Marius Usher

Paper: Convergence/Divergence Dynamics Grounds Guidance Control, Agent-Autonomy and Responsibility

The key property that distinguishes agents from things, is their ability to cause effects in a reliable (teleological) way, characterized as robust/reliable causation, in the sense that the agent brings about the action, not only in the actual world, but in an ensemble of similar-worlds (perturbations). An agent has responsibility for an action, when the action can be teleologically tracked back to the agent but no further.

 I received my PhD in Physics at Tel-Aviv University with a dissertation on neural computation. Following this I pursued postdoctoral training in visual psychophysics (Weizmann Institute), in computational-neuroscience (Caltech) and cognitive psychology (Carnegie Mellon University). In 1995 I started to lecture in Psychology in England (University of Kent and Birkbeck College, London). From 2005 I was a Professor of Cognitive Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2008 I returned and started to teach at Tel-Aviv University. My research focuses on dynamic processes in cognition (in particular decision-making) and implications for topics in philosophy of mind (in particular, Free-Will).