Work is an important activity in which people participate to make a living. For a long time, researchers have explored the environmental and personal factors related to human motivation and adaptation to work, and discussed how to support individuals in their occupation or workplace. In present Japan, many problems are arising in work;for example, increase of “hikikomori” and increased frequency of job change. Therefore, in the present situation, we also need to identify how an individual reacts to the responsibilities and difficulties of work, and their experiences of working. This research aims to examine these aspects through the study of craftwork. We investigated the professional life and psychological conflicts of craftsmen of traditional Japanese crafts “Odawarasikki” and “Kamakurabori.” The primary method of investigation was interviews with experienced craftsmen and sellers. The first, the participants tended to focus on various social constraints, such as careful evaluation of the product and economic uneasiness. Some participants also reported subjective happiness when they were able to share their products with customers. Moreover, it was suggested that this subjective happiness is linked to their ongoing commitment to their work. This paper discusses the types of connections between the individual and the activity system that support their commitment to work and provide happiness at work.
We examined how Japanese non-synesthetes associate colors to kana characters (Japanese syllabic graphemes). Kana consists of two distinct and corresponding subsets, hiragana and katakana, which represent the same set of syllables but differ in their shapes and usage, etc. For each of 92 kana characters, participants chose the most suitable color from 11 basic color terms. The same test was repeated with a two-week interval. Results showed comparable biases and regularities in their kana-color associations, though, which were not as temporally consistent as those of grapheme-color synesthetes. As suggested for grapheme-color synesthetes in past studies, linguistic and cognitive properties of the characters and colors regulated their associations: earlier characters in the syllabary order tended to be associated with earlier colors in the Berlin and Kay’s typology order, color word frequency order, and/or the subjective color ranking order. Besides, color choices for hiragana characters and those for their katakana counterparts were remarkably consistent, showing that characters sharing the same sound tended to be associated with the same colors. This tendency is comparable with that reported for Japanese synesthetes. It is suggested that grapheme-color associations of both non-synesthetes and synesthetes depend on common linguistic and cognitive processes during language and knowledge acquisition.
This paper analyzes the relationship between costume making as a hobby and interaction with the other family members and articfacts in a room represented in fieldwork study of a female informant aged 26 participating in “Costume Play” community. First we frame this work as an effort to think about their making at home using the concept of “interest-driven” activities and poaching. Then we share our methodology based on video observation and reflective interview. Our analysis of the scenes revealed that a hobby at home (especially, sawing) is a valuable venue for observing about subjective design process with some artifacts not only for sawing but also TV, DVD, laptop,smart phone and so on. In addition, continuing one’s hobby at home is to collocate one’s interest with the other family members’ multiple interests.
In this issue of the Cognitive Studies, we invited a paper titled “Understanding consciousness through category theory” by N. Tsuchiya and H. Saigo. In this paper, they illustrate their intriguing challenge for a new scientific approach to consciousness on the basis of category theory. Their idea and claim are potentially attractive for research on consciousness, but some readers may have a difficulty to evaluate them, due to its multi-disciplinary nature connecting neuroscientific findings on consciousness and category theory. Thus, the editorial board of the Cognitive Studies also invited the six experts from different areas to provide a variety of discussions and comments on the paper by Tsuchiya and Saigo.
One of the biggest mysteries in current science is how subjective experience, or consciousness, arises from objective substance and its physical interactions, such as human brains. Since 1990s, empirical and scientific studies on the relationship between consciousness and brain have advanced massively, especially thanks to neuroscientific approaches. Despite its empirical progress, there remains skeptical philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists, who consider the science of consciousness is impossible,partly because the concept of consciousness is so difficult to define. Due to this difficulty, they argue, scholars who claim that they are empirically researching consciousness even do not know what they themselves are talking about. These skeptics hold that scientific methods cannot be applied to concepts that are not possible to define. In this article, we argue that consciousness is possible to rigorously define in a strict mathematical sense. To build this logic, we introduce category theory, which is a theory developed in mathematics in the latter half of the 20th century. Category theory is a framework originally invented to deal with relationships among objects, in particular between algebra and geometry. In recent years, category theory has been recognized for its potential to be applied to consciousness research. Throughout this paper, we propose several concrete examples of Consciousness Category and, eventually, we conclude that we can apply “Yoneda’s lemma” to Consciousness Category. Yoneda’s lemma, one of the most fundamental and powerful tools in category theory, says, in simple terms,that definitions of any concept is the same as descriptions of all relationships between the concept and the others. This striking viewpoint, which is founded mathematically,provides the validity to the act of defining consciousness through descriptions of relationships. We end with a future perspective; enriching Consciousness Category will provide a common language among researchers who disagree in some aspects of their respective definitions of consciousness. Common language is a necessary component for the big breakthrough to solve the mystery of consciousness.
Tsuchiya & Saigo (2019) proposed the way of understanding consciousness based on category theory. In this commentary, I discussed four points about their article: 1.Validity of their treatment of the definition and model of consciousness, 2. Verifiability and novelty of their proposal using Yoneda lemma, 3. Lack of extensive review of consciousness studies, and 4. Readers' images and the unity of image.
Tsuchiya & Saigo (2019) proposed the idea that the category theory is the powerful tool for scientific approach towards the mystery of consciousness. Perception, illusion,and consciousness are closely related, and so they also analyzed how to understand the phenomena in some types of visual illusion in terms of the category theory. In this commentary, I discuss about some perceptual phenomena and their theories, such as visual illusion, perceptual constancy, bistable figures, and ill-posed problem of perception, and the limitation of the current theory. Although the power of category theory in the cognitive science is still unclear, I also discuss the potential of category theory to understand illusion and perception from different viewpoint than the existing theories.
In their paper of this issue, N. Tsuchiya and H. Saigo attempt to define consciousness on the basis of category theoretic notions. This commentary has three aims. The first is to clarify what exactly they mean by “the definition of consciousness”. The second is to examine to what extent their attempt is successful. The third is to suggest why category theory is considered to be useful to describe/define conscious phenomena.
“Understanding consciousness through category theory” by N. Tsuchiya and H. Saigo is an ambitious attempt to build up a framework for understanding the level and content of consciousness by category theory with specific examples. I basically agree with all attempts to develop new mathematical tools and apply them to psychological phenomena. However, it seems that there are some mistakes or lack of consideration in the paper, as I point it out as follows. First, I discuss problems that arise when linking the phenomenon of consciousness to the concept of category theory. Second, I argue the significance of using category theory for structural comparison between two systems. Third, I point out a fundamental difficulty in “defining” consciousness by mathematical concepts. Overall, like integrated information theory, the application of category theory does not seem to have solved the conceptual and philosophical problems when dealing with consciousness so far.
Category theory was born within developments of algebraic topology in the midtwentieth century, and soon thereafter endorsed as the avant-garde, structural foundation of mathematics that liberates her from material set theory (or its ‘pernicious idioms’ as Wittgenstein calls them). Today it serves as a transdisciplinary foundation of the sciences, including, inter alia, physical, computational, and some social sciences. Despite the striking success in AI and NLP, applications to the life and cognitive sciences have been limited for various reasons. Here we present a critical perspective on an allegedly categorical theory of consciousness, yet another case of ‘fashionable nonsense’or a ‘new kind of science’, and in doing so, we elucidate what it consists in to define consciousness and alleged categories of it. We conclude with the moral of the discussion drawn in light of the epistemology of interdisciplinary studies whilst repurposing the Sokal/co-Sokal affair for a healthier ecology of discourse transgressing the boundaries.
In their paper of this issue, N. Tsuchiya and H. Saigo have proposed a new approach to understand some aspect of consciousness on the basis of category theoretic notions. In my commentary on it, I will raise a few questions on a central assumption of their arguments, which their theory implicitly requires. That is, first of all, the level and the content of consciousness would be respectively represented by a category. Taking this argument, and extending their instantiation of a category of conscious content, it leads a poorly structured category such as something equivalent to a discrete category. With this, and other critiques raised in this commentary, their category theoretic formulation of consciousness would need a major revision on their presumptions to be any useful model of consciousness.