There is good evidence that, in general, autonomic conditioning in humans occurs only when subjects can verbalize the contingencies of conditioning. However, one form of conditioning, evaluative conditioning (EC), seems exceptional in that a growing body of evidence suggests that it can occur without conscious contingency awareness. As such, EC offers a unique insight into what role contingency awareness might play in associative learning. Despite this evidence, there are reasons to doubt that evaluative conditioning can (...) occur without conscious awareness. This paper aims to critically review the EC literature and to draw some parallels to what is known about autonomic conditioning. In doing so, some important general issues about measuring contingency awareness are raised. These issues are illustrated with a brief report of an experiment in which a sensitive measure of contingency awareness is compared against a commonly used measure. (shrink)
Jonathan Weisberg claims that certain probability assessments constructed by Jeffrey conditioning resist subsequent revision by a certain type of after-the-fact defeater of the reasons supporting those assessments, and that such conditioning is thus “inherently anti-holistic.” His analysis founders, however, in applying Jeffrey conditioning to a partition for which an essential rigidity condition clearly fails. Applied to an appropriate partition, Jeffrey conditioning is amenable to revision by the sort of after-the-fact defeaters considered by Weisberg in precisely the (...) way that he demands. (shrink)
Jonathan Weisberg has argued that Jeffrey Conditioning is inherently “anti-holistic” By this he means, inter alia, that JC does not allow us to take proper account of after-the-fact defeaters for our beliefs. His central example concerns the discovery that the lighting in a room is red-tinted and the relationship of that discovery to the belief that a jelly bean in the room is red. Weisberg’s argument that the rigidity required for JC blocks the defeating role of the red-tinted light (...) rests on the strong assumption that all posteriors within the distribution in this example are rigid on a partition over the proposition that the jelly bean is actually red. But individual JC updates of propositions do not require such a broad rigidity assumption. Jeffrey conditionalizers should consider the advantages of a modest project of targeted updating focused on particular propositions rather than seeking to update the entire distribution using one obvious partition. Although Weisberg’s example fails to show JC to be irrelevant or useless, other problems he raises for JC (the commutativity and inputs problems) remain and actually become more pressing when we recognize the important role of background information. (shrink)
Starting from a recent paper by S. Kaufmann, we introduce a notion of conjunction of two conditional events and then we analyze it in the setting of coherence. We give a representation of the conjoined conditional and we show that this new object is a conditional random quantity, whose set of possible values normally contains the probabilities assessed for the two conditional events. We examine some cases of logical dependencies, where the conjunction is a conditional event; moreover, we give the (...) lower and upper bounds on the conjunction. We also examine an apparent paradox concerning stochastic independence which can actually be explained in terms of uncorrelation. We briefly introduce the notions of disjunction and iterated conditioning and we show that the usual probabilistic properties still hold. (shrink)
There are a number of competing psychological accounts of the placebo effect, and much of the recent debate centers on the relative importance of classical conditioning and conscious beliefs. In this paper, I discuss apparent problems with these accounts and with ?disjunctive? accounts that deny that placebo effects can be given a unified psychological explanation. The fact that some placebo effects seem to be mediated by cognitive states with content that is consciously inaccessible and inferentially isolated from a subject's (...) beliefs motivates an account of the placebo effect in terms of subdoxastic cognitive states. I propose that aliefs, subdoxastic cognitive states that are associative, automatic, and arational, can provide a unified psychological account of the placebo effect. This account also has the potential to illuminate interesting connections to other psychological phenomena. (shrink)
This paper investigates the viability of the Bayesian model of belief change. Van Benthem (2003) has shown that a particular kind of information change typical for dynamic epistemic logic cannot be modelled by Bayesian conditioning. I argue that the problems described by van Benthem come about because the information change alters the semantics in which the change is supposed to be modelled by conditioning: it induces a shift in meanings. I then show that meaning shifts can be modelled (...) in terms of conditioning by employing a semantics that makes these changes in meaning explicit, and that the appropriate probability kinematics can be described by Dempster’s rule. The new model thereby facilitates a better understanding between probabilistic epistemology and dynamic epistemic logic. (shrink)
Since Ramsey, much discussion of the relation between probability and belief has taken for granted that there are degrees of belief, i.e., that there is a real-valued function, B, that characterizes the degree of belief that an agent has in each statement of his language. It is then supposed that B is a probability. It is then often supposed that as the agent accumulates evidence, this function should be updated by conditioning: BE(·) should be B(·E)/B(E). Probability is also important (...) in classical statistics, where it is generally supposed that probabilities are frequencies, and that inference proceeds by controlling error and not by conditioning. I will focus on the tension between these two approaches to probability, and in the main part of the paper show where and when Bayesian conditioning conflicts with error based statistics and how to resolve these conflicts. (shrink)
In her commentary of Field (1999), Hammerl (1999) has drawn attention to several interesting points concerning the issue of contingency awareness in evaluative conditioning. First, she comments on several contentious issues arising from Field's review of the evaluative conditioning literature, second she critiques the data from his pilot study and finally she argues the case that EC is a distinct form of conditioning that can occur in the absence of contingency awareness. With reference to these criticisms, this (...) reply attempts to address Hammerl's comments by exploring the issues of how awareness is defined, how it is best measured, and whether it is reasonable to believe that EC uniformly occurs in the absence of contingency awareness. The article concludes that the available evidence supports Field's proposition that EC is, in fact, Pavlovian learning. (shrink)
Richard Jeffrey's generalization of Bayes' rule of conditioning follows, within the theory of belief functions, from Dempster's rule of combination and the rule of minimal extension. Both Jeffrey's rule and the theory of belief functions can and should be construed constructively, rather than normatively or descriptively. The theory of belief functions gives a more thorough analysis of how beliefs might be constructed than Jeffrey's rule does. The inadequacy of Bayesian conditioning is much more general than Jeffrey's examples of (...) uncertain perception might suggest. The ``parameter α '' that Hartry Field has introduced into Jeffrey's rule corresponds to the "weight of evidence" of the theory of belief functions. (shrink)
Abstract. Suppose that several individuals who have separately assessed prior probability distributions over a set of possible states of the world wish to pool their individual distributions into a single group distribution, while taking into account jointly perceived new evidence. They have the option of (i) first updating their individual priors and then pooling the resulting posteriors or (ii) first pooling their priors and then updating the resulting group prior. If the pooling method that they employ is such that they (...) arrive at the same final distribution in both cases, the method is said to be externally Bayesian, a property first studied by Madansky (1964). We show that a pooling method for discrete distributions is externally Bayesian if and only if it commutes with Jeffrey conditioning, parameterized in terms of certain ratios of new to old odds, as in Wagner (2002), rather than in terms of the posterior probabilities of members of the disjoint family of events on which such conditioning originates. (shrink)
To make possible the integration proposed by Domjan et al., psychologists first need to close the research gap between behavioral ecology and the study of Pavlovian conditioning. I suggest two strategies, namely, to adopt more behavioral ecological approaches to social behavior or to co-opt problems already addressed by behavioral ecologists that are especially well suited to the study of Pavlovian conditioning.
We consider the dispute between causal decision theorists and evidential decision theorists over Newcomb-like problems. We introduce a framework relating causation and directed graphs developed by Spirtes et al. (1993) and evaluate several arguments in this context. We argue that much of the debate between the two camps is misplaced; the disputes turn on the distinction between conditioning on an event E as against conditioning on an event I which is an action to bring about E. We give (...) the essential machinery for calculating the effect of an intervention and consider recent work which extends the basic account given here to the case where causal Knowledge is incomplete. (shrink)
Jeﬀrey conditioning allows updating in Bayesian style when the evidence is uncertain. A weighted average, essentially, over classically updating on the alternatives. Unlike classical Bayesian conditioning, this allows learning to be unlearned.
Behavioral momentum theory has evolved within the realm of operant conditioning. The thought-provoking momentum metaphor equates the strength of an operant response with its resistance to change and preference (i.e., choice) for that response over other available responses. Whereas baseline response rate (velocity in the metaphor) is assumed to be largely influenced by the response-reinforcer contingency, resistance to change and preference are assumed to reflect an intervening variable called behavioral mass, which is determined primarily by the stimulus-reinforcer relationship. This (...) invites the question of how well the momentum metaphor applies to the stimulus-reinforcer relationships of traditional Pavlovian paradigms. Presumably, a correspondence exists between behavioral mass and the notion of associative strength in the associative learning literature. Although response rate has little meaning in the trialwise structure of classical (i.e., Pavlovian) conditioning, response probability or magnitude might be regarded metaphorically as velocity. Momentum theory suggests that resistance to change (e.g., extinction) is a better indicator of associative strength than is response probability or magnitude. Therefore, variables that strengthen Pavlovian learning should influence resistance to extinction of conditioned responding in a similar manner. Moreover, it is important to assess momentum theory outside of strictly operant paradigms, particularly because in clinical settings many common disorders (e.g., phobias) and their therapies (e.g., cue exposure) are thought to be classically conditioned. (shrink)
The constructs of behavioral mass in research on the momentum of operant behavior and associative strength in Pavlovian conditioning have some interesting parallels, as suggested by Savastano & Miller. Some recent findings challenge the strict separation of operant and Pavlovian determiners of response rate and resistance to change in behavioral momentum, renewing the need for research on the interaction of processes that have traditionally been studied separately. Relatedly, Furedy notes that some autonomic responses may be refractory to conditioning, (...) but a combination of operant contingencies and enriched Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relations may prove effective. (shrink)
Taste-aversion learning has been a popular paradigm for examining associative processes because it often produces outcomes that are different from those observed in other classical conditioning paradigms. One such outcome is taste-mediated odor potentiation in which aversion conditioning with a weak odor and a strong taste results in increased or synergistic conditioning to the odor. Because this strengthened odor aversion was not anticipated by formal models of learning, investigation of taste-mediated odor potentiation was a (...) hot topic in the 1980s. The present manuscript reviews the history of potentiation research with particular focus given to the stimuli that produce potentiation, the conditions that produce potentiation, the possible mechanism of this phenomenon, and possible reasons for the decline of research in this area. Although the number of published reports of potentiation has decreased since the 1980s, recent physiological and behavioral assessments have advanced the field considerably, and the opportunities for future research are bountiful. Recent physiological experiments, for example, have identified the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala as the key brain region to produce taste-mediated odor potentiation (e.g., Hatfield andGallagher, 1995). Also, recent behavioral experiments have extended the generality of synergistic conditioning effects. Studies have shown that odor can potentiate responding to taste (Slotnick, Westbrook and Darling, 1997) and that augmented responding can be produced in the A+/AX+blocking design (e.g., Batsell and Batson, 1999). With the current understanding of where synergistic conditioning may occur in the brain and the new tools to explore synergistic conditioning, we propose various directions for future research to determine whether taste-aversion learning and synergistic conditioning require unique explanations. (shrink)
Choquet integrals and capacities play a crucial role in modern decision theory. Comonotony is a central concept for these theories because the main property of a Choquet integral is its additivity for comonotone functions. We consider a Choquet integral representation of preferences showing uncertainty aversion (pessimism) and propose axioms on time consistency which yield a candidate for conditional Choquet integrals. An other axiom characterizes the role of comonotony in the use of information. We obtain two conditioning rules for capacities (...) which amount to the well-known Bayes' and DempsterâSchafer's updating rules. We are allowed to interpret both of them as a lack of confidence in information in a dynamic extension of pessimism. (shrink)
Fulcher and Hammerl's (2001) important exploration of the role of contingency awareness in evaluative conditioning (EC) raises a lot of issues for discussion: (1) what boundaries, if any, exist between EC and affective learning paradigms?; (2) if EC does occur without awareness does this mean it is nonpropositional learning?; (3) is EC driven by stimulus-response (S-R), rather than stimulus-stimulus (S-S), associations and if so should it then surprise us that contingency awareness is not important?; and (4) if S-R associations (...) are at the heart of EC, should we automatically assume EC is part of a different learning mechanism to autonomic Pavlovian conditioning (Field, 2000a, 2000b)? This article, after a critical review of Fulcher and Hammerl's work, discusses these issues with reference to what can be realistically inferred about the mechanisms underlying EC. (shrink)
Conditioning can make imprecise probabilities uniformly more imprecise. We call this effect "dilation". In a previous paper (1993), Seidenfeld and Wasserman established some basic results about dilation. In this paper we further investigate dilation on several models. In particular, we consider conditions under which dilation persists under marginalization and we quantify the degree of dilation. We also show that dilation manifests itself asymptotically in certain robust Bayesian models and we characterize the rate at which dilation occurs.
Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are currently the gold standard within evidence-based medicine. Usually, they are conducted as sequential trials allowing for monitoring for early signs of effectiveness or harm. However, evidence from early stopped trials is often charged with being biased towards implausibly large effects (e.g., Bassler et al. 2010). To our mind, this skeptical attitude is unfounded and caused by the failure to perform appropriate conditioning in the statistical analysis of the evidence. We contend that a shift from (...) unconditional hypothesis tests in the style of Neyman and Pearson to conditional hypothesis tests (Berger, Brown and Wolpert 1994) gives a superior appreciation of the obtained evidence and significantly improves the practice of sequential medical trials, while staying firmly rooted in frequentist methodology. (shrink)
Taste-aversion learning has been a popular paradigm for examining associative processes because it often produces outcomes that are different from those observed in other classical conditioning paradigms. One such outcome is taste-mediated odor potentiation in which aversion conditioning with a weak odor and a strong taste results in increased or synergistic conditioning to the odor. Because this strengthened odor aversion was not anticipated by formal models of learning, investigation of taste-mediated odor potentiation was a hot topic in (...) the 1980s. The present manuscript reviews the history of potentiation research with particular focus given to the stimuli that produce potentiation, the conditions that produce potentiation, the possible mechanism of this phenomenon, and possible reasons for the decline of research in this area. Although the number of published reports of potentiation has decreased since the 1980s, recent physiological and behavioral assessments have advanced the field considerably, and the opportunities for future research are bountiful. Recent physiological experiments, for example, have identified the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala as the key brain region to produce taste-mediated odor potentiation (e.g., Hatfield andGallagher, 1995). Also, recent behavioral experiments have extended the generality of synergistic conditioning effects. Studies have shown that odor can potentiate responding to taste (Slotnick, Westbrook and Darling, 1997) and that augmented responding can be produced in the A+/AX+blocking design (e.g., Batsell and Batson, 1999). With the current understanding of where synergistic conditioning may occur in the brain and the new tools to explore synergistic conditioning, we propose various directions for future research to determine whether taste-aversion learning and synergistic conditioning require unique explanations. (shrink)
This paper defends the relevance of Taylor's (1964) critique of S-R behaviorism to Skinner's model of operant conditioning. In particular, it is argued against Ringen (1976) that the model of operant conditioning is a nonteleological variety of explanation. Operant conditioning is shown unable, on this account, to provide a parsimonious and predictive explanation of the behavior of higher level organisms. Finally, it is shown that the principle of operant conditioning implicitly assumes a teleological capacity, the admission (...) of which renders the principle of operant conditioning superfluous. (shrink)
Biologists recognize Pavlovian conditioning as a mechanism by which individuals can adaptively modify their social and nonsocial behavior quickly to relevant features of the natural environment. This commentary supports Domjan et al.'s point that psychologists could gain important insights by broadening the range of species and behaviors they study and by continuing to adopt a functional perspective to investigate Pavlovian conditioning and other forms of learning.
A proper evaluation of the biological significance of Pavlovian conditioning requires consideration of performance mechanisms. Domjan et al.'s definition of net benefit is simplistic, and their model promotes convergence in behaviour, ignoring the possibility of innovation.
Human-eyelid conditioning was the principal source of information on Pavlovian conditioning, especially human, in the 1950s and 1960s, but it suffered a sharp decline in productivity, beginning in the late 1960s. The present article treats the decline as a case study with potential implications concerning the survival contingencies of research specialties. We make use of questionnaire data from eyelid-conditioning researchers and examine a variety of publication, topic-of-investigation, and institutional data to identify the major factors in the decline (...) of human-eyelid conditioning. (shrink)
Partner preferences are expressed by many social species, including humans. They are commonly observed as selective contacts with an individual, more time spent together, and directed courtship behavior that leads to selective copulation. This review discusses the effect of conditioning on the development of heterosexual and homosexual partner preferences in rodents. Learned preferences may develop when a conditioned stimulus (CS) is associated in contingency with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) that functions as a reinforcer. Consequently, an individual may display preference (...) for a partner that bears a CS. Some UCS may be more or less reinforcing, depending on when they are experienced, and may be different for males and females. For example, it could be that, only during periods of early development, that stimuli associated with nurture and juvenile play become conditioned. In adulthood, other stimuli such as sexual reward, cohabitation, mild stress, or even pharmacological manipulations may function as reinforcers to condition partner preferences. Evolutionary biologists and psychologists must take into consideration the idea that an individual’s experience with reward (i.e. sexual and pharmacological) can override presumably ‘innate’ mate choices (e.g. assortativeness and orientation) or mate strategies (e.g. monogamy or polygamy) by means of Pavlovian and operant contingencies. In fact, it is likely as innate to learn about the environment in ways that maximize reward and minimize aversive outcomes, making so-called ‘proximate’ causes (e.g. pleasure) ultimately more powerful predictors of social behavior and choice than so-called ‘ultimate’ causes (e.g. genetic or reproductive fitness). Keywords: pavlovian; operant; learning; sex; copulation (Published: 15 March 2012) Citation: Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2012, 2 : 17340 - DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17340. (shrink)
Domjan et al. continue a consistent trend in Pavlovian conditioning, that of accounting for more behaviors while sacrificing specificity of predictions. Despite the sacrifice, their model provides a valuable framework within which social behavioral research may operate. It may also allow ethologists and evolutionary psychologists to pursue questions about which feed-forward systems should produce which behaviors in social settings.
Background: Human sexual classical conditioning effects are less robust compared with those obtained in other animals. The artificiality of the laboratory environment and/or the unconditioned stimulus (US) used (e.g. watching erotic film clips as opposed to participating in sexual activity) may contribute to this discrepancy. The present experiment used a field study design to explore the conditioning of human sexual arousal. Method: Seven heterosexual couples were instructed to include a novel, neutrally preferred scent as the conditioned stimulus (CS+) (...) during sexual interaction and another novel scent during non-sexual coupledinteraction (e.g. watching a movie, studying together). Seven control couples used both scents during nonsexual interaction. Conducted over a 2-week period, both experimental and control couples had three sexual interactions (oral sex and/or intercourse). In addition, experimental couples had three, while the controls had six, non-sexual interactions. Genital responding to and affective preference for the odors were assessed in the laboratory before and after the experience in the men. Results: We observed significantly increased genital responding to the CS+in the experimental relative to the control group; however, conditioned responses were not much stronger than those obtained during laboratory conditioning. Experimental males also showed a trend for decreased preference for the CS-odor. They may have learned that this odor predicted that sexual interaction with their partner would not occur. Conclusion: The present study provides another demonstration of conditioned sexual arousal in men, specifically an instance of such learning that happened in a real-world setting. It also suggests that inhibitory learning may occur, at least with the affective measure. Keywords: sexual classical conditioning; humans; evaluative conditioning (Published: 15 March 2012) Citation: Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2012, 2 : 17336 - DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17336. (shrink)
Despite a promising introduction, Domjan et al.'s target article fails to capitalize on the concept of information intrinsic to control theory. The authors limit their application of feed-forward models to simple nondynamic cases. Their applications to social behavior are stimulus-occasioned responses. Agents might as well be dogfood! The notion of “conditioning” is generalized without warrant to explain virtually any acquired predictive capability.
When animals are trained to function in a human society (for example, pet dogs, police dogs, or sports horses), different trainers and training cultures vary widely in their ability to understand how the animal perceives the communication efforts of the trainer. This variation has considerable impact on the resulting performance and welfare of the animals. There are many trainers who frequently resort to physical punishment or other pain-inflicting methods when the attempts to communicate have failed or when the trainer is (...) unaware of the full range of the potential forms of human-animal communication. Negative consequences of this include animal suffering, imperfect performance of the animals, and sometimes risks to humans, as repeated pain increases aggression in some animals. The field of animal training is also interesting from a semiotic point of view, as it effectively illustrates the differences between the distinct forms of interaction that are included in the concept of communication in the zoosemiotic discourse. The distinctions with the largest potential in improving human-animal communication in animal training, is understanding the difference between verbal communication of the kind that requires rather high cognitive capabilities of theanimal, and communication based on conditioning, which is a form of animal learning that does not require high cognitive ability. The differences and potentials of various types of human-animal communication are discussed in the form of a case study of a novel project run by a NGO called Working Elephant Programme of Asia (WEPA), which introduces humane, science-based training and handling methods as an alternative to the widespread use of pain and fear that is the basis of most existing elephant training methods. (shrink)
Shors & Matzel somewhat lightly dismiss the evidence that a process like LTP may underlie the learning-induced increase in neuronal activity in the hippocampus in eyeblink conditioning. I provide some 12 lines of evidence supporting this hypothesis and the further hypothesis that this learning-induced LTP-like hippocampal plasticity can play a critical role in certain aspects of learned behavior.
This paper discusses counterexamples to the thesis that the probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities. It is argued that the discrepancy is systematic and predictable, and that conditional probabilities are crucially involved in the apparently deviant interpretations. Furthermore, the examples suggest that such conditionals have a less prominent reading on which their probability is in fact the conditional probability, and that the two readings are related by a simple step of abductive inference. Central to the proposal is a distinction between (...) causal and purely stochastic dependence between variables. (shrink)
Growth of spring barley stands was followed in various conditions. Disposition of the seeds parameters the morphogenetic programme of each individual plant, which will afterwards form the stricture of the young plant stand. Later, individual stopping of tillering is controlled by this stricture. In return, the distribution of these events conditions the structure of the canopy during the shoot lengthening period. In sparse or patchy canopies, weak tillers in stopping of growth are able to survive temporarily.The plant is not reducible (...) to the genotype of its variety. Individual whole plant and plant stand are true organization levels in an ecosystem. It is essential to take their relationships into account throughout the growth for understanding the behaviour of a crop. (shrink)
In his recent book, Time and Chance, David Albert claims that by positing that there is a uniform probability distribution defined, on the standard measure, over the space of microscopic states that are compatible with both the current macrocondition of the world, and with what he calls the “past hypothesis”, we can explain the time asymmetry of all of the thermodynamic behavior in the world. The principal purpose of this paper is to dispute this claim. I argue that Albert's proposal (...) fails in his stated goal—to show how to use the time‐reversible dynamics of Newtonian physics to “underwrite the actual content of our thermodynamic experience” (Albert 2000, 159). Albert's proposal can satisfactorily explain why the overall entropy of the universe as a whole is increasing, but it does not and cannot explain the increasing entropy of relatively small, relatively short‐lived systems in energetic isolation without making use of a principle that leads to reversibility objections. (shrink)
The ambiguity to which Porpora (1980) objects in Wright's (1972, 1976) analysis of goal-directedness permits certain counterexamples to Porpora's analysis to be easily accommodated by Wright's. As a consequence, Ringen's (1976) claim that some operant behavior is goal-directed is in accord with Wright's analysis and with certain features of common sense that Wright's analysis captures. However, the way our commonsense conception of goal-directedness accommodates some of the counterexamples to Porpora's analysis suggests an intimate connection between goal-directedness and intentional notions like (...) belief and desire. This suggests a possible criticism of Ringen and highlights problematic aspects of contemporary folk psychology. (shrink)
This paper presents an account of the manner in which a proposition’s immediate structural features are related to its core truth-conditional features. The leading idea is that for a proposition to have a certain immediate structure is just for certain entities to play certain roles in the correct theory of the brute facts regarding that proposition’s truth conditions. The paper explains how this account addresses certain worries and questions recently raised by Jeffery King and Scott Soames.
This paper employs some outcomes (for the most part due to David Lewis) of the contemporary debate on the metaphysics of dispositions to evaluate those dispositional analyses of meaning that make use of the concept of a disposition in ideal conditions. The first section of the paper explains why one may find appealing the notion of an ideal-condition dispositional analysis of meaning and argues that Saul Kripke’s well-known argument against such analyses is wanting. The second section focuses on Lewis’ work (...) in the metaphysics of dispositions in order to call attention to some intuitions about the nature of dispositions that we all seem to share. In particular, I stress the role of what I call ‘Actuality Constraint’. The third section of the paper maintains that the Actuality Constraint can be used to show that the dispositions with which ideal-condition dispositional analyses identify my meaning addition by ‘+’ do not exist (in so doing, I develop a suggestion put forward by Paul Boghossian). This immediately implies that ideal-condition dispositional analyses of meaning cannot work. The last section discusses a possible objection to my argument. The point of the objection is that the argument depends on an illicit assumption. I show (1) that, in fact, the assumption in question is far from illicit and (2) that even without this assumption it is possible to argue that the dispositions with which ideal-condition dispositional analyses identify my meaning addition by ‘+’ do not exist. (shrink)
In this paper I present some of Robert N. McLaughlin's critique of a truth functional approach to conditionals as it appears in his book On the Logic of Ordinary Conditionals. Based on his criticism I argue that the basic principles of logic together amount to epistemological and metaphysical implications that can only be accepted from a logical atomist perspective. Attempts to account for conditional relations within this philosophical framework will necessarily fail. I thus argue that it is not truth functionality (...) as such that is the problem, but the philosophical foundation of modern logic. (shrink)
Among theories of personal identity over time the simple view has not been popular among philosophers, but it nevertheless remains the default view among non philosophers. It may be construed either as the view that nothing grounds a claim of personal identity over time, or that something quite simple (a soul perhaps) is the ground. If the former construal is accepted, a conspicuous difficulty is that the condition of causal dependence between person-stages is absent. But this leaves such a view (...) open to an objection from the failure to provide a condition of individuation. If, on the other hand something like a soul is said to ground personal identity over time, such an account turns out to be more suited to a kind of continuity view. (shrink)
In this paper I will be concerned with the question as to whether expressivist theories of meaning can coherently be combined with deflationist theories of truth. After outlining what I take expressivism to be and what I take deflationism about truth to be, I’ll explain why I don’t take the general version of this question to be very hard, and why the answer is ‘yes’. Having settled that, I’ll move on to what I take to be a more pressing and (...) interesting version of the question, arising from a prima facie tension between deflationism about truth and the motivations underlying expressivism for what I take to be two of its most promising applications: to indicative conditionals and epistemic modals. Here I’ll argue that the challenge is substantive, but that there is no conceptual obstacle to its being met, provided that one’s expressivism takes the right form. (shrink)
A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker 1975) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three much-discussed phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study of conditionals, (...) broader themes in the philosophy of language and formal semantics are also engaged here. This new analysis exploits a dynamic conception of meaning where the meaning of a symbol is its potential to change an agent’s mental state (or the state of a conversation) rather than being the symbol’s content (e.g. the proposition it expresses). The analysis of conditionals is also built on the idea that the contrast between subjunctive and indicative conditionals parallels a contrast between revising and consistently extending some body of information. (shrink)
I take issue with two claims of DeRose: Conditionals of deliberation must not depend on backtracking grounds. ‘Were’ed-up conditionals coincide with future-directed indicative conditionals; the only difference in their meaning is that they must not depend on backtracking grounds. I use Egan’s counterexamples to causal decision theory to contest the first and an example of backtracking reasoning by David Lewis to contest the second claim. I tentatively outline a rivaling account of ‘were’ed-up conditionals which combines features of the standard analysis (...) of counterfactuals with the contextual relevance of the corresponding indicative conditionals. (shrink)
Conditional sentences are among the most intriguing and puzzling features of language, and analysis of their meaning and function has important implications for, and uses in, many areas of philosophy. Jonathan Bennett, one of the world's leading experts, distils many years' work and teaching into this Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, the fullest and most authoritative treatment of the subject. An ideal introduction for undergraduates with a philosophical grounding, it also offers a rich source of illumination and stimulation for graduate students (...) and professional philosophers. (shrink)
It is generally agreed that constructions of the form “if P, Q” are capable of conveying a number of different relations between antecedent and consequent, with pragmatics playing a central role in determining these relations. Controversy concerns what the conventional contribution of the if-clause is, how it constrains the pragmatic processes, and what those processes are. In this essay, I begin to argue that the conventional contribution of if-clauses to semantics is exhausted by the fact that these clauses introduce a (...) proposition without presenting it as true so that the consequent can be understood in relation to it. Given our cognitive interests in such non-truth-presentational introductions, conditionals will make salient the wide but nevertheless disciplined variety of contents that we naturally attribute to them; no further substantial constraints of the sorts proposed by standard theories of conditionals are needed to explain the phenomena. If this is correct, it provides prima facie evidence for a radically contextualist account of conditionals according to which conditionals have no truth-evaluable or intuitively complete content absent some contextually provided, sufficiently salient relation between antecedent and consequent. (shrink)
Numerous triviality results have been directed at a collection of views that tie the probability of a conditional sentence to the conditional probability of the consequent on its antecedent. -/- In this paper I argue that this identification makes little sense if conditional sentences are context sensitive. The best alternative, I argue, is a version of the thesis which states that if your total evidence is E then the evidential probability of a conditional evaluated in a context where E is (...) salient is the probability of the consequent given the antecedent. The biggest challenge to this thesis comes from the 'static' triviality arguments developed by Stalnaker, Hajek and Hall. It is argued that these arguments rely on invalid principles of conditional logic and that the thesis is consistent with a reasonably strong logic that does not include the principles in question. (shrink)
A number of authors have suggested that a conditional analysis of dispositions must take roughly the following form: Thing X is disposed to produce response R to stimulus S just in case, if X were exposed to S and surrounding circumstances were auspicious, then X would produce R. The great challenge is cashing out the relevant notion of ‘auspicious circumstances’. I give a general argument which entails that all existing conditional analyses fail, and that there is no satisfactory way to (...) define ‘auspicious circumstances’ just in terms of S, R, and X. Instead, I argue that the auspicious circumstances C for the manifestation of a disposition constitute a third irreducible element of that disposition, and that to pick out (or to ‘individuate’) that disposition one must specify C along with S and R. This enables a new conditional analysis of dispositions that gives intuitively satisfying answers in cases that pose problems for other approaches. (shrink)
This is a 'state of the art' collection of essays on the relation between probabilities, especially conditional probabilities, and conditionals. It provides new negative results which sharply limit the ways conditionals can be related to conditional probabilities. There are also positive ideas and results which will open up new areas of research. The collection is intended to honour Ernest W. Adams, whose seminal work is largely responsible for creating this area of inquiry. As well as describing, evaluating, and applying Adams' (...) work the contributions extend his ideas in directions he may or may not have anticipated, but that he certainly inspired. In addition to a wide range of philosophers of science, the volume should interest computer scientists and linguists. (shrink)
Explains how to use a trivalent semantics to explain what is often called Adam’s Thesis, the thesis that the probability of a conditional is the conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent.
In an earlier paper in these pages (2008), we explored the puzzling link between dispositions and conditionals. First, we rehearsed the standard counterexamples to the simple conditional analysis and the refined conditional analysis defended by David Lewis. Second, we attacked a tempting response to these counterexamples: what we called the ‘getting specific strategy’. Third, we presented a series of structural considerations that pose problems for many attempts to understand the link between dispositions and conditionals. Finally, we developed our own account (...) of this link, which avoids all of the standard counterexamples and comports with the relevant structural considerations. In this paper, we reply to some objections. (shrink)
This collection brings together some of Frank Jackson's most influential essays on mind, action, conditionals, method in metaphysics, and ethics. These have each been revised for this edition, and are presented along with his challenge to orthodoxy on the new riddle of induction.
Expressing a widely-held view, David Hitchcock claims that "an enthymematic argument ... assumes at least the truth of the argument's associated conditional ... whose antecedent is the conjunction of the argument's explicit premises and whose consequent is the argument's conclusion." But even definitionally, this view is problematic, since an argument's being "enthymematic" or incomplete with respect to its explicit premises means that the conclusion is not implied by these premises alone. The paper attempts to specify the ways in which the (...) view is incorrect, as well as seemingly correct (e.g., the case of a Modus Ponens wherein the major premise is implicit). -/- . (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to distinguish between, and examine, three issues surrounding Humphreys's paradox and interpretation of conditional propensities. The first issue involves the controversy over the interpretation of inverse conditional propensities — conditional propensities in which the conditioned event occurs before the conditioning event. The second issue is the consistency of the dispositional nature of the propensity interpretation and the inversion theorems of the probability calculus, where an inversion theorem is any theorem of probability that makes (...) explicit (or implicit) appeal to a conditional probability and its corresponding inverse conditional probability. The third issue concerns the relationship between the notion of stochastic independence which is supported by the propensity interpretation, and various notions of causal independence. In examining each of these issues, it is argued that the dispositional character of the propensity interpretation provides a consistent and useful interpretation of the probability calculus. (shrink)
"If you turn left at the next corner, you will see a blue house at the end of the street." That sentence -- a conditional -- might be true even though it is possible that you will not see a blue house at the end of the street when you turn left at the next corner. A moving van may block your view; the house may have been painted pink; a crow might swoop down and peck out your eyes. Still, (...) in some contexts, we might ignore these possibilities and correctly assert the conditional. In this book, Christopher Gauker argues that such context-relativity is the key to understanding the semantics of conditionals. Contexts are defined as objective features of the situation in which a conversation takes place, and the semantic properties of sentences -- conditionals included -- are defined in terms of assertibility in a context. One of the primary goals of a theory of conditionals has to be to distinguish correctly between valid and invalid arguments containing conditionals. According to Gauker, an argument is valid if the conclusion is assertible in every context in which the premises are assertible. This runs counter to what Gauker sees as a systematic misreading of the data by other authors, who judge arguments to be invalid if they can think of a context in which the premises are judged true and some other context in which the conclusion is judged false. Different schools of thought on conditionals reflect fundamentally different approaches to semantics. Gauker offers his theory as a motive and test case for a distinctive kind of semantics that dispenses with reference relations and possible worlds. (shrink)
The expression conditional fallacy identifies a family of arguments deemed to entail odd and false consequences for notions defined in terms of counterfactuals. The antirealist notion of truth is typically defined in terms of what a rational enquirer or a community of rational enquirers would believe if they were suitably informed. This notion is deemed to entail, via the conditional fallacy, odd and false propositions, for example that the Peircean end of inquiry has been reached or that there is necessarily (...) a rational enquirer. If these consequences followed from the antirealist notion of truth, alethic antirealism should probably be rejected. In this paper we analyse the conditional fallacy from a semantic (i.e. model-theoretic) point of view. This allows us to identify with precision the philosophical commitments that ground the validity of this type of arguments. We show that the conditional fallacy arguments against alethic antirealism are valid only if controversial metaphysical assumptions are accepted. We suggest that the antirealist is not committed to the conditional fallacy because she is not committed to some of these assumptions. (shrink)
Two experiments (N1 = 141, N2 = 40) investigate two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis for the first time. Aristotle’s Thesis is a negated conditional, which consists of one propositional variable with a negation either in the antecedent (version 1) or in the consequent (version 2). This task allows to infer if people interpret indicative conditionals as material conditionals or as conditional events. In the first experiment I investigate between-participants the two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis crossed with abstract versus concrete task (...) material. The modal response for all four groups is consistent with the conditional event and inconsistent with the material conditional interpretation. This observation is replicated in the second experiment. Moreover, the second experiment rules out scope ambiguities of the negation of conditionals. Both experiments provide new evidence against the material conditional interpretation of conditionals and support the conditional event interpretation. Finally, I discuss implications for modeling indicative conditionals and the relevance of this work for experimental philosophy. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom has it that many intriguing features of indicative conditionals aren’t shared by subjunctive conditionals. Subjunctive morphology is common in discussions of wishes and wants, however, and conditionals are commonly used in such discussions as well. As a result such discussions are a good place to look for subjunctive conditionals that exhibit features usually associated with indicatives alone. Here I offer subjunctive versions of J. L. Austin’s ‘biscuit’ conditionals—e.g., “There are biscuits on the sideboard if you want them”—and subjunctive (...) versions of Allan Gibbard’s ‘stand-off’ or ‘Sly Pete’ conditionals, in which speakers with no relevant false beliefs can in the same context felicitously assert conditionals with the same antecedents and contradictory consequents. My cases undercut views according to which the indicative/subjunctive divide marks a great difference in the meaning of conditionals. They also make trouble for treatments of indicative conditionals that cannot readily be generalized to subjunctives. (shrink)
Draft of a paper for the Sinn und Bedeutung 14 conference. Explains how to capture the link between conditionals the probability of indicative conditionals and conditional probability using a classical semantics for conditionals. (Note: some introductory material is shared with a twin paper, "Capturing the Relationship Between Conditionals and Conditional Probability with a Trivalent Semantics".).
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)
A paper by Schulz (Philos Stud 149:367–386, 2010) describes how the suppositional view of indicative conditionals can be supplemented with a derived view of epistemic modals. In a recent criticism of this paper, Willer (Philos Stud 153:365–375, 2011) argues that the resulting account of conditionals and epistemic modals cannot do justice to the validity of certain inference patterns involving modalised conditionals. In the present response, I analyse Willer’s argument, identify an implicit presupposition which can plausibly be denied and show that (...) accepting it would blur the difference between plain assumptions and their epistemic necessitations. (shrink)
Michael Dummett has advanced, very influentially, the view that Frege means truth conditions by his notion of thought (Gedanke). My aim in this paper is to argue that Dummett and others are mistaken in this claim. First, Frege's aversion of the correspondence theory of truth does not square well with Dummett's claim. Secondly, and more importantly, Grundgesetze I, §32, is the only place where Frege even appears to be talking about truth conditions in connection with his notion of thought -- (...) and even there, I shall show, he does not really identify thoughts with truth conditions, but states only the triviality that a statement such as, say, 'Leibniz is a philosopher' expresses the thought that Leibniz is a philosopher. (shrink)
The overall strategy of Lycan’s paper is to distinguish three kinds of conditional assertion theories, and then to show, in order, how they are variously afflicted by a set of problems. The three kinds of theory were the Quine-Rhinelander theory (or the Simple Illocutionary theory), The Semanticized Quine-Rhinelander, and the No Truth Value theory (or NTV). This strategy offers considerable clarity, but it comes at a cost, for what I take to be the best version of a conditional assertion theory (...) contains core parts of all three theories. In what follows, I will suggest that many of the objections offered by Lycan can be dealt when all the pieces are taken into consideration at the same time. But I will also suggest that a refined version of what Lycan called the Immediate Implausibility objection does show us that the conditional assertion theory is false. (shrink)
Set-valued choice functions provide a framework that is general enough to encompass a wide variety of theories that are significant to the study of rationality but, at the same time, offer enough structure to articulate consistency conditions that can be used to characterize some of the theories within this encompassed variety. Nonetheless, two-tiered choice functions, such as those advocated by Isaac Levi, are not easily characterized within the framework of set-valued choice functions. The present work proposes conditional choice functions as (...) the proper carriers of synchronic rationality. The resulting framework generalizes the familiar one mentioned above without emptying it and, moreover, provides a natural setting for two-tiered choice rules. (shrink)
Critique of prevailing textbook conception of sufficient conditions and necessary conditions as a truth functional relation of material implication (p->q)/(~q->~p). Explanation of common sense conception of condition as correlative of consequence, involving dependence. Utility of this conception exhibited in resolving puzzles regarding ontology, truth, and fatalism.
Future Logic is an original and wide-ranging treatise of formal logic. It deals with deduction and induction, of categorical and conditional propositions, involving the natural, temporal, extensional, and logical modalities. This is the first work ever to strictly formalize the inductive processes of generalization and particularization, through the novel methods of factorial analysis, factor selection and formula revision. This is the first work ever to develop a formal logic of the natural, temporal and extensional types of conditioning (as distinct (...) from logical conditioning), including their production from modal categorical premises. (shrink)
Conditionals has at its center an extended essay on this problematic and much-debated subject in the philosophy of language and logic, which the widely respected Oxford philosopher Michael Woods had been preparing for publication at the time of his death in 1993. It appears here edited by his eminent colleague David Wiggins, and is accompanied by a commentary specially written by a leading expert on the topic, Dorothy Edgington. This masterly and original treatment of conditionals will demand the attention of (...) all philosophers working in this area. (shrink)
We examine the notion of conditionals and the role of conditionals in inductive logics and arguments. We identify three mistakes commonly made in the study of, or motivation for, non-classical logics. A nonmonotonic consequence relation based on evidential probability is formulated. With respect to this acceptance relation some rules of inference of System P are unsound, and we propose refinements that hold in our framework.
According to probabilistic theories of reasoning in psychology, people's degree of belief in an indicative conditional `if A, then B' is given by the conditional probability, P(B|A). The role of language pragmatics is relatively unexplored in the new probabilistic paradigm. We investigated how consequent relevance aects participants' degrees of belief in conditionals about a randomly chosen card. The set of events referred to by the consequent was either a strict superset or a strict subset of the set of events referred (...) to by the antecedent. We manipulated whether the superset was expressed using a disjunction or a hypernym. We also manipulated the source of the dependency, whether in long-term memory or in the stimulus. For subset-consequent conditionals, patterns of responses were mostly conditional probability followed by conjunction. For superset-consequent conditionals, conditional probability responses were most common for hypernym dependencies and least common for disjunction dependencies, which were replaced with responses indicating inferred consequent irrelevance. Conditional probability responses were also more common for knowledge-based than stimulus-based dependencies. We suggest. (shrink)
How does other people’s opinion affect judgments of norm transgressions? In our study, we used a modification of the famous Asch paradigm (1951, 1955) to examine conformity in the moral domain. The question we addressed was how peer group opinion alters normative judgments of scenarios involving violations of moral, social, and decency norms. The results indicate that even moral norms are subject to conformity, especially in situations with a high degree of social presence. Interestingly, the degree of conformity can distinguish (...) between different types of norms. (shrink)
This book looks at the ways in which conditionals, an integral part of philosophy and logic, can be of practical use in computer programming. It analyzes the different types of conditionals, including their applications and potential problems. Other topics include defeasible logics, the Ramsey test, and a unified view of consequence relation and belief revision. Its implications will be of interest to researchers in logic, philosophy, and computer science, particularly artificial intelligence.
This paper motivates and develops what I call a condition semantics for moral terms. According to condition semantics, moral sentences conventionally distinguish among moral standards (or test whether a moral standard meets a certain condition) just as ordinary factual sentences conventionally distinguish among possible worlds (or test whether a possible world meets a certain condition). This point is captured formally within an extension of the familiar truth-conditional paradigm. The resulting analysis improves upon its main competitors: invariantism and contextualism. The framework (...) of condition semantics also offers a perspicuous way of posing various classical ethical and metaethical questions—e.g., concerning relativism, expressivism, and judgment internalism. This can motivate clearer, better motivated answers and suggest new ways the dialectic may proceed. (shrink)
The present chapter describes a probabilistic framework of human reasoning. It is based on probability logic. While there are several approaches to probability logic, we adopt the coherence based approach.