Situationtheory has been developed over the last decade and various versions of the theory have been applied to a number of linguistic issues. However, not much work has been done in regard to its computational aspects. In this paper, we review the existing approaches towards `computational situationtheory' with considerable emphasis on our own research.
At the heart of natural language processing is the understanding of context dependent meanings. This paper presents a preliminary model of formal contexts based on situationtheory. It also gives a worked-out example to show the use of contexts in lifting, i.e., how propositions holding in a particular context transform when they are moved to another context. This is useful in NLP applications where preserving meaning is a desideratum.
The work reported here is of two sorts. One the one hand, we attempt to consolidate a lot of recent work on situationtheory into a workable version, one that researchers can use and add to in ways that might be suitable for various applications. On the other, we attempt to solve a representational problem with situationtheory: how can we represent complicated situation-theoretic objects in a way that is perspicuous. Our way in to (...) the latter problem comes from an on-going project aimed at bringing insights from Discourse Representation Theory and SituationTheory to bear on one another. In terms of this project, this paper represents a rather modest contribution. Our goal is to design a language for representing situationtheoretic objects that is based on Kamp's discourse representation structures (drss). This was where we started but we found that working on the notation and its semantics led us to clari cations of various aspects of situationtheory. A major part of the clari cation in the theory comes from our use of the work on parameters and abstraError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapction by Aczel and Lunnon AL].. (shrink)
Situationtheory, as developed by Barwise and his collaborators, is used to demonstrate the possibility of defining teleology (and related notions, like that of proper or biological function) in terms of higher order causation, along the lines suggested by Taylor and Wright. This definition avoids the excessive narrowness that results from trying to define teleology in terms of evolutionary history or the effects of natural selection. By legitimating the concept of teleology, this definition also provides promising new avenues (...) for solving long standing problems in the philosophy of mind, such as the problems of intentionality and mental causation. (shrink)
The foregoing set of theorems forms an effective foundation for the theory of situations and worlds. All twenty-five theorems seem to be basic, reasonable principles that structure the domains of properties, relations, states of affairs, situations, and worlds in true and philosophically interesting ways. They resolve 15 of the 19 choice points defined in Barwise (1989) (see Notes 22, 27, 31, 32, 35, 36, 39, 43, and 45). Moreover, important axioms and principles stipulated by situation theorists are derived (...) (see Notes 33, 37, and 38). This is convincing evidence that the foregoing constitutes a theory of situations. Note that worlds are just a special kind of situation, and that the basic theorems of world theory, which were derived in previous work, can still be derived in this situation-theoretic setting. So there seems to be no fundamental incompatibility between situations and worlds — they may peacably coexist in the foundations of metaphysics. The theory may therefore reconcile two research programs that appeared to be heading off in different directions. And we must remind the reader that the general metaphysical principles underlying our theory were not designed with the application to situationtheory in mind. This suggests that the general theory and the underlying distinction have explanatory power, for they seem to relate and systematize apparently unrelated phenomena. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a fresh interpretation of Leibniz’s theory of space, in which I explain the connection of his relational theory to both his mathematical theory of analysis situs and his theory of substance. I argue that the elements of his mature theory are not bare bodies (as on a standard relationalist view) nor bare points (as on an absolutist view), but situations. Regarded as an accident of an individual body, a situation (...) is the complex of its angles and distances to other co-existing bodies, founded in the representation or state of the substance or substances contained in the body. The complex of all such mutually compatible situations of co-existing bodies constitutes an order of situations, or instantaneous space. Because these relations of situation change from one instant to another, space is an accidental whole that is continuously changing and becoming something different, and therefore a phenomenon. As Leibniz explains to Clarke, it can be represented mathematically by supposing some set of existents hypothetically (and counterfactually) to remain in a fixed mutual relation of situation, and gauging all subsequent situations in terms of transformations with respect to this initial set. Space conceived in terms of such allowable transformations is the subject of Analysis Situs. Finally, insofar as space is conceived in abstraction from any bodies that might individuate the situations, it encompasses all possible relations of situation. This abstract space, the order of all possible situations, is an abstract entity, and therefore ideal. (shrink)
This paper outlines a quantitative theory of strongly semantic information (TSSI) based on truth-values rather than probability distributions. The main hypothesis supported in the paper is that the classic quantitative theory of weakly semantic information (TWSI), based on probability distributions, assumes that truth-values supervene on factual semantic information, yet this principle is too weak and generates a well-known semantic paradox, whereas TSSI, according to which factual semantic information encapsulates truth, can avoid the paradox and is more in line (...) with the standard conception of what generally counts as semantic information. After a brief introduction, section two outlines the semantic paradox implied by TWSI, analysing it in terms of an initial conflict between two requisites of a quantitative theory of semantic information. In section three, three criteria of semantic information equivalence are used to provide a taxonomy of quantitative approaches to semantic information and introduce TSSI. In section four, some further desiderata that should be fulfilled by a quantitative TSSI are explained. From section five to section seven, TSSI is developed on the basis of a calculus of truth-values and semantic discrepancy with respect to a given situation. In section eight, it is shown how TSSI succeeds in solving the paradox. Section nine summarises the main results of the paper and indicates some future developments. (shrink)
In this paper, an objective conception of contexts based loosely upon situationtheory is developed and formalized. Unlike subjective conceptions, which take contexts to be something like sets of beliefs, contexts on the objective conception are taken to be complex, structured pieces of the world that (in general) contain individuals, other contexts, and propositions about them. An extended first-order language for this account is developed. The language contains complex terms for propositions, and the standard predicate "ist" that expresses (...) the relation that holds between a context and a proposition just in case the latter is true in the former. The logic for the objective conception features a global classical predicate calculus, a local logic for reasoning within contexts, and axioms for propositions. The specter of paradox is banished from the logic by allowing "ist" to be nonbivalent in problematic cases: it is not in general the case, for any context c and proposition p, that either ist(c,p) or ist(c, ¬p). An important representational capability of the logic is illustrated by proving an appropriately modified version of an illustrative theorem from McCarthy's classic Blocks World example. (shrink)
Since its inception, situationtheory has been concerned with the situated nature of meaning and cognition, a theme which has also recently gained some prominence in Artificial Intelligence. Channel theory is a recently developed framework which builds on concepts introduced in situationtheory, in an attempt to provide a general theory of information flow. In particular, the channel theoretic framework offers an account of fallible regularities, regularities which provide enough structure to an agent's environment (...) to support efficient cognitive processing but which are limited in their reliability to specific circumstances. This paper describes how this framework can lead to a different perspective on defeasible reasoning: rather than being seen as reasoning with incomplete information, an agent makes use of a situated regularity, choosing to use the regularity that seems best suited (trading off reliability and simplicity) to the circumstances it happens to find itself in. We present a formal model for this task, based on the channel theoretic framework, and sketch how the model may be used as the basis for a methodology of defeasible situated reasoning, whereby agents reason with simple monotonic regularities but may revise their choice of regularity on learning more about their circumstances. (shrink)
In The Person and the Situation , Ross and Nisbett seek to answer the question "What have we really learned from social psychology?" They offer their book as a "throwback to a golden age, a tribute to our intellectual forebears and as a 'stand tall and be proud' pep talk for our colleagues (p. xv)." They succeed splendidly on all these counts.
Herbert McCabe, OP (d. 2001), was a significant theological figure in England in the last century. A scholar of Aquinas, he was also influenced by Wittgenstein and Marx, his reading of whom helped him articulate a distinctive Thomistic account of human embodiment that serves as a critique of other dominant approaches in ethics. This article shows McCabe's contribution to moral theology by placing his work in conversation with other important approaches, namely, situation ethics, proportionalism, and the New Natural Law (...)Theory. (shrink)
In this small book logician and mathematician Jens Erik Fenstad addresses some of the most important foundational questions of linguistics: What should a theory of meaning look like and how might we provide the missing link between meaning theory and our knowledge of how the brain works? The author’s answer is twofold. On the one hand, he suggests that logical semantics in the Montague tradition and other broadly conceived symbolic approaches do not suffice. On the other hand, he (...) does not argue that the logical approach should be discarded; instead, he opts for a methodological pluralism in which symbolic approaches to meaning are combined with geo- metric ones such as Conceptual Spaces  and discusses ways in which these geometric accounts could be hooked up with connectionist frameworks and dynamic systems approaches in neurophysiology. (shrink)
This essay discusses ways in which contemporary mathematical logic may be reconciled with John Dewey’s logical theory. Standard formal techniques drawn from dynamic modal logic, situationtheory, generative grammar, generalized quantifier theory, category theory, lambda calculi, game theoretic semantics, network exchange theory, etc., are accommodated within a framework consistent with Dewey’s Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938). This essay outlines some basic features of Dewey’s logical theory, working in a top-down fashion through (...) various technical notions pertaining to existential and ideational aspects of inquiry, from contextual notions of situations and ideologies, to primitive operational and empirical notions of modes of action and particular qualities. The aim here is to display the scope of Dewey’s logical theory and thus establish a framework relative to which details may be explored without losing sight of their larger significance. (shrink)
The word ‘situation’ is met quite often not only in everyday life but also in legal literature. It describes the interrelations among the society, officials, public administration entities, institutions, states, etc. Frequently it is a characterization of certain controversial phenomena. In criminal justice, however, this word carries a special practical and applied meaning and requires constant in-depth analysis not only of the etymology of ‘a situation’ but also of its legal theoretic meaning, purpose, function and practical application. In (...) the present article, the authors examine the criminalistics situation—one of the most significant categories of the theory of criminalistics and crime investigation techniques. The article explores a number of concepts such as ‘a criminal situation’, ‘a criminalistics situation’, ‘a crime situation’ and ‘a crime investigation situation’ as well as their content, classification and interrelations. The investigation of criminal acts encounters criminal law, criminological and criminalistics situations. Yet, all of them are linked by the fact that they represent particular situations which can conditionally be called ‘criminal situations’. After a proper analysis and classification of the situations of criminal acts, it is possible to determine the strategic and tactical characteristics of their investigation situations, forecast their course and a likely outcome. (shrink)
Morality for the purposes of this paper consists of sets of rules or principles intended for the general regulation of conduct for all. Intuitionist accounts of morality are rejected as making reasoned analysis of morals impossible. In many interactions, there is partial conflict and partial cooperation. From the general social point of view, the rational thing to propose is that we steer clear of conflict and promote cooperation. This is what it is rational to propose to reinforce, and to assist (...) in reinforcing in society; it is not necessarily what it is individually rational to do. Even so, given the general situation, the rationality of its reinforcement will typically support the rationality of individual action as well. Game theory makes it possible to clarify these interactions, and these proposals for social solutions. (shrink)
A basic theme of Winograd and Flores (1986) is that the principal function of language is to co-ordinate social activity. It is, they claim, from this function that meaning itself arises. They criticise approaches that try to understand meaning through the mechanisms of reference, the Rationalist Tradition as they call it. To seek to ground meaning in social practice is not new, but the approach is presently attractive because of difficulties encountered with the notion of reference. Without taking a view (...) on whether these are insuperable, the present paper accepts Winograd and Flores'' challenge and attempts to lay aside reference and to base a conception of meaning directly in terms of co-ordination and consensus within a linguistic community. (shrink)
This paper proposes a revised Theory of Moves (TOM) to analyze matrix games between two players when payoffs are given as ordinals. The games are analyzed when a given player i must make the first move, when there is a finite limit n on the total number of moves, and when the game starts at a given initial state S. Games end when either both players pass in succession or else a total of n moves have been made. Studies (...) are made of the influence of i, n, and S on the outcomes. It is proved that these outcomes ultimately become periodic in n and therefore exhibit long-term predictable behavior. Efficient algorithms are given to calculate these ultimate outcomes by computer. Frequently the ultimate outcomes are independent of i, S, and n when n is sufficiently large; in this situation this common ultimate outcome is proved to be Pareto-optimal. The use of ultimate outcomes gives rise to a concept of stable points, which are analogous to Nash equilibria but consider long-term effects. If the initial state is a stable point, then no player has an incentive to move from that state, under the assumption that any initial move could be followed by a long series of moves and countermoves. The concept may be broadened to that of a stable set. It is proved that every game has a minimal stable set, and any two distinct minimal stable sets are disjoint. Comparisons are made with the results of standard TOM. (shrink)
Proportional quantification and progressive aspect interact in English in revealing ways. This paper investigates these interactions and draws conclusions about the semantics of the progressive and telicity. In the scope of the progressive, the proportion named by a proportionality quantifier (e.g. most in The software was detecting most errors) must hold in every subevent of the event so described, indicating that a predicate in the scope of the progressive is interpreted as an internally homogeneous activity. Such an activity interpretation is (...) argued to be available for telic predicates (e.g. cross the street) because these receive a partitive interpretation except in combination with a completive operator, which asserts that the event so described has culminated. The obligatoriness of the completive operator in the preterit is shown to parametrically distinguish those languages that show completion entailments in the preterit, e.g. English, from those that do not, e.g. Malagasy, Hindi, and Japanese. (shrink)
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant argues that the empirical knowledge of the world depends on a priori conditions of human sensibility and understanding, i. e., our capacities of sense experience and concept formation. The objective knowledge presupposes, on one hand, space and time as a priori conditions of sensibility and, on another hand, a priori judgments, like the principle of causality, as constitutive conditions of understanding. The problem is that in the XX century the physical science completely changed (...) how we conceive our knowledge of the world. Face to this new situation, what was changed in our classical reason? However, if the transcendental point of view is adopted, in the specific case of quantum mechanics, we have to wonder about the general conditions of this theory that make possible such knowledge, which predictive value is much more accurate than the classical physics. The aim of this work is firstly to show the Kantian implications on Bohr’s interpretation of quantum phenomena and secondly to provide an overview of the key elements for understanding the transcendental locus of ordinary language in the quantum mechanics context, in order to give support to a transcendental pragmatic position in the analysis of science. (shrink)
Empirical assessments of Cognitive Behavioral Theory and theoretical considerations raise questions about the fundamental theoretical tenet that psychological disturbances are mediated by consciously accessible cognitive structures. This paper considers this situation in light of emotion theory in philosophy. We argue that the “perceptual theory” of emotions, which underlines the parallels between emotions and sensory perceptions, suggests a conception of cognitive mediation that can accommodate the observed empirical anomalies and one that is consistent with the dual-processing models (...) dominant in cognitive psychology. (shrink)
We present a model for studying communities of epistemically interacting agents who update their belief states by averaging (in a specified way) the belief states of other agents in the community. The agents in our model have a rich belief state, involving multiple independent issues which are interrelated in such a way that they form a theory of the world. Our main goal is to calculate the probability for an agent to end up in an inconsistent belief state due (...) to updating (in the given way). To that end, an analytical expression is given and evaluated numerically, both exactly and using statistical sampling. It is shown that, under the assumptions of our model, an agent always has a probability of less than 2% of ending up in an inconsistent belief state. Moreover, this probability can be made arbitrarily small by increasing the number of independent issues the agents have to judge or by increasing the group size. A real-world situation to which this model applies is a group of experts participating in a Delphi-study. (shrink)
String theory is at the moment the only advanced approach to a unification of all interactions, including gravity. But, in spite of the more than 30 years of its existence, it does not make any empirically testable predictions, and it is completely unknown which physically interpretable principles could form the basis of string theory. At the moment, “string theory” is no theory at all, but rather a labyrinthic structure of mathematical procedures and intuitions. The only motivations (...) for string theory consist in the mutual incompatibility of the standard model of quantum field theory and of general relativity as well as in the metaphysics of the unification program of physics, aimed at a final unified theory of all interactions, including gravity. The article gives a perspective on the problems leading to and resulting from this situation. (shrink)
An alleged counterexample to causal decision theory, put forward by Andy Egan, is studied in some detail. It is argued that Egan rejects the evaluation of causal decision theory on the basis of a description of the decision situation that is different from—indeed inconsistent with—the description on which causal decision theory makes its evaluation. So the example is not a counterexample to causal decision theory. Nevertheless, the example shows that causal decision theory can recommend (...) unratifiable acts (acts that once decided upon appear sub-optimal) which presents a problem in the dynamics of intentions (as a decision is the forming of an intention to act). It is argued that we can defuse this problem if we hold that decision theory is a theory of rational decision making rather than a theory of rational acts. It is shown how decisions can have epistemic side-effects that are not mediated by the act and that there are cases where one can only bring oneself to perform the best act by updating by imaging rather than by conditioning . This provides a pragmatic argument for updating by imaging rather than by conditioning in these cases. (shrink)
The basic theme of Popper's philosophy--that something can come from nothing--is related to the present situation in physical theory. Popper carries his investigation right to the center of current debate in quantum physics. He proposes an interpretation of physics--and indeed an entire cosmology--which is realist, conjectural, deductivist and objectivist, anti-positivist, and anti-instrumentalist. He stresses understanding, reminding us that our ignorance grows faster than our conjectural knowledge.
Millers Living Systems Theory (LST) is known to be very comprehensive. It comprises eight nested hierarchical levels. It also includes twenty critical subsystems. While Millers approach has been analyzed and applied in great detail, some problematic features remain, requiring further explication. One of these is the relationship between reduction and emergence in LST. There are at least four relevant possibilities. One is that LST exhibits neither clear reductionism nor emergence, but is essentially neutral in this regard. Another is that (...) the apparent comprehensiveness of LST is illusory, as the approach remains vulnerable to reduction that could ultimately reduce it to a shadow of its present self. The charge of reductionism has been made by critics leading Miller to defend this theory vehemently as nonreductionist in nature. A third possibility is that LST is not reductionist, but is in fact an emergent theory. Miller makes this claim quite strongly. A fourth possibility, and in some ways the most analytically problematic, is that LST exhibits evidence of both reductionism and emergence simultaneously. Some critics might see this fourth situation as evidence of a troubling paradox or anomaly that must be resolved before further progress can be made in the explication and application of LST. The purpose of the paper is to remove this apparent anomaly. The paper removes this anomaly by differentiating between new-variable emergence and transformational emergence. No concrete evidence is found to contradict Milers claim of emergence in LST, and thus no true anomaly exists. (shrink)
This paper examines the role of ?situations? in John Dewey's philosophy of logic. To do this properly it is necessary to contrast Dewey's conception of experience and mentality with views characteristic of modern epistemology. The primary difference is that, rather than treat experience as peripheral and or external to mental functions (reason, etc.), we should treat experience as a field in and as a part of which thinking takes place. Experience in this broad sense subsumes theory and fact, hypothesis (...) and evidence, reason and observation, thought and perception. Logic in this view is a formal study of the generic features of all possible kinds of experience in this broad (thick, deep, wide, multifaceted) sense. The goal of this paper is to explain what Dewey thinks a situation is in the context of this view of experience, and to argue for the fundamental importance of that idea for logic and philosophy in general. (shrink)
In his celebrated work, A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls argues that, from behind the veil of ignorance, parties in the original position will employ the maximin decision rule to reason to his two principles of justice. In this journal, Olatunji Oyeshile offers a brief and concise outline of some of the historical criticisms of that argument. Oyeshile offers two important criticisms of Rawls' argument. Both, however, are somewhat misplaced, as I shall show. First, he claims that decision (...)theory offers parties in the original position other decision procedures. In fact, none of the alternatives are suitable, given the situation. And second, parties in the original position would first guarantee some minimum of libertarian goods, and then seek additional profits. This objection demonstrates a misunderstanding of the place of the maximin decision rule, as I shall show. -/- I believe that both criticisms stem from a close and careful reading of Buchanan's essay on Rawls. Unfortunately, Buchanan himself seemed to have misunderstood Rawls' original arguments. I rely on problems in Buchanan's original work to defend Rawls' theory against Oyeshile's criticisms. (shrink)
Simulation as an epistemic tool between theory and practice: A Comparison of the Relationship between Theory and Simulation in Science and in Folk Psychology In this paper I explore the concept of simulation that is employed by proponents of the so-called simulation theory within the debate about the nature and scientific status of folk psychology. According to simulation theory, folk psychology is not a sort of theory that postulates theoretical entities (mental states and processes) and (...) general laws, but a practice whereby we put ourselves into others’ shoes and simulate their situation from our own perspective. On the basis of this sort of simulation, we supposedly know how we would act or think or feel, and then expect the same of others. A closer look at the concept of simulation reveals some problems with this view, but also helps to clarify the insight motivating simulation theory. Specifically, I defend the thesis that the analogy to simulations in science shows us how theoretical elements in folk psychology can be complemented by (i.e. not replaced by) the central idea of simulation theory – namely that our own cognitive habits and dispositions provide us with a resource that is distinct from propositional knowledge in folk psychology. I also discuss the idea that our use of simulations during cognitive development enables us to imitate the people around us and thereby to become more similar to them, which in turn makes simulation an increasingly effective epistemic strategy. Insofar as theoretical elements – such as the distinctions, relations, and entities referred to in folk psychological discourse – play a role in imitative learning, they are causally embedded in our cognitive development, so we have good reason to regard them as being among the real causes of our behavior. (shrink)
This article assesses the quality of Integrative Social Contracts Theory (ISCT) as a social contract argument. For this purpose, it embarks on a comparative analysis of the use of the social contract model as a theory of political authority and as a theory of social justice. Building on this comparison, it then develops four criteria for any future contractarian theory of business ethics (CBE). To apply the social contract model properly to the domain of business ethics, (...) it should be: (1) self-disciplined, i.e., not aspire results beyond what the contract model can realistically establish; (2) argumentative, i.e., it should seek to provide principles that are demonstrative results of the contractarian method; (3) task-directed, i.e., it should be clear what the social contract thought-experiment is intended to model; and (4) domain-specific, i.e., the contractarian choice situation should be tailored to the defining problems of business ethics. (shrink)
This paper shows how business ethics as a concept may be approached from a cognitive viewpoint. Following F. A. Hayek''s cognitive theory, I argue that moral behavior evolves and changes because of individual perception and action. Individual moral behavior becomes a moral rule when prominently displayed by members of a certain society in a specific situation. A set of moral rules eventually forms the ethical code of a society, of which business ethics codes are only a part. By (...) focusing on the concept of "limited" or "dispersed knowledge" that underlies the cognitive approach, I show that universal ethical norms that should lead to defined outcomes cannot exist. This approach moreover shows the limits of deliberate rule-setting. Attempts to deliberately impose universal ethical rules on societies may turn out to be harmful for societal development and lead to an abuse of governmental power. (shrink)
The problem of indistinguishable participants is a well-known problem for D-type theories of donkey pronouns. Recently, Paul Elbourne has offered a D-type theory that purports to dissolve the problem of indistinguishable participants. I argue against Elboune’s solution.
In this paper we introduce narrative and hermeneutical perspectives to clinical ethics support services (CESS). We propose a threefold consideration of ‘theory’ and show how it is interwoven with ‘practice’ as we go along. First, we look at theory in its foundational role: in our case ‘narrative ethics’ and ‘philosophical hermeneutics’ provide a theoretical base for clinical ethics by focusing on human identities entangled in stories and on moral understanding as a dialogical process. Second, we consider the role (...) of theoretical notions in helping practitioners to understand their situation in clinical ethics practice, by using notions like ‘story’, ‘responsibility’, or ‘vulnerability’ to make explicit and explain their practical experience. Such theoretical notions help us to interpret clinical situations from an ethical perspective and to foster moral awareness of practitioners. And, thirdly, we examine how new theoretical concepts are developed by interpreting practice, using practice to form and improve our ethical theory. In this paper, we discuss this threefold use of theory in clinical ethics support services by reflecting on our own theoretical assumptions, methodological steps and practical experiences as ethicists, and by providing examples from our daily work. In doing so, we illustrate that theory and practice are interwoven, as theoretical understanding is dependent upon practical experience, and vice-versa. (shrink)
F.A. Hayek’s theory of cultural evolution has often been regarded as incompatible with his earlier works. Since it lacks an elaborated theory of individual learning, we try to back his arguments by starting with his thoughts on individual perception described in hisTheory of Mind. With a focus on the current discussion concerning biological and cultural selection theories, we argue hisTheory of Mind leads to two different stages of societal evolution with well-defined learning processes, respectively. The first learning process (...) describes his Morality of Small Groups, in which Hayek’s thoughts coincide with learning theories that do not allow for the perception of behavior from outside the group. His second stage of cultural evolution, the Open Society, involves a different kind of learning behavior. We connect this notion with a model of local interaction in which the cultural learning aspect is addressed by a distinction between interaction and learning neighborhoods. This results in a situation in which individuals change their strategy and —depending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhood—eventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs. (shrink)