Where the Sun never Shines
Emerging Paradigms of Post-enlightened Cognition
In this paper I elaborate on models of »post-enlightened cognition« that fall squarely in place with current research paradigms in cognitive neuroscience, psychology and artificial intelligence. I show how the design of machine learning algorithms is entangled with research on creativity and pathology in cognitive neuroscience and psychology through and interest in »episodic memory« and various forms of »spontaneous thought.« The most prominent instances of spontaneous thought – mind wandering and day dreaming – appear when the demands of the environment abate and have for a long time been stigmatized as signs of distraction or conceived to be of pathological character. Recent research in cognitive neuroscience, however, conceptualizes spontaneous thought as serving the purpose of, e.g., creative problem solving and invokes older discussions around the links between creativity and pathology. I discuss how attendant attempts at differentiating creative cognition from its pathological forms in contemporary psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and AI confronts traditional understandings of rational decision making with its post-enlightened Other.