A category of non-standard predicates was introduced by Goodman (1954) while attempting to recast the old riddle of induction in terms amenable to solution within confirmation theory. The New Riddle proved as intractable as the old one but the category of predicates, "mutant" ones, may assist us in understanding cognitive development from neonate vacuity to linguisticallyinformed rational inquiry. This paper proposes a naturalistic explanation of why we tend to reject grue-type predicates as proper bases for induction. Its conclusion is that (...) such predicates violate requirements on normal predicates of languages that are capable of being learned by humans. The explanation does not itself directly address standard epistemological questions associated with mutant predicates but instead focusses on the pragmatic bases of such epistemic practices as induction and finds them unfulfilled by mutant predi-. (shrink)
I The area between sensation and conceptualization is gray and confusing. Despite abundant philosophical and empirical research, results about how to understand this area that command widespread assent are very scarce. One contributory source to this impasse is the fact that, for mature and intact humans, the sensory, the perceptual, and the conceptual seem merged in consciousness. Perception is phenomenally so "cognitively penetrable" - so infused for humans by discursive understanding - that experimental and theoretical efforts to distinguish between it (...) and conceptualization, and consequently between it and sensation, often seem constrained only by whatever favored theory drives the effort. In what follows, I consider reasons for distin- guishing perceptual from conceptual categories and suggest a way of making the distinction. First, however, some preliminaries will help make clearer just what topic is under discussion. (shrink)
I applaud Mitchell et al.’s expanded emphasis on cognition in learning theory, for our understanding pervades all we do. Nevertheless, there are fundamental problems with the propositional approach they propose. The title bills a propositional approach to human associative learning, animal learning being tucked in later as an egalitarian gesture, but the model proposed would be a standard neo-classic account of human learning in terms of a representational theory of mind /except for /its universal extension to all learning, human and (...) otherwise. Such neo-classic accounts deem it explanation enough of some human behavior to hypothesize rich formal structures of inference and sentence generation internal to the organism as causes of like changes in behavior. The hypothesized structures are extrapolated from formal linguistics and formal logic. Some have found such explanations useful, not surprisingly for computer modeling of human linguistic behavior, but the target article’s bold step is to extend the neo-classic model to all animal learning. (shrink)
The theoretical framework of Bloom's account of child word learning is here assessed only for initial plausibility and neural plausibility. The verdict on both dimensions is low, largely due to the size and character of knowledge it is claimed that the child brings to the task. It is suggested that elements of constructivist accounts could profitably be drawn from to reduce this implausibility.