Linus Ta-Lun Huang

BS in Biological Science, NYMU, Taiwan
MS in Cognitive Neuroscience, NYMU, Taiwan
MA in Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, USA

My dissertation entitled “Neuro-Democracy” investigates the “cognitive coordination problem”: how do the specialized mechanisms which constitute a given cognitive system coordinate with each other to produce intelligent behavior. I argue that the human mind can be productively modelled as a "society" of "agents" that coordinate with each other through "democratic" principles implemented in the basal ganglia; these “democratic” procedures, actively managing and taking advantage of the “wisdom-of-the-crowds effect”, bring about the emergent intelligence of the final “collective” responses. This account is grounded in recent computational neuroscience literature (hierarchical and model-based/free controls, sequential sampling models of decision-making, and models of the basal ganglia), social and Bayesian decision theories, and a legacy of literature in which the mind is understood using the metaphor of a society.

In contrast to recent work in the cognitive sciences which has been primarily concerned with individual domains and mechanisms, this research takes up the issue regarding how cognitive systems function integratively to produce intelligent behavior and reassesses the debates in cognitive architecture. Drawing on advance in cognitive science and decision theory, I develop a novel computational-level analysis and mechanistic sketch of an anti-Cartesian architecture of mind. This development will require us to re-evaluate the relevance of population thinking to cognitive science, the importance of subcortical structures to higher executive functions, and cognitive science’s philosophical implications to moral psychology.

For more details and my current CV and papers, please see