend on the appeal to quantum properties or are subject to similar types of objections as other proposed quantum brain theories (i.e. a decoherence objection). My hypothesis is that, while formal similarities do occur between these models and the mathematics used in quantum mechanics, these approaches do not necessarily depend upon this formal relationship to the quantum domain to obtain their legitimacy. A dissertation should clearly address the questions raised in this proposal, and will benefit from fruitful collaboration with members from the GSN and MCMP.