Why are we so many? Or, in other words, Why is our species so successful? The ultimate cause of our success as species is that we, Homo sapiens, are the first and the only Turing complete species. Turing completeness is the capacity of some hardware to compute by software whatever hardware can compute. To reach the answer, I propose to see evolution and computing from the problem solving point of view. Then, solving more problems is evolutionarily better, computing is for (...) solving problems, and software is much cheaper than hardware, resulting that Turing completeness is evolutionarily disruptive. This conclusion, together with the fact that we are the only Turing complete species, is the reason that explains why we are so many. Most of our unique cognitive characteristics as humans can be derived from being Turing complete, as for example our complete language and our problem solving creativity. (shrink)
This short peer-reviewed text is a concise overview of neurodiversity, the natural diversity of human brain functioning including ways that are currently pathologized as disorders. The concept is essential to understanding humans and societies.
A Bayesian mind is, at its core, a rational mind. Bayesianism is thus well-suited to predict and explain mental processes that best exemplify our ability to be rational. However, evidence from belief acquisition and change appears to show that we do not acquire and update information in a Bayesian way. Instead, the principles of belief acquisition and updating seem grounded in maintaining a psychological immune system rather than in approximating a Bayesian processor.
On Certainty was not published until 1969, 18 years after Wittgenstein’s death and has only recently begun to draw serious attention. I cannot recall a single reference to it in all of Searle and one sees whole books on W with barely a mention. There are however xlnt books on it by Stroll, Svensson, McGinn and others and parts of many other books and articles, but hands down the best is that of Daniele Moyal-Sharrock (DMS) whose 2004 volume “Understanding Wittgenstein’s (...) On Certainty” is mandatory for every educated person, and perhaps the best starting point for understanding Wittgenstein (W), psychology, philosophy and life (no I am not joking!). However (in my view) like all analysis of W, they fall far short of grasping his unique and revolutionary advance in describing behavior, suffering from the near universal tunnel vision and failing to put behavior in its broad evolutionary and contemporary scientific context, which I will attempt in skeletal form here. After doing this I will give brief comments on each article in this book of varied perspectives on W’s work. -/- Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019). (shrink)
Planar geometry was exploited for the computation of symmetric visual curves in the image plane, with consistent variations in local parameters such as sagitta, chordlength, and the curves’ height-to-width ratio, an indicator of the visual area covered by the curve, also called aspect ratio. Image representations of single curves (no local image context) were presented to human observers to measure their visual sensation of curvature magnitude elicited by a given curve. Nonlinear regression analysis was performed on both the individual and (...) the average data using two types of model: (1) a power function where. (shrink)
The attempt to construct an applied science of social change raises certain concerns, both theoretical and ethical. The theoretical concerns relate to the feasibility of predicting human behavior with sufficient reliability to ground a science that aspires to the management of social processes. The ethical concerns relate to the moral hazards involved in the modification of human social arrangements, given the unreliability of predicting human action.
Speakers often judge the sentence “Lois Lane believes that Superman flies” to be true and the sentence “Lois Lane believes that Clark Kent flies” to be false. If Millianism is true, however, these sentences express the very same proposition and must therefore have same truth value. “Pragmatic” Millians like Salmon and Soames have tried to explain speakers’ “anti-substitution intuitions” by claiming that the two sentences are routinely used to pragmatically convey different propositions which do have different truth values. “Non-Pragmatic” Millians (...) like Braun, on the other hand, have argued that the Millian should not appeal to pragmatics and opt instead for a purely psychological explanation. I will present two objections against Non-Pragmatic Millianism. The first one is that the view cannot account for the intuitions of speakers who accept the identity sentence “Superman is Clark Kent”: applying a psychological account in this case, I will argue, would yield wrong predictions about speakers who resist substitution with simple sentences. I will then consider a possible response from the non-pragmatic Millian and show that the response would in fact require an appeal to pragmatics. My conclusion will be that Braun’s psychological explanation of anti-substitution intuitions is untenable, and that the Millian is therefore forced to adopt a pragmatic account. My second objection is that Non-Pragmatic Millianism cannot account for the role that certain commonsense intentional generalizations play in the explanation of behavior. I will consider a reply offered by Braun and argue that it still leaves out a large class of important generalizations. My conclusion will be that Braun’s non-pragmatic strategy fails, and that the Millian will again be forced to adopt a pragmatic account of intentional generalizations if he wants to respond to the objection. In light of my two objections, my general conclusion will be that non-pragmatic versions of Millianism should be rejected. This has an important consequence: if Millianism is true, then some pragmatic Millian account must be correct. It follows that, if standard objections against pragmatic accounts succeed, then Millianism must be rejected altogether. (shrink)
We show that true colors as defined by Chevreul (1839) produce unsuspected simultaneous brightness induction effects on their immediate grey backgrounds when these are placed on a darker (black) general background surrounding two spatially separated configurations. Assimilation and apparent contrast may occur in one and the same stimulus display. We examined the possible link between these effects and the perceived depth of the color patterns which induce them as a function of their luminance contrast. Patterns of square-shaped inducers of a (...) single color (red, green, blue, yellow, or grey) were placed on background fields of a lighter and a darker grey, presented on a darker screen. Inducers were always darker on one side of the display and brighter on the other in a given trial. The intensity of the grey backgrounds varied between trials only. This permitted generating four inducer luminance contrasts, presented in random order, for each color. Background fields were either spatially separated or consisted of a single grey field on the black screen. Experiments were run under three environmental conditions: dark-adaptation, daylight, and rod-saturation after exposure to bright light. In a first task, we measured probabilities of contrast, assimilation, and no effect in a three-alternative forced-choice procedure (background appears brighter on the ‘left’, on the ‘right’ or the ‘same’). Visual adaptation and inducer contrast had no significant influence on the induction effects produced by colored inducers. Achromatic inducers produced significantly stronger contrast effects after dark-adaptation, and significantly stronger assimilation in daylight conditions. Grouping two backgrounds into a single one was found to significantly decrease probabilities of apparent contrast. Under the same conditions, we measured probabilities of the inducers to be perceived as nearer to the observer inducers. These, as predicted by Chevreul’s law of contrast, were determined by the luminance contrast of the inducers only, with significantly higher probabilities of brighter inducers to be seen as nearer, and a marked asymmetry between effects produced by inducers of opposite sign. Implications of these findings for theories which attempt to link simultaneous induction effects to the relative depth of object surfaces in the visual field are discussed. (shrink)
It has been suggested that a functionalist understanding of the metaphysics of psychological typing eliminates the prospect for psychological laws. Kim, Millikan, and Shapiro have each separately argued that, if psychological types as functional types are multiply realized, then the diversity of realizing mechanisms demonstrates that there can be no laws of psychology. Additionally, Millikan has argued that the role of functional attribution in the explanation of historical kinds limits the formulation of psychological principles to particular taxa; hence, psychological laws (...) applicable to any cognitive being are not possible. Both arguments against the possibility of psychological laws, I want to suggest, only succeed at showing that certain types of empirical principles will not be laws. I will suggest that a further type of empirical principle, grounded in the general constraints on the sustainability of population types, remains in the running as a candidate law. Importantly, the formulation of these principles presupposes a functionalist understanding of psychological typing. (shrink)
Due to the wide array of phenomena that are of interest to them, psychologists offer highly diverse and heterogeneous types of explanations. Initially, this suggests that the question "What is psychological explanation?" has no single answer. To provide appreciation of this diversity, we begin by noting some of the more common types of explanations that psychologists provide, with particular focus on classical examples of explanations advanced in three different areas of psychology: psychophysics, physiological psychology, and information-processing psychology. To analyze what (...) is involved in these types of explanations, we consider the ways in which law-like representations of regularities and representations of mechanisms factor in psychological explanations. This consideration directs us to certain fundamental questions, e.g., "To what extent are laws necessary for psychological explanations?" and "What do psychologists have in mind when they appeal to mechanisms in explanation?" In answering such questions, it appears that laws do play important roles in psychological explanations, although most explanations in psychology appeal to accounts of mechanisms. Consequently, we provide a unifying account of what psychological explanation is. (shrink)
Laws of nature seem to take two forms. Fundamental physics discovers laws that hold without exception, ‘strict laws’, as they are sometimes called; even if some laws of fundamental physics are irreducibly probabilistic, the probabilistic relation is thought not to waver. In the nonfundamental, or special, sciences, matters differ. Laws of such sciences as psychology and economics hold only ceteris paribus – that is, when other things are equal. Sometimes events accord with these ceteris paribus laws (c.p. laws, hereafter), but (...) sometimes the laws are not manifest, as if they have somehow been placed in abeyance: the regular relation indicative of natural law can fail in circumstances where an analogous outcome would effectively refute the assertion of strict law. Many authors have questioned the supposed distinction between strict laws and c.p. laws. The brief against it comprises various considerations: from the complaint that c.p. clauses are void of meaning to the claim that, although understood well enough, they should appear in all law-statements. These two concerns, among others, are addressed in due course, but first, I venture a positive proposal. I contend that there is an important contrast between strict laws and c.p. laws, one that rests on an independent distinction between combinatorial and noncombinatorial nomic principles.2 Instantiations of certain properties, e.g., mass and charge, nomically produce individual forces, or more generally, causal influences,3 in accordance with noncombinatorial.. (shrink)
University of Colorado, Boulder If there are laws of psychology, they would seem to hold only ceteris paribus (c.p., hereafter), i.e., other things being equal. If a person wants that q and believes that doing a is the most efficient way to make it the case that q, then she will attempt to do a—but not, however, if she believes that a carries with it consequences much more hated than q is liked, or she believes she is incapable of doing (...) a, or she gets distracted from her goal that q, or she suddenly has a severe brain hemorrhage, or.... No one can say precisely where the list ends, but the idea is supposed to be clear enough: normally the law holds, but there are many cases, exceptions, one might say, in which the law does not; the difficulty of characterizing these exceptions invites the qualification ‘c.p.’ as a catch-all. (shrink)
As much as assumptions about mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have deeply affected psychology, they have received disproportionately little analysis in philosophy. After a historical survey of the influences of mechanistic approaches to explanation of psychological phenomena, we specify the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Contrary to some treatments of mechanistic explanation, we maintain that explanation is an epistemic activity that involves representing and reasoning about mechanisms. We discuss the manner in which mechanistic approaches serve to bridge levels rather than (...) reduce them, as well as the different ways in which mechanisms are discovered. Finally, we offer a more detailed example of an important psychological phenomenon for which mechanistic explanation has provided the main source of scientific understanding. (shrink)
How do we find out whether someone is conscious of some information or not? A simple answer is “We just ask them”! However, things are not so simple. Here, we review recent developments in the use of subjective and objective methods in implicit learning research and discuss the highly complex methodological problems that their use raises in the domain.
Psychology is the study of thinking, and cognitive science is the interdisciplinary investigation of mind and intelligence that also includes philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. In these investigations, many philosophical issues arise concerning methods and central concepts. The Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science contains 16 essays by leading philosophers of science that illuminate the nature of the theories and explanations used in the investigation of minds. Topics discussed include representation, mechanisms, reduction, perception, consciousness, language, emotions, (...) neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. Key Features - Comprehensive coverage of philosophy of psychology and cognitive science - Distinguished contributors: leading philosophers in this area - Contributions closely tied to relevant scientific research. (shrink)
In cognitive neuroscience, dissociating the brain networks that ing—has thus become one of the best empirical situations subtend conscious and nonconscious memories constitutes a through which to study the mechanisms of implicit learning, very complex issue, both conceptually and methodologically.
Understanding Behaviorism explains the basis of behavior analysis and its application to human problems in a scholarly but accessible manner. Behaviorism is defined as the proposition that a science of behavior is possible, and the book begins by exploring the question of whether behavior is free or determined, relating behaviorism to pragmatism, and showing how feelings and thoughts can be treated scientifically. Baum then discusses ancient concepts such as purpose, knowledge, and thought, as well as social problems such as freedom, (...) responsibility, government, and culture. (shrink)
P. Churchland argued for the nomological character of action explanation by presenting an alleged law - I call it below L2 - which, according to Churchland, we make use ofimplicitly when explaining rational actions. I shall argue that Churchland 'sargumentation is not complete because he does not exclude an alternative interpretation of L2. According to this alternative interpretation, L2 is not a law, but, it indicates the general form of complete action explanations. I shall argue that this alternative interpretation is (...) more acceptable than Churchland 's interpretation of L2 as a law. Moreover, if the alleged law is interpreted as the general form of action explanations, then Churchland 's article even transforms itself into a confirmation ofthe non-nomological character of action explanation. I conclude my article with some short remarks about action explanation as a kind of non-nomological explanation. (shrink)
This paper argues that Twin Earth twins belong to the same psychological natural kind, but that the reason for this is not that the causal powers of mental states supervene on local neural structure. Fodor’s argument for this latter thesis is criticized and found to rest on a confusion between it and the claim that Putnamian and Burgean type relational psychological properties do not affect the causal powers of the mental states that have them. While it is true that Putnamian (...) and Burgean type relational psychological properties do not affect causal powers, it is false that no relational psychological properties do. Examples of relational psychological properties that do affect causal powers are given and psychological laws are sketched that subsume twins in virtue of them instantiating these relational properties rather than them sharing the narrow contents of their thoughts. (shrink)
Using positron emission tomography (PET) and regional cerebral blood ﬂow (rCBF) measurements, we investigated the cerebral correlates of consciousness in a sequence learning task through a novel application of the Process Dissociation Procedure, a behavioral paradigm that makes it possible to separately assess conscious and unconscious contributions to performance. Results show that the metabolic response in the anterior cingulate / mesial prefrontal cortex (ACC / MPFC) is exclusively and speciﬁcally correlated with the explicit component of performance during recollection of a (...) learned sequence. This suggests a signiﬁcant role for the ACC / MPFC in the explicit processing of sequential material. 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
John McDowell claims that the propositional attitudes, and our conceptual abilities in general, are not appropriate topics for inquiry of the sort that is done in natural science. He characterizes the natural sciences as making phenomena intelligible in terms of their place in the realm of laws of nature. He claims that this way of making phenomena intelligible contrasts crucially with essential features of our understanding of propositional attitudes and conceptual abilities. In this article I show that scientific work of (...) the sort McDowell claims cannot be done is in fact being done, and that this work presents strong evidence that there are psychological laws. The research I discuss is that by the psychologist Norman H. Anderson and his colleagues. I also argue that the considerations McDowell presents in defense of his claims do not constitute a significant challenge to the research that Anderson and his colleagues have done. It will be noted in the article that Anderson's work is relevant not just to McDowell's writings, but also to several much discussed issues in philosophy of cognitive science: the above two issues of whether there can be a science of ordinary psychological phenomena, higher cognition, comparable to that of the natural sciences and whether such a science would present laws, and also the issue of whether in such a science, and its laws, notions of folk psychology would play crucial constitutive roles. Anderson's work presents strong grounds for affirmative answers to all of these questions. (shrink)
A close examination of Kim's argument in "Multiple Realization and the Metaphysics of Reduction" for the claim that if a kind is multiply realizable in a way that blocks identification with more fundamental properties it is also a kind unlikely to appear as an appropriate kind in a theory in the first place. Ultimately, I argue that there is one reasonably promising argument of this sort, but its success turns on explanatory questions the answers to which are far from obvious.
While the study of implicit learning is nothing new, the field as a whole has come to embody — over the last decade or so — ongoing questioning about three of the most fundamental debates in the cognitive sciences: The nature of consciousness, the nature of mental representation (in particular the difficult issue of abstraction), and the role of experience in shaping the cognitive system. Our main goal in this chapter is to offer a framework that attempts to integrate current (...) thinking about these three issues in a way that specifically links consciousness with adaptation and learning. Our assumptions about this relationship are rooted in further assumptions about the nature of processing and of representation in cognitive systems. When considered together, we believe that these assumptions offer a new perspective on the relationships between conscious and unconscious processing and on the function of consciousness in cognitive systems. (shrink)
The characteristic difference between laws and accidental generalizations lies in our epistemic or inductive attitude towards them. This idea has taken various forms and dominated the discussion about lawlikeness in the last decades. Likewise, the issue about ceteris paribus conditions is essentially about how we epistemically deal with exceptions. Hence, ranking theory with its resources of defeasible reasoning seems ideally suited to explicate these points in a formal way. This is what the paper attempts to do. Thus it will turn (...) out that a law is simply the deterministic analogue of a sequence of independent, identically distributed random variables. This entails that de Finetti's representation theorems can be directly transformed into an account of confirmation of laws thus conceived. (shrink)
Running head: Implicit sequence learning ABSTRACT Can we learn without awareness? Although this issue has been extensively explored through studies of implicit learning, there is currently no agreement about the extent to which knowledge can be acquired and projected onto performance in an unconscious way. The controversy, like that surrounding implicit memory, seems to be at least in part attributable to unquestioned acceptance of the unrealistic assumption that tasks are process-pure, that is, that a given task exclusively involves either implicit (...) or explicit knowledge. (shrink)
Terence Horgan and John Tienson claim that folk psychological laws are different in kind from basic physical laws in at least two ways: first, physical laws do not possess the kind of ceteris paribus qualifications possessed by folk psychological laws, which means the two types of laws have different logical forms; and second, applied physical laws are best thought of as being about an idealized world and folk psychological laws about the actual world. I argue that Horgan and Tienson have (...) not made a persuasive case for either of the preceding views. (shrink)
Pierre Maquet1,2,6, Steven Laureys1,2, Philippe Peigneux1,2,3, Sonia Fuchs1, Christophe Petiau1, Christophe Phillips1,6, Joel Aerts1, Guy Del Fiore1, Christian Degueldre1, Thierry Meulemans3, André Luxen1, Georges Franck1,2, Martial Van Der Linden3, Carlyle Smith4 and Axel Cleeremans5.
This article critically examines Donald Davidson's argument against social scientific laws. Set within the context of his larger thesis of anomalous monism, this piece identifies three main flaws in Davidson's alleged refutation of the possibility of psychological laws, and suggests a collateral flaw within his account of anomalous monism as well.
It is argued that psychological explanations involve psychological generalizations that exhibit the same features as laws of physics. On the basis of the “systematic theory of lawhood”, characteristic features of laws of nature are elaborated. Investigating some examples of explanations taken from cognitive psychology shows that these features can also be identified in psychological generalizations. Particular attention is devoted to the notion of “ccteris‐paribus laws”. It is argued that laws of psychology are indeed ceteris‐paribus laws. However, this feature does not (...) distinguish them from the laws of physics, because such laws are found in physics as well. Moreover, the laws invoked in psychological explanations are genuine laws of psychology; they are not laws of other disciplines that are brought to bear on psychological problems. The conclusion is that if there are laws of physics then laws of psychology exist as well. (shrink)
Implicit learning is the process through which we become sensitive to certain regularities in the environment (1) in the absence of intention to learn about those regularities (2) in the absence of awareness that one is learning, and (3) in such a way that the resulting knowledge is difficult to express.
There is a difference between someone breaking a glass by accidentally brushing up against it and smashing a glass in a fit of anger. In the first case, the person's cognitive state has little to do with the event, but in the second, the mental state qua anger is quite relevant. How are we to understand this difference? What is the proper way to understand the relation between the mind, the brain, and the resultant behavior? This paper explores the popular (...) "middle ground" reply in which mental phenomena are claimed to be "as real as" other higher level properties. It argues that this solution fails to answer epistemological difficulties surrounding how to chose the appropriate factors in an explanation. A more sophisticated understanding of scientific theorizing and of the relation between ontology and explanation give us a framework in which we can determine when we should refer to mental states as being the causally efficacious agents for some behavior. (shrink)
In „Philosophische Grundlagen der Psychologie“ wird eine Wissenschaftstheorie der Psychologie entwickelt. Dabei wird die Psychologie nicht, wie in der Philosophie sonst üblich, in erster Linie im Rahmen des Leib-Seele Problems thematisiert, sondern von den Debatten und Theorien innerhalb der Disziplin her. Der Methodische Kulturalismus bildet den Ausgangspunkt für die philosophische Rekonstruktion psychologischer Grundbegriffe wie "Lernen", "Wahrnehmung", "Aufmerksamkeit", "Vorstellung", "Denken", "Gedächtnis", "Emotion" und "Motivation". Im Anschluss an die Klärung dieser Grundbegriffe wird gezeigt, dass die philosophische Behandlung des Leib-Seele Problems in der (...) Analytischen Philosophie auf einem "zweiten" und "dritten naturalistischen Fehlschluss" beruht. Der zweite Fehlschluss besteht dabei in der Hypostasierung theoretischer Konstrukte und der dritte in der Auffassung, dass den hypostatisierten Konstrukten ein ontologisches und methodisches Primat zukomme. (shrink)
The classic question about mind-body interaction is now construed as a question about the causal relevance of mental properties. Beyond a materialist account of how reasons can be causes simpliciter, what we seek is a demonstration of how reasons can be causes in virtue of their contentful and rational features. This dissertation attempts to furnish such a demonstration. ;The demonstration falls into two parts: an account of how intentional properties are causally relevant in a metaphysically possible world and a separate (...) account of how they can be relevant in a world where materialism is true. The metaphysical possibility of mental relevance, it is argued, requires psychological laws. These are confirmable and counterfactual-supporting generalizations formulated in terms of beliefs, desires and actions. Mental relevance in a world like ours, on the other hand, requires, in addition to psychological laws, relations of psychophysical determination. These are supervenience relations that hold with metaphysical necessity. Laws and determination, then, are what secure the relevance of mental properties. ;The existence of these relations, however, requires defense from Donald Davidson's famous argument for anomalism. The anomalism thesis has as its target the possibility of both types of relations, and it is primarily motivated by the worry that were intentional properties to appear in relations of either type, then that which is constitutive of intentional properties, their normative character, would face the threat of elimination. ;It is argued that this worry is groundless on both fronts. To defend the existence of psychological laws, an argument is presented for the claim that thought still retains its essential normative character within the context of interesting psychological laws. For the reality of psychophysical determination, a separate argument is presented for the claim that radical interpretation, a theory that by its very nature guarantees the normative character thought, must endorse determination on pain of incoherence. Both arguments attest to the compatibility between the norms that are essential to thought and the laws that are necessary for its relevance. (shrink)
Two points are made on the basis of (mainly) the cross-cultural psychological record. The first is that cross-cultural data indicate at least weak, nontrivial constraints on colour classification. The second is that exceptions to cross-cultural regularities as described by Saunders & van Brakel are compatible with the view that constraints on colour categories are probabilistic rather than deterministic.
Since functionalism implies that mental categories cross classify physical categories, it has classically been construed as precluding both the reduction of psychological theory to physical theory as well as the replacement of psychological by physical theory. However, many recent arguments for psychophysical reductionism and eliminative materialism also presuppose that mental categories cross classify physical categories. This raises questions as to the true significance of the cross classification of mental and physical categories. ;I argue that viewing psychophysical reductionism or eliminative materialism (...) as compatible with the cross classification of mental and physical categories presupposes a flawed view of explanation. More specifically, it disregards the fact that explanation essentially involves an audience. One cannot judge that a certain quantity of information does in fact explain a given explanandum without taking into consideration certain features of the relevant audience such as its interests and cognitive ability. I present reasons for believing explanation to be cognitively constrained and interest-relative. Given such reasons, arguments for psychophysical reductionism and eliminative materialism lose their plausibility. I conclude that functionalist metaphysics does indeed preclude both eliminative materialism and psychophysical reductionism. ;While most of my discussion concerns the physical irreducibility of psychological theory, I dispute Jerry Fodor's claim that this irreducibility implies that psychology must remain an autonomous science. I attempt to show that, while functionalist psychology does have a certain prima facie plausibility, it is only likely to be confirmed by being explained in terms of some other field of science. I do so by appealing to Michael Friedman's argument to the effect that the unification of the sciences plays a crucial role in the confirmation of theories. Since a physical reductive explanation of psychology has been ruled out, this raises the question as to what field one should look to in explaining psychological theory. ;In the Appendix, I attempt to show the plausibility of seeking an explanation of functionalist psychology in terms of evolutionary biology. I show that while the cross classification of mental and physical categories foils a physical reduction of psychological theory, it does not rule out an adaptationist explanation of psychological features. (shrink)
Comparing the relative sensitivity of direct and indirect measures of learning is proposed as the best way to provide evidence for unconscious learning when both conceptual and operative definitions of awareness are lacking. This approach was first proposed by Reingold & Merikle (1988) in the context of subliminal perception. In this paper, we apply it to a choice reaction time task in which the material is generated based on a probabilistic finite-state grammar (Cleeremans, 1993). We show (1) that participants progressively (...) learn about the statistical structure of the stimulus material over training with the choice reaction time task, and (2) that they can use some of this knowledge to predict the location of the next stimulus in a subsequent “generation” task. However, detailed partial correlational analyses of the correspondence between performance during the reaction time task and the statistical structure of the training material showed that large effects remained even when controlling for explicit knowledge as assessed by the generation task. Hence we conclude (1) that at least some of the knowledge expressed through reaction time performance can not be characterized as conscious, and (2) that even when associations are found at a global level of analysis, dissociations can still be obtained when more detailed analyses are conducted. Finally, we also show that participants are limited in the depth of the contingencies they can learn about, and that these limitations are shared by the Simple Recurrent Network model of Cleeremans & McClelland (1991). (shrink)
In this essay I enter into a recently published debate between Stephen Schiffer and Jerry Fodor concerning whether adequate sense can be made of the ceteris paribus conditions in special science laws, much of their focus being on the case of putative psychological laws. Schiffer argues that adequate sense cannot be made of ceteris paribus clauses, while Fodor attempts to overcome Schiffer's arguments, in defense of special science laws. More recently, Peter Mott has attempted to show that Fodor's response to (...) Schiffer fails, and furthermore that further study shows that the logical framework in which Schiffer and Fodor address their issue is susceptible to inconsistency.In this essay I argue that adequate sense can be made of ceteris paribus conditions. Against Mott, I argue that recent work in the model theory of non-monotonic logic indicates how his problem involving logical inconsistencies can be overcome. Against Schiffer, I argue that the claims that he makes against ceteris paribus clauses would lead to a fatal skepticism concerning indefinitely many of the claims we make about the world (and indeed that his claims would be destructive of the view of the special sciences that Schiffer himself presents in his paper), and that the semantical considerations from non-monotonic logic that I present provide a suitable framework for dealing with his complaints. Thus I come out on the whole on Fodor's side of this debate, although for my own reasons, as I argue against much of Fodor's own argumentation. (shrink)
Many philosophers are impressed by the progress achieved by physical sciences. This has had an especially deep effect on their ontological views: it has made many of them physicalists. Physicalists believe that everything is physical: more precisely, that all entities, properties, relations and facts are those which are studied by physics or other physical sciences...
In a note from 1950 Wittgenstein remarks how little “I can’t figure him out” resembles “I can’t figure this mechanism out.” He suggests that what the former means is roughly that one cannot foresee this person’s behaviour with the “same certainty” as with those with whom one “does know [one’s] way about.” Of course a good mechanic also knows his way about his machine and the powerful hold that mechanism exercises on the cognitive imagination owes much to the sense that (...) practical insight into how things actually work brings us into an especially intimate relation with reality. It is an intimacy which allows us to predict future states of the machine, to control its output, prevent breakdowns and human disaster. (shrink)
Der Aufsatz verfolgt die Frage, welchem Wissenschaftstypus die Psychologie zuzuordnen ist, ob sie als eine Verlaufsgesetze aufstellende oder aber besser als eine hermeneutisch vorgehende Disziplin verstanden und betrieben werden soll. Dazu wird eine Systematik der Wissenschaften vorgeschlagen und die Psychologie darin eingeordnet. Davon ausgehend wird dafür argumentiert, dass die Psychologie als eine Realwissenschaft mit einem naturwissenschaftlichen und einem kulturwissenschaftlichen Zweig verstanden werden sollte, da sie sowohl technische als auch soziopolitische Praxen stützt.
A common view is that ceteris paribus clauses render lawlike statements vacuous, unless such clauses can be explicitly reformulated as antecedents of ?real? laws that face no counterinstances. But such reformulations are rare; and they are not, we argue, to be expected in general. So we defend an alternative sufficient condition for the non-vacuity of ceteris paribus laws: roughly, any counterinstance of the law must be independently explicable, in a sense we make explicit. Ceteris paribus laws will carry a plethora (...) of explanatory commitments; and claims that such commitments are satisfied will be as (dis) confirmable as other empirical claims. (shrink)