Often implicit in visual display design and development is a gold standard of photorealism. By approximating direct perception, photorealism appeals to users and designers by being both attractive and apparently effortless. The vexing result from numerous performance evaluations, though, is that increasing realism often impairs performance. Smallman and St. John (2005) labeled misplaced faith in realistic information display Naïve Realism and theorized it resulted from a triplet of folk fallacies about perception. Here, we illustrate issues associated with the wider trend (...) towards realism by focusing on a specific current trend for high-fidelity perspective view (3D) geospatial displays. In two experiments, we validated Naïve Realism for different terrain understanding tasks, explored whether certain individuals are particularly prone to Naïve Realism, and determined the ability of task feedback to mitigate Naïve Realism. Performance was measured for laying and judging a concealed route across realistic terrain shown in different display formats. Task feedback was either implicit, in Experiment 1, or explicit in Experiment 2. Prospective and retrospective intuitions about the best display formats for the tasks were recorded and then related to task performance and participant spatial ability. Participants generally intuited they would perform tasks better with more realism than they actually required. For example, counter to intuitions, lowering fidelity of the terrain display revealed the gross scene layout needed to lay a well-concealed route. Individuals of high spatial ability calibrated their intuitions with only implicit task feedback, whereas those of low spatial ability required salient, explicit feedback to calibrate their intuitions about display realism. Results are discussed in the wider context of applying perceptual science to display design, and combating folk fallacies. (shrink)
A long tradition regards Robert Desgabets as a Cartesian empiricist. He says things that sound strikingly like Locke, and he argues against anti-empiricist reasoning in Descartes, Malebranche, and Arnauld. Moreover, throughout his writings he endorses the empiricist principle that nothing is in the intellect except what was previously in the senses. Since the Cartesians are generally supposed to be prototypical non -empiricists, Desgabets’s being a Cartesian empiricist would make him a particularly interesting specimen. In this paper, however, I challenge the (...) case for taking Desgabets to be an empiricist. (shrink)
Michael Cook's classic study, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge, 2001), reflected upon the Islamic injunction to forbid wrongdoing. This book is a short, accessible survey of the same material. Using Islamic history to illustrate his argument, Cook unravels the complexities of the subject by demonstrating how the past informs the present. At the book's core is an important message about the values of Islamic traditions and their relevance in the modern world.
At various times in history, a single power finds itself, at least for its region and time, a 'sole remaining superpower'. This paper explores the parallels between Athens' superpower status at the end of the Persian War and the US's superpower status in the contemporary world. Athens mismanaged her situation in ways that precipitated her own demise in the Peloponnesian War. The question of what might be analogous to Athens' conduct in contemporary US policy is explored to serve as a (...) kind of 'cautionary tale' for modern US strategy. (shrink)
What kind of duty do we have to try to stop other people doing wrong? The question is intelligible in just about any culture, but few of them seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition, where 'commanding right' and 'forbidding wrong' is a central moral tenet already mentioned in the Koran. As an historian of Islam whose research has ranged widely over space and time, Michael Cook is well placed (...) to interpret this complex subject. His book represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation. It covers the origins of Muslim thinking about 'forbidding wrong', the relevant doctrinal developments over the centuries, and its significance in Sunni and Shi'ite thought today. In this way the book contributes to the understanding of Islamic thought, its relevance to contemporary Islamic politics and ideology, and raises fundamental questions for the comparative study of ethics. (shrink)
Molecular biologists use different kinds of reasoning strategies for different tasks, such as hypothesis formation, experimental design, and anomaly resolution. More specifically, the reasoning strategies discussed in this paper may be characterized as (1) abstraction-instantiation, in which an abstract skeletal model is instantiated to produce an experimental system; (2) the systematic scan, in which alternative hypotheses are systematically generated; and (3) modular anomaly resolution, in which components of a model are stated explicitly and methodically changed to generate alternative changes to (...) resolve an anomaly. This work grew out of close observation over a period of six months of an actively functioning molecular genetics laboratory. (shrink)