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Natural Information Processes, Cognition, and Intelligence
1  Chalmers University of Technology and Gothenburg University, Sweden
Academic Editor: María N. Moreno García (registering DOI)

In this talk I will present a framework of natural cognition and intelligence based on info-computation in living agents. The underlying assumption is that cognition in nature is a manifestation of biological processes, that subsume chemical and physical processes (Maturana and Varela 1992; Stewart 1996; Dodig-Crnkovic 2007; Lyon 2005; Lyon and Kuchling 2021), from single cells to humans.

Cognitive science with roots in psychology and philosophy of mind, historically focused on the human as cognizing agent. Recently (Piccinini 2020) presented cognition as result of neurocomputation in organisms with nervous systems. Piccinini goes a step beyond anthropocentric understanding of cognition, but he retains neurocentrism. However, “cognitive operations we usually ascribe to brains—sensing, information processing, memory, valence, decision making, learning, anticipation, problem solving, generalization and goal directedness—are all observed in living forms that don’t have brains or even neurons.(Levin et al. 2021). Thus, we generalize cognition a step further, to include all living forms, not only those with nervous systems.

I will argue that new insights about cognition and its evolution and development in nature (Walker, Davies, and Ellis 2017) (Dodig-Crnkovic 2017), from cellular to human cognition (Manicka and Levin 2019; Levin et al. 2021; Lyon et al. 2021; Stewart 1996; Dodig-Crnkovic 2014) can be modelled as natural information processing - natural computation – morphological computation.

In the info-computational approach, evolution in the sense of extended evolutionary synthesis (Laland et al. 2015; Ginsburg and Jablonka 2019; Jablonka and Lamb 2014) is a result of interactions between natural agents, cells and their groups.

Keywords: Cognition; Natural Information; Natural Computation; Cognitive Evolution; Basal Cognition; Intelligence