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Cognition in Geosciences - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9789073834415, 9789073834682

Cognition in Geosciences

1st Edition

The feeding loop between geo-disciplines, cognitive sciences and epistemology

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Authors: Paolo Dell'Aversana
eBook ISBN: 9789073834682
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 12th April 2014
Page Count: 204
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Cognition in Geosciences: The Feeding Loop Between Geo-disciplines, Cognitive Sciences and Epistemology presents the basic idea that the geosciences can contribute to elucidate some unsolved problems of epistemology and cognition. This book introduces the fundamental concept of a semantic system, which comprises information plus human resources and technology. Organized into nine chapters, this book begins with an overview of the fundamental processes of macro-cognition, including spatial perception, creativity, information clustering, information processing, and concept formation. This text then explains how theory and practice in geophysics can elucidate many basic aspects of high level cognition. Other chapters consider the concept of semantic entropy to provide a measure of how much information has been integrated in order to derive coherent significances. This book discusses as well the complexity of linguistic communication in the geosciences. The final chapter deals with the aesthetic experience. This book is a valuable resource for psychologists and neurologists.


Students, researchers, professionals and all those who are interested in exploring the cognitive and epistemological fundamentals of the Earth sciences. It can be useful also for managers leading creative teams, as well as to philosophers of science and cognitive scientists.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Special Editor Peter Hubral


Summary of the Book

Key Ideas

1 The Debate about Human Mind


1.1 Introduction: The Role of Geosciences

1.2 Cognitive Sciences: An Overview

1.2.1 First Steps

1.2.2 Cybernetics

1.2.3 Information

1.2.4 Artificial Intelligence

1.2.5 Connectionism

1.2.6 Critiques to Connectionism

1.2.7 Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System

1.2.8 Cognitive Neural-Psychology

1.2.9 Neural Aggregates and Biology of Intelligent Behavior

1.3 Final Remarks

2 Circular Thinking in Geophysics


2.1 Introduction

2.2 Inversion: An Overview

2.3 Cooperative Inversions

2.4 Integration Loop of Seismic, Electromagnetic and Gravity Data in a Thrust Belt Region

2.4.1 The Geophysical Problem

2.4.2 The Workflow

2.4.3 Continuing the Loop

2.5 Looking At Geophysics from a Different Point of View

2.5.1 Circularity and Feedback

2.5.2 Searching For Coherency and Consistency

2.5.3 Gestalt

2.5.4 Relationships, Analogical Thinking and Expanded Concepts

2.6 Final Remarks

3 Significance in Philosophy and in Geosciences


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Theories of the Significance

3.2.1 Origins of the Question of the Significance

3.2.2 Modern Analysis of the Question of the Significance

3.3 Significance in Geosciences

3.3.1 Contextuality and Compositionality in Geophysics

3.3.2 Contextuality and Compositionality in Geology

3.3.3 Usage and Intentionality

3.3.4 Denotation and Sense in Geosciences

3.3.5 The Interpretative Nature of Geosciences

3.3.6 Additional Aspects

3.4 A Geological Puzzle

3.5 Integration

3.6 Joint Operators in Geosciences

3.7 Semantic Entropy

3.8 A Simple Experiment

3.9 Entropies

3.10 Examples of Entropy Trend in Geophysics

3.11 Biology of the Significance

3.12 The Significance of Significance

3.13 Final Remarks

4 from Significance to Creativity


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Semantic Systems

4.2.1 Principle of Separation

4.2.2 Beyond Subject-Object Dualism

4.3 Dynamics of Semantic Systems

4.4 Semantic Transformations: From Integration to Creativity

4.5 Oscillations

4.6 An Example of Creativity in the Geoscience Community

4.6.1 Towards a Critical Zone (Period 1990-2000)

4.6.2 Towards a New Paradigm (Period 2000-2010)

4.6.3 Solving for Residual Inconsistencies (Period 2010-2015)

4.6.4 Towards a Breakthrough (Period 2015-2020)

4.7. Semantic Landscapes

4.8 Final Remarks

5 Biological, Semantic and Neural Populations


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Recursive Processes, Convergences and Oscillations

5.2.1 Logistic Map

5.2.2 Free Information

5.2.3 From Free Information to Semantic Entropy

5.3 Dynamical Systems, Attractors and Chaos

5.4 Attractors in Geosciences

5.5 Attractors in Neural Activity

5.5.1 Neural Oscillations

5.5.2 Neurodynamics and Freeman’s Theory

5.6 Practical Implications

5.7 Final Remarks

6 Knowledge and Complexity in the Geosciences


6.1 Introduction

6.2 Knowledge: An Historical Overview

6.3 Complexity

6.4 Dissipative Systems

6.5 Complexity in the Geosciences

6.5.1 Complexity and Fractals

6.5.2 Complexity and Fractals in Geological Phenomena

6.5.3 Complexity and Fractals in Human Cognition

6.5.4 Complexity and Fractals in Human Organisations

6.6 Dissipative Systems in the Geosciences

6.6.1 Metamorphism

6.6.2 Volcanism

6.7 Semantic Systems, Complexity and Dissipative Systems

6.8 Semantic Systems in the Geosciences

6.9 Final Remarks

7 Language and Communication in the Geosciences


7.1 Introduction

7.2 Language

7.3 Language in the Geosciences

7.3.1 From Binary to Fuzzy Significances

7.3.2 The Concept of Data

7.3.3 True, False and Significant

7.3.4 Truth, Coherence and Consistency

7.3.5 True and False in the Geosciences

7.3.6 Dialectics

7.3.7 It Works … It Does Not Work

7.4 Communication in the Geosciences

7.4.1 Technical Presentations in Geosciences

7.4.2 A Simple Experiment

7.4.3 The Misunderstanding Domains

7.4.4 A Familiar Analogy

7.4.5 The Link between Misunderstanding and Semantic Entropy

7.4.6 Improving the Communication

7.5 Final Remarks

8 Aesthetics and Geosciences


8.1 Introduction

8.2 The Modern Concept of Aesthetics

8.3 The Aesthetics of the Significance: Shape and Process

8.4 Aesthetics and Geosciences

8.5 Final Remarks

9 Conclusions: Beyond Every Dualism


A.1 Summary of Plato’s Cratylus

A.2 Note about Saint Thomas Aquinas

A.2.1 Life

A.2.2 Epistemology

A.3 Walter J. Freeman about Thomas Aquinas

A.3.1 Nonlinear Brain Dynamics and Intention According to Aquinas

A.4 The Faculty of Judgment in Kant

A.5 Gottlob Frege

A.5.1 Basic Ideas about Logic and Mathematics

A.5.2 Frege’s Philosophy of Language

A.5.3 Frege’s Theory of Sense and Denotation

A.6 The Brain as a System Addressed to Integration of Information

A.6.1 The Ideas of Giulio Tononi

A.6.2 The Ideas of Gerald Maurice Edelman

Comments by Peter Hubral





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© Academic Press 2014
12th April 2014
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Paolo Dell'Aversana

Paolo Dell'Aversana

Dr. Dell‘Aversana has degrees in Geology, Physics, and the Philosophy of Science and Aesthetics. He began his career in geophysics in 1988 working in industry. He then worked as temporary researcher at the Department of Geophysics and Volcanology at Naples University. He has held the position of Technical Leader and Senior Geophysicist in Eni SpA since 2002. He is an expert in joint inversion of multi-disciplinary geophysical data, borehole electromagnetics, rock physics, and seismic tomography. He was selected for the 2004 EAGE programme of Distinguished Lecturers and for the 2014/2015 EAGE Student Lecture Tour in Europe. Dr. Dell‘Aversana has published 30 extended abstracts, 40 papers, and 2 scientific books, one of which is Elsevier’s Cognition in Geosciences: The Feeding Loop between Geo-disciplines, Cognitive Sciences and Epistemology (2013).

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Geophysicist, Milan, Italy

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