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Abstract: One of the most notorious — and dismissive — passages in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations is Part II section xiv, which begins like this: The confusion and barrenness of psychology is not to be explained by calling it a “young science”; its state is not comparable with that of physics, for instance, in its beginnings. (Rather with that of certain branches of mathematics. Set theory.) For in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion. (As in the other case conceptual confusion and methods of proof.) The existence of the experimental method makes us think we have the means of solving the problems which trouble us; though problem and method pass one another by. Strong words. But we know that at one stage in his life Wittgenstein’s interest in psychology was sufficient for him to have done some experimental research, and that he was well acquainted with the work of at least some of the prominent psychologists active in his own lifetime. That is, his quoted remarks were not made from ignorance; and we should accordingly take them seriously enough to consider why he made them, what he had in mind, and to what extent — if any — they may have been (and, though this was all a long time ago, may still be) justified
Abstract: This paper defends two initial claims. First, it argues that essentially the same cognitive resources are shared by adult creative thinking and problem-solving, on the one hand, and by childhood pretend play, on the other¾namely, capacities to generate and to reason with suppositions (or imagined possibilities). Second, it argues that the evolutionary function of childhood pretence is to practice and enhance adult forms of creativity. The paper goes on to show how these proposals can provide a smooth and evolutionarily-plausible explanation of the gap between the first appearance of our species in Southern Africa some 100,000 years ago, and the 'creative explosion' of cultural, technological and artistic change which took place within dispersed human populations some 60,000 years later. The intention of the paper is to sketch a proposal which might serve as a guide for future interdisciplinary research
Abstract: The main goal of the paper is to investigate the relation between
indicative conditionals and rationality. We wil l do this by consider-
ing several interpretations of a very wel l-known example of reasoning
involving conditionals, that is the Wason selection task, and showing
how those interpretations have different bearings on the notion of ra-
tionality. In particular, in the first part of the paper, after having
briefly presented the selection task, we wil l take a look at two prag-
matic responses to the chal lenge posed by the task, through Wason’s
notion of confirmation bias and Grice’s theory of conversational im-
plicature. The second part wil l introduce Adams’ probabilistic view of
indicative conditionals and wil l give reasons for preferring his account
to those aforementioned. The conclusion wil l evaluate the question of
human rationality in the light of the new standpoint acquired.
Abstract: This paper examines the notion that psychology is autonomous. It is argued that we need to distinguish between (a) the question of whether psychological explanations are autonomous, and (b) the question of whether the process of psychological discovery is autonomous. The issue is approached by providing a reinterpretation of Robert Cummins's notion of functional analysis (FA). A distinction is drawn between FA as an explanatory strategy and FA as an investigative strategy. It is argued that the identification of functional components of the cognitive system may draw on knowledge about brain structure, without thereby jeopardizing the explanatory autonomy of psychology
Abstract: I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate control
Abstract: Contemplating imaginary scenarios that evoke certain sorts of quasi‐sensory intuitions may bring us to new beliefs about contingent features of the natural world. These beliefs may be produced quasi‐observationally; the presence of a mental image may play a crucial cognitive role in the formation of the belief in question. And this albeit fallible quasi‐observational belief‐forming mechanism may, in certain contexts, be sufficiently reliable to count as a source of justification. This sheds light on the central puzzle surrounding scientific thought experiment, which is how contemplation of an imaginary scenario can lead to new knowledge about contingent features of the natural world
Abstract: This chapter examines several ways in which philosophical attention to intuition can contribute to empirical scientific psychology. The authors then discuss one prevalent misuse of intuition. An unspoken assumption of much argumentation in the philosophy of mind has been that to articulate our folk psychological intuitions, our ordinary concepts of belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, is itself sufficient to give a theoretical account of what belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, actually are. It is believed that this assumption rests on an inadequate understanding of the nature of intuition and its appropriate applications, and that it results in errors. Three notable examples of this sort of misuse of intuition in philosophy are briefly discussed. Finally, the authors provide developmental evidence for the mutability and fallibility of everyday intuitions about the mind, evidence that undermines arguments, that depend on taking such intuitions as a final authority for substantive claims about what the mind is like.
Abstract: This article critically examines the views that psychology ?rst came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology ?nally became scienti?c through the in?uence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, that philosophers and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the ?rst two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively in?uenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psy- chology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of arti?cial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitive science, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitive science and neuroscience
Abstract: In Inventing Human Science, ed. by Christopher Fox, Roy Porter, and Robert Wokler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 184–231. Key words: Wolff, Bonnet, Godart, Krüger, Hartley, Priestley, history of psychology in the 17th and 18th centuries, history of experiment in psychology, psychology as a natural science, idea of a natural science
Abstract: This article presents arguments and evidence that run counter to the widespread assumption among scholars that humans are intuitive Cartesian substance dualists. With regard to afterlife beliefs, the hypothesis of Cartesian substance dualism as the intuitive folk position fails to have the explanatory power with which its proponents endow it. It is argued that the embedded corollary assumptions of the intuitive Cartesian substance dualist position (that the mind and body are different substances, that the mind and soul are intensionally identical, and that the mind is the sole source of identity) are not compatible with cultural representations such as mythologies, funerary rites, iconography and doctrine as well as empirical evidence concerning intuitive folk reasoning about the mind and body concerning the afterlife. Finally, the article
suggests an alternative and more parsimonious explanation for understanding intuitive folk representations of the afterlife.
Abstract: LeDoux (1996) has identified a sub-cortical neural circuit that mediates fear responses in rats. The existence of this neural circuit has been used to support the claim that emotion is a non-cognitive process. In this paper I argue that this sub-cortical circuit cannot have a role in the explanation of emotions in humans. This worry is raised by looking at the properties of this neural pathway, which does not have the capacity to respond to the types of stimuli that are generally taken to trigger emotion responses. In particular, the neurons in this pathway cannot represent the stimulus as a complete object or event, rather they represent the simple information that is encoded at the periphery. If it is assumed that an object or event in the world is what, even in simple cases, causes an emotion, then this sub-cortical pathway has limited use in a theory of emotion.
Abstract: Many pragmaticians have distinguished three levels of meaning involved in
the comprehension of utterances, and there is an ongoing debate about how
to characterize the intermediate level. Recanati has called it the level of ‘what
is said’ and has opposed the idea that it can be determined semantically — a
position that he labels ‘pragmatic minimalism’. To this end he has offered two
chief arguments: semantic underdeterminacy and the Availability Principle.
This paper exposes a tension between both arguments, relating this discussion
with Carruthers’s cognitive view of language, according to which some
thoughts are, literally, sentences of our natural language. First we explain
how this view entails minimalism, and we construct an argument based on
semantic underdeterminacy that shows that natural language sentences do
not have the compositional properties required to constitute thoughts. Then
we analyze the example of a subject’s overhearing a sentence without an
interpretive context, arguing that in the light of the Availability Principle the
corresponding thought can be regarded as a natural language sentence. Thus,
semantic underdeterminacy and availability pull in different directions, and
we claim that there is no characterization of the latter that can relieve this
tension. We contend that Recanati’s availability shares with Carruthers’s
introspectivism an overreliance on intuitions about what appears consciously
in one’s mind. We conclude, therefore, that the Availability Principle ought to
Abstract: _This article articulates the presuppositions that psychology inherited from logical positivism, and how_ _those presuppositions effected the interpretation of data and research procedures. Despite the efforts of_ _Wundt, his most well known disciples, Titchener and Külpe, embraced an atomistic view of experience which_ _was at_ _least partly responsible for many of their failures. When the behaviorists rejected the_ _introspectionism of Titchener and Külpe, they kept their atomism, using the reflex_
Abstract: Recently, philosophers and psychologists defending the embodied cognition research program have offered arguments against mindreading as a general model of our social understanding. The embodied cognition arguments are of two kinds: those that challenge the developmental picture of mindreading and those that challenge the alleged ubiquity of mindreading. Together, these two kinds of arguments, if successful, would present a serious challenge to the standard account of human social understanding. In this paper, I examine the strongest of these embodied cognition arguments and argue that mindreading approaches can withstand the best of these arguments from embodied cognition
Abstract: In the good old days, when general philosophy of science ruled the Earth, a simple division was often invoked to talk about philosophical issues specific to particular kinds of science: that between the natural sciences and the social sciences. Over the last 20 years, philosophical studies shaped around this dichotomy have given way to those organized by more fine-grained categories, corresponding to specific disciplines, as the literatures on the philosophy of physics, biology, economics and psychology--to take the most prominent four examples--have blossomed. In general terms, work in each of these areas has become increasingly enmeshed with that in the corresponding science itself, increasingly naturalistic (in at least one sense of that term), and in my view, increasingly interesting