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Dr Pamela Lyon
ARC Postdoctoral Fellow
708 Napier Building
North Terrace Campus

Email: Pamela Lyon
Phone: +61 8 8303 4920
Fax: +61 8 8303 4341

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Cognitive biology

Ladislav Kovác , a biochemist in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia), has been working for many years on the foundations of cognitive biology, using Maturana and Varela's work on autopoiesis and the biology of cognition as a starting point. See his online paper on the "Principles of Cognitive Biology".

Jochen Braun heads the Cognitive Biology Group (KoBi) at the Otto-won-Guericke University in Magdeburg (Germany). His research interests include the neural basis of visual perception, attention, and awareness; visual psychophysics and the representation of visual information in cortex; and models of population encoding and their dependence on attention.

Congenial approaches

Interactivism. Mark H. Bickhard  (LeHigh University, USA) is a psychologist and cognitive scientist who for nearly three decades has been developing and elaborating a biologically based alternative to cognitivism, now the focus of the Institute for Interactivist Studies, which he directs.  Interactivism, as Bickhard describes it, "is a metaphysical and theoretical approach to understanding phenomena of biology, mind, persons, and social reality." The approach emphasizes "a strict naturalism and a process metaphysics" in understanding emergent phenomena, such as the individual and social aspects of mentality.   

'Autonomy' Theorists. A number of different thinkers have approached cognition as an emergent property of complex, dynamical adaptive systems, of which biological organisms are the paradigmatic example. Until relatively recently, the focus of this research in Australia was the  Complex Adaptive Systems Research Group established and headed by Professor Cliff Hooker at the University of Newcastle. Members of this group who continue to push back the theoretical boundaries in this area, but at different institutions, include Wayne Christensen (Macquarie University, AUS)  and John Collier (University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA).  For many years Alvaro Moreno and colleagues in the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of the Basque Country (Spain) have pursued a similar program, which now finds focus at that institution in the Information and Autonomous Systems research group.