Interactivist Summer Institute

July 23-27, 2001

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 



It’s happening: research threads in multiple fields scattered across the mind-sciences seem to be converging towards a point where the classical treatment of representation within the encodingist framework is felt as an impasse. A rethinking of the methods, concepts, arguments, facts, etc. is needed and, so it seems, is being found in the interactivist approach. From research in human cognition, motivation, and development, through consciousness, sociality, and language, to artificial intelligence, post-behaviorist cognitive robotics, and interface design, we are witnessing the appearance of projects where the assumptions of interactivism are embraced. More often then not, this is in an implicit manner, so that at a superficial level those projects (the problems they deal with, the methods they use…) seem to be incommensurable. However, underneath, one can feel their interactivist gist. The time is right (and ripe) we felt, to articulate this “irrational” (in Feyerabendian sense) pressure for change at a programmatic level, and this is what we want to accomplish with the present workshop. The workshop will be preceded by a Summer School in Interactivism featuring several tutorials which are meant to provide the needed theoretical background, based mainly on Mark Bickhard and his collaborators’ work. The intention is for this Institute to become a traditional annual meeting where those sharing the core ideas of interactivism will meet and discuss their work, try to reconstruct its historical roots, put forward current research in different fields that fits the interactivist framework, and define research topics for prospective graduate students. People working in philosophy of mind, linguistics, social sciences, artificial intelligence, cognitive robotics, and other fields related to the sciences of mind are invited to send their statement of interest for participation to the organizers (see details below).


Mark Bickhard <>
John C. Christopher <>
Wayne Christensen <>
Robert Campbell <>
Georgi Stojanov <>
Goran Trajkovski <>


• Foundations of Interactivism
Process metaphysics
• Cognition and Representation
Representation emergent in action systems
Dissolution of problems of skepticism, error, Chinese room, etc.
Heuristic learning
Rationality and negative knowledge
• Agents
Autonomous agents
• Persons
Social processes and realities


Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, USA
Institute for Interactive Studies
Cognitive Science Program
Humanities Research Center
SS Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Macedonia
West Virginia University at Parkersburg


Participation will be limited to 30 people and by invitation only;
People wishing to participate should submit a short curriculum vitae and a statement of interest to Interactivist Summer Institute. Please include e-mail address and/or fax number, if available. Applications should be received by March 15, 2001. Notification of acceptance will be provided by April 15, 2001.
The meeting will take place in the conference room The Governor's Suite, Iaccoca Hall (tentative).;
A small number of scholarships for partial financial support will be provided by the organizers for graduate students or postdocs.


If you are interested in the issues mentioned above and wish to share your thoughts and research results with like-minded people, please submit an extended abstract or full paper via email with attached files (in ASCII, rtf, or Word) to:

Interactivist Summer Institute (

Abstracts and papers should be sent taking into account the following format:

  1. Major theme of the paper, related to the major themes given above.
  2. Paper title.
  3. Extended abstract of 500 to 1500 words and/or paper drafts of 2000 to 5000 words, in English.
  4. Author or co-authors with names, addresses, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address.

All abstracts will be refereed by an independent panel of experts. The judgments of the referees will determine the list of papers to be presented at the conference.


Applications: March 15
Submission of papers: March 15
Notification date: April 15
Receipt of registration fee: May 15
On campus housing reservation (see below): June 30
Off campus housing reservation (see below): June 22


Standard registration fee: $150
Student registration fee: $100

Checks should be made out to: Interactivist Summer Institute

    Mail to:

Mark H. Bickhard
Interactivist Summer Institute
17 Memorial Drive East
Bethlehem, PA 18015

For wire transfers:
Wire address:

First Union National Bank
Funds Transfer Department
Attention: NC0803
1525 West W.T. Harris Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28288-0803
ABA # 031201467
Account # 2100012444293
Account Name: Lehigh University

For international wires, these additional identification numbers are required:
CHIPS Participant #0509

You must include your name and identify that the transfer is for the Interactivist Summer Institute.


Housing is available both on campus and off campus.

Off campus housing is with Comfort Suites, and is within easy walking distance of the main Lehigh campus. The rates are $80/night for a single and $85/night for a double. Please contact (by 22 Jun 01):

Comfort Suites
120 W 3rd
Bethlehem, PA 18015

On campus housing is available both air-conditioned (Trembly Park) and not air-conditioned (Gamma Phi Beta). For on campus housing, please fill out and return (by 30 Jun 01) the Interactivist Summer Institute housing form. PDF file. Word file.


The easiest way to get to Bethlehem is to fly into Lehigh Valley International Airport (known as ABE, from Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton - LVI is already taken by Las Vegas International Airport). There are direct flights from Chicago, for example, for those coming from the west, and also flights from the South (e.g., Atlanta). Flying into New York, particularly Newark Airport, also works well. There are buses to Bethlehem from Newark Airport and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. So, from Kennedy or LaGuardia, you first go the Port Authority, and then get a bus to Bethlehem. The bus company is:

Trans Bridge Lines
2012 Industrial Drive

The Industrial Drive terminal is the main bus terminal, and taxis are available to the Lehigh campus.

Lehigh Valley Taxi: 610-867-6000
Quick Service Taxi: 610-434-8132
Airport Taxi Service: 610-231-2000

There is also a South Bethlehem terminal that is within walking distance of Comfort Suites and of campus (though it would a little long with luggage), but fewer buses make that stop. Philadelphia airport is closer than Newark airport, but getting to Bethlehem from there is harder than from Newark. You get to the Philadelphia bus station (probably by taxi, though there is a train to downtown Philadelphia), and then take a bus (Bieber Tours) to Bethlehem: it's roughly the equivalent in complication of coming through Kennedy airport.


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