On the 11th April 2018, the University of Wollongong hosted the first of two planned workshops for 2018 on minimal cognition, tied to an upcoming special issue on the topic for Adaptive Behavior:

From Biology to Mind. Workshop on Minimal Cognition

This workshop aimed to explore recent empirical discoveries on minimal forms of intelligence, in order to set up the basis for an empirically informed philosophical discussion of the origin of cognition. The focus of the discussions were on recent empirical discoveries in minimal cognition (plant learning and signalling, decision making in brainless organisms), phylogenetic and ontogenetic factors in the emergence of cognition, the relationbetween cognition and other (non-biological) processes, explanatory models and approaches, and minimal subjectivity and agency.

10.00-11.00   Madeleine Beekman (University of Sydney) – “Information transfer in swarming honeybees. From brainy individuals to brainless collective”

11.00-12.00   Patrick McGivern (University of Wollongong)“Cognition without life? Active matter and minimal cognition”

12.00-1.00      Lunch (provided)

1.00-2.30        Postgraduate Session:

  • Jules Smith-Ferguson, University of Sydney – “Who needs a brain? Minimal cognition in the slime mould”
  • Lachlan Walmsley, Australian National University – “Marginal Mechanisms and Minimal Cognition”

2.30-3.00        Coffee/Tea/Refreshments

3.00-4.00        Monica Gagliano (University of Perth) – “Inside the Vegetal Mind: on the Cognitive Abilities of Plants”

The workshop was organised by Nick Brancazio and Miguel Segundo-Ortin. It was supported by funding from the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, and a grant from the Australasian Association of Philosophy.

The second workshop took place on October 19th, 2018. See info here.