UTism 2016

Work in Progress:
The Cognitive Science of Development

The Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence Students’ Association (CASA) and the Cognitive Science program at the University of Toronto present UTism – a biennial conference that brings together individuals from diverse perspectives to promote an interdisciplinary intellectual exchange on the study of the mind.

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.