The Sequential Imperative

General Cognitive Principles and the Structure of Behaviour


In The Sequential Imperative William Edmondson explains how deep study of linguistics – from phonetics to pragmatics – can be the basis for understanding the organization of behaviour in any organism with a brain. The work demonstrates that Cognitive Science needs to be anchored in a linguistic setting. Only then can Cognitive Scientists reach out to reconsider the nature of consciousness and to appreciate the functionality of all brains.

The core functionality of the brain – any brain, any species, any time – is delivery and management of the unavoidable bi-directional transformation between brain states and activity – the Sequential Imperative. Making it all work requires some general cognitive principles and close attention to detail. The book sets out the case in broad terms but also incorporates significant detail where necessary.

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William H. Edmondson Ph.D. (1974, Imperial College, London) is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow (School of Computer Science) at The University of Birmingham, UK. He has published on topics in Astrobiology, Cognitive Science, Speech Processing and Sign Language Linguistics.
List of Illustrations

Part 1: The Sequential Imperative and the Functional Specification of the Brain

Introduction to Part 1
1 The Sequential Imperative – I
2 The Sequential Imperative – II
3 General Cognitive Principles

Part 2: Serving the Sequential Imperative

Introduction to Part 2
4 Structure in Language
5 Non-linear Phonology and Beyond
6 Building a Model

Part 3: Behaviour and Evolution – on and off Planet

Introduction to Part 3
7 Management of the Sequential Imperative
8 Issues in Evolution and Language
9 Language and Consciousness: What is it like to be an ETI ?

The Sequential Imperative is of interest to Cognitive Science students, graduates, and researchers, especially linguists and philosophers. The well-informed general reader will find the material an interesting and challenging read.
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