Inner speech is known as the “little voice in the head” or “thinking in words.” It attracts philosophical attention in part because it is a phenomenon where several topics of perennial interest intersect: language, consciousness, thought, imagery, communication, imagination, and self-knowledge all appear to connect in some way or other to the little voice in the head. Specific questions about inner speech that have exercised philosophers include its similarities to, and differences from, outer speech; its relationship to reasoning and conceptual (...) thought; its broader cognitive roles—especially within metacognition and self-knowledge; and the role it can play in explanations of auditory verbal hallucinations and “thought insertion”. (shrink)
Fragments is a verse and narrative work of phenomenological and existential ontology focusing on mind-world unity and mind-world dislocation in the experience of self through time. Pivotal experiential and historical moments -- moments when normative guardrails and unreflective models of the world may be compromised -- are approached as fundamental markers of how we transact with evolving versions of ourselves and world.
Background: Many people with aphasia and people without brain injury talk to themselves in their heads, i.e., have “inner speech.” Inner speech may be more preserved compared with spoken speech for some people with aphasia and may serve a variety of functions (e.g., emotion regulation), which motivates us to provide a high-fidelity characterization of it. Researchers have used multiple methods to measure this internal phenomenon in the past, which we combine here for the first time in a single study. -/- (...) Aims: We compare performance between individuals with and without aphasia on inner speech tasks that assess inner speech “inthe- moment” to general subjective impressions of inner speech to tease apart the relationship of aphasia severity to inner speech. Methods and Procedures: Twenty people with mild-moderate aphasia and twenty neurotypical controls completed several inner speech tasks, including objective silent rhyme judgements (picture, written, and auditory), subjective reports of inner speech during naming, and subjective rating scales about inner speech experience more generally. -/- Outcomes and Results: In-the-moment inner speech during silent rhyming tasks was associated with aphasia severity only for picture and written rhyming but not auditory rhyming. In-the-moment inner speech reports during silent naming were not associated with aphasia severity, nor were the subjective ratings about general inner speech experience. Individuals with and without aphasia demonstrated a variety of subjective general inner speech experiences, demonstrating heterogeneity of this phenomenon more broadly. -/- Conclusions: Methods of measuring inner speech complement each other and speak to different facets of the inner speech phenomenon, and clinicians and researchers must carefully choose the method(s) that will provide the information about inner speech that they desire. (shrink)
This chapter defends the thesis that feeling conviction is sufficient for belief: if you feel conviction that p, then you believe that p. I begin with a neutral characterization of belief in terms of its normative profile: belief is a state that is subject to certain distinctive norms of rationality. The main argument of the chapter is that feelings of conviction are beliefs because they are subject to the same norms of rationality that govern our beliefs. Functionalists often deny that (...) feelings of conviction constitute beliefs when they play dysfunctional causal roles, as in cases of mad belief or delusion or implicit bias, but this only serves to obscure the kind of irrationality involved in such cases. These are dysfunctional beliefs, rather than non-doxastic states, or "in-between" cases. (shrink)
How does reflective thinking impact decisions about ethics, mind, politics, or other philosophical domains? Reflective reasoning often correlates with better decision-making performance and certain philosophical preferences (e.g., utilitarian moral decisions). However, experiments suggest that reflection is not always the cause of these outcomes. Further, some evidence casts doubt on the trustworthiness of data from certain online crowd work platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk). This paper reports results of a pre-registered experiment on participants from multiple sources (mTurk, CloudResearch, Prolific, (...) and a university). The experiment investigated how reflective thinking relates to judgments about philosophical thought experiments (concerning knowledge, morality, personal identity, and more). First- and third-party data quality measures found up to 18 times as much low-quality data from mTurk as other sources. Analyzing across participant sources, some prior correlations between reflection and certain philosophical tendencies replicated (e.g., denying that accidentally true beliefs count as knowledge). However, a common reflection test prime failed to find evidence that reflection caused the corresponding philosophical preferences. Rather, a philosophical priming effect emerged: thinking through philosophical vignettes before taking a reflection test improved test performance—but only among those that passed the data quality checks. Together, these data suggest that the direction of causation between reflective and philosophical thinking may be the opposite of what dual process theories have suggested, and that researchers’ ability to detect such relationships can depend on participant source and data quality. (shrink)
The distinction between perception and cognition frames countless debates in philosophy and cognitive science. But what, if anything, does this distinction actually amount to? In this introductory article, we summarize recent work on this question. We first briefly consider the possibility that a perception-cognition border should be eliminated from our scientific ontology, and then introduce and critically examine five positive approaches to marking a perception–cognition border, framed in terms of phenomenology, revisability, modularity, format, and stimulus-dependence.
Qu'est-ce que la pensée? La pensée est-elle une activité? La pensée a-t-elle un lieu qui lui est propre? Pense-t-on en mots ou en images? Peut-on penser sans langage? Existe-t-il des normes de la pensée? Commentaire : "La pensée et la représentation" - Antoine Arnauld - Des vraies et des fausses idées. chapitre VI. "Rationalité et pensée" -Gilbert Ryle - "A rational animal n. Collected Papers II.
Recent work in cognitive modelling has found that most of the data that has been cited as evidence for the dual-process theory (DPT) of reasoning is best explained by non-linear, “monotonic” one-process models (Stephens et al., 2018, 2019). In this paper, I consider an important caveat of this research: it uses models that are committed to unrealistic assumptions about how effectively task conditions can isolate Type-1 and Type-2 reasoning. To avoid this caveat, I develop a coordinated theoretical, experimental, and modelling (...) strategy to better test DPT. First, I propose that Type-1 and Type-2 reasoning are defined as reasoning that precedes and follows metacognitive control, respectively. Second, I argue that reasoning that precedes and follows metacognitive control can be effectively isolated using debiasing paradigms that manipulate metacognitive heuristics (e.g., processing fluency) to prevent or trigger metacognitive control, respectively. Third, I argue that monotonic modelling can allow us to decisively test DPT only when we use them to analyse data from this particular kind of debiasing paradigm. (shrink)
The conjunction fallacy is the well-documented empirical finding that subjects sometimes rate a conjunction A&B as more probable than one of its conjuncts, A. Most explanations appeal in some way to the fact that B has a high probability. But Tentori et al. (2013) have recently challenged such approaches, reporting experiments which find that (1) when B is confirmed by relevant evidence despite having low probability, the fallacy is common, and (2) when B has a high probability but has not (...) been confirmed by relevant evidence, the fallacy is less common. They conclude that degree of confirmation, rather than probability, is the central determinant of the conjunction fallacy. In this paper, we address a confound in these experiments: Tentori et al. (2013) failed to control for the fact that their (1)-situations make B conversationally relevant, while their (2)-situations do not. Hence their results are consistent with the hypothesis that con- versationally relevant high probability is an important driver of the conjunction fallacy. Inspired by recent theoretical work that appeals to conversational relevance to explain the conjunction fallacy, we report on two experiments that control for this issue by making B relevant without changing its degree of probability or confirmation. We find that doing so increases the rate of the fallacy in (2)-situations, and leads to comparable fallacy-rates as (1)-situations. This suggests that (non-probabilistic) conversational relevance indeed plays a role in the conjunction fallacy, and paves the way toward further work on the interplay between relevance and confirmation. (shrink)
John Cook Wilson is increasingly recognised as an important predecessor of ordinary language philosophy. He emphasizes the authority of ordinary language in philosophical theorizing. At the same time, however, he circumscribes the limits of that authority and identifies cases in which it threatens to mislead us. My aim is to consider in detail one case where, according to Cook Wilson, ordinary language has misled philosophical theorizing. Judgement was one of the core notions of the logic, epistemology, and philosophy of mind (...) of Cook Wilson’s time. Cook Wilson rejects this notion, in the form developed by his contemporaries, in part because it is based on a problematic analogy between ordinary language and the thoughts expressed in that language. Cook Wilson’s discussion of judgement also highlights the extent to which Cook Wilson was critical of, but also responsive to, his contemporaries. In addition, variants of the language-thought analogy Cook Wilson opposes continue to feature in 21st century epistemology and philosophy of mind. Cook Wilson’s criticism of the analogy thus raises questions about recent work as well as the theories of his contemporaries. (shrink)
What does it mean to hold a belief? Some of our ways of speaking in English suggest that to hold a belief is to have something in your mind: beliefs are things we acquire, defend, recover, and so on (Abelson, 1986). That is, believing is a matter of being in a state of having a thing. In this paper, I will argue for an alternative: believing is something we do. This is not a new suggestion. For instance, Matthew Boyle (2011) (...) defends a theory of belief as an activity, which he traces back to Aristotle. This paper, however, makes two new contributions: first, I argue for an analogy between belief and planning that fleshes out what it would mean to understand belief as an activity, and second, I aim to show how the resulting view can help sense of a variety of theories in cognitive psychology that suggest cognitive information storage is dynamic and reconstructive. (shrink)
Moderate skepticism about de se thought accepts that there is a kind of mental state which is about the thinker and is psychologically indispensable for intentional action, but rejects the claim that this kind employs an indexical way of referring. Morgan (2021) has proposed an explanatory argument meant to show that the psychological kind does employ an indexical way of referring to the thinker, on the basis of the special connection between these thoughts and the use of the first-person pronoun (...) (‘I’ in English), which does have an indexical semantics. This paper offers a clear motivation for the moderately skeptical position, shows that Morgan’s argument is based on a mistaken analysis of that special connection, and proposes a more viable alternative. However, on this alternative, the relationship between the psychological role of de se thoughts and the first person in language means Morgan’s explanatory argument cannot go through. (shrink)
This essay develops a conceptual structure which is primarily delineated by the extremes of pure opposition and pure non-opposition. The former involves pure denial, destruction, and rejection, while the latter involves pure ignorance, indifference, and affirmation. Both of these extremes can, however, be mitigated by another conceptual element: an ethical demand whose form varies according to the field in which opposition takes place. The essay shows how these extremes along with the mitigating ethical demand can be seen to operate within (...) the four fields of politics, art, philosophy, and the self. On the basis of this, two forms of unity are then described which traverse these fields: the dimension of developmental movement and the dimension of ethics. Finally, the essay outlines a pragmatic of opposition, which concerns the ways that opposition's conceptual structure can be used to bring opposition out of its silence and into speech within the actual circumstances that it occurs. (shrink)
This work is a short compilation of notes from my own notebooks. It was shown at the Museum of Futures' annual visual literature exhibition for 2020 on the subject of notational literature and the (un)finished draft. The notes selected discuss note taking itself, art, and themes from my essays.
Parmenides and Heidegger is an essay about the dominance of being over thought in the history of Western philosophy. These two thinkers are chosen because of the extremity of their position. As shown, their view is that thought is being and no more.
The Absent World is an essay about the operation of language and thought concerning the gap between sense and referent. Due to variations in the structure of this gap, when we speak or think about the absent world, without the present object to supplement our meaning, unique psychological and ethical dimensions arise as we try to understand a world that surpasses us. As opposed to phenomenology, where the concept of absence structures our understanding of the absent world, this work will (...) posit the actuality of the absent as the basis of another relationship between ourselves and a world that is unseen. This thought of actuality will be developed through an exploration of empathy and a particular thought of death. Then it will be shown how it provides an aspect of a re-imagined concept of depth which, as it refers to a world that overflows any generality, will manipulate the gap between sense and referent in such a way that the usually silent operations of generalisation become not only manifest but pushed towards new extremes. This conceptual movement will be shown to be operative in our understanding of the absent, altering the way a subject’s world can be transformed by its interaction with the unknowns that surpass it. (shrink)
Experimental philosophers often seem to ignore or downplay the significance of demographic variation in philosophically relevant judgments. This article confirms this impression, discusses why demographic research is overlooked in experimental philosophy, and argues that variation is philosophically significant.
My dissertation puts forward a critique of the phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT). According to standard accounts of PIT, all genuine intentionality is either identical to or partly grounded in phenomenal consciousness. I argue that it is a conceptually significant mistake to construe conscious experiences in terms of token mental states that instantiate phenomenal properties. This mistake is predicated on ignoring an important difference in the temporal character—what I call the “temporal shape”—between states and properties as opposed to conscious experiences. States (...) and properties lack a temporal shape, but conscious experience has a temporal shape. Thus, in order to adequately capture our phenomenology of temporality we need a mental ontology that adequately reflects this distinction. A second aim of this dissertation is to defend a mereological account of phenomenal intentionality, which says that phenomenality and intentionality are related by being proper parts of a first-personal, subjective, mental event. On this approach, the conditions of satisfaction for a subject’s first-personal, subjective, mental event just are the conditions of satisfaction for phenomenal intentionality. I explore the theoretical grounds for a mereological account of phenomenal intentionality and conclude that it does a better job of explaining difficult cases like the problem of unconscious thought (e.g., your belief that “grass is green”). Thus, we have prima facie support for a mereological account of phenomenal intentionality exactly where competing accounts fail. (shrink)
This article evaluates an emerging element in popular debate and inquiry: DYOR. (Haven’t heard of the acronym? Then Do Your Own Research.) The slogan is flexible and versatile. It is used frequently on social media platforms about topics from medical science to financial investing to conspiracy theories. Using conceptual and empirical resources drawn from philosophy and psychology, we examine key questions about the slogan’s operation in human cognition and epistemic culture.
This study aims to corroborate Merleau-Ponty’s interpretations of fundamental ideas from Saussure’s linguistics by linking them to works that were independently elaborated by Jan Mukařovský, Czech structuralist aesthetician and literary theorist. I provide a comparative analysis of the two authors’ theories of language and their interpretations of thought as fundamentally determined by language. On this basis, I investigate how they conceive linguistic innovation and its translation into changes in the constituted language and other social codes and institutions. I explain how (...) they elaborate on Saussure’s idea of language as a system of oppositions by interpreting cultural innovation as a systematic variation of pre-established social norms and, similarly, linguistic innovation as gesturing within language. Connectedly, I show how Mukařovský’s works help clarify Merleau-Ponty’s focus on the gestural dimension of language. By discussing the two thinkers’ arguments in favour of linguistic innovation, I explore what could be called phenomenological limits of structuralism. (shrink)
Drawing on a range of literature, I introduce two new concepts for understanding and exploring distributed cognition: resilience engineering and degeneracy. By re-examining Ed Hutchins’ (1995) ethnographic study of the navigation team I show how a focus on the developmental acquisition of cognitive practices can draw out several crucial insights that have been overlooked. Firstly, that the way in which agents learn and acquire cognitive practices enables a form of resilience engineering: the process by which the system is able to (...) overcome and adapt to errors and the vagaries of nature. Secondly, that the best way to engineer a resilient system is through promoting degeneracy – how differing structures produce the same function – at the level of cognitive practices. These two features show that focusing on cognitive practices and developmental trajectories is important for both greater explanatory leverage; and is also useful in regard to the practicalities of designing real-world cognitive systems. (shrink)
In this critical notice we review Bozickovic's recent attempt to settle two interrelated issues: (i) the issue of the cognitive significance of indexical thoughts expressed at a time in the face of difficulties posed by cases in which the subject either mistakes two objects for one or one for two different objects; (ii) that of the cognitive dynamics of temporal indexical thoughts in the face of difficulties posed by cases in which the belief seems to be retained while the proper (...) adjustments fail to be made (that is, in cases such as Rip Van Winkle's). We argue that, despite its elegance and merits, the proposal falls short of accounting for the problematic cases in their full complexity. For one thing, the intended non-modal construal of Frege's Criterion of Difference promoted by Bozickovic does not block, in our view, the "proliferation" of senses brought about by the occasion-sensitivity of the individuation of demonstrative thoughts. For another, the proposal fails to appreciate the need for the subject to have an adequate conception of the object of her thought when it comes to orienting herself in space and time. That being so, we conclude that neither (i) nor (ii) is settled. (shrink)
By manifesting dysfunctions of fundamental psychological mechanisms such as emotions, reasoning, and language, symptoms of mental disorders can inform us on their nature and functions. In this volume, Valentina Cardella and Amelia Gangemi bring together a collection of articles which draw from psychopathology in order to further our study of the human mind. Contributors include philosophers of mind and language, clinical psychologists, and a historian, all applying their respective methodological tools with the aim of learning from mental disorders about the (...) fragile equilibrium that supports our mental capacities. (shrink)
Jonathan Haidt’s _Moral Foundation Theory _has been criticized on many fronts, mainly on account of its lack of evidence concerning the genetic and neurological bases of the evolved moral intuitions that the theory posits. Despite the fact that Haidt’s theory is probably the most promising framework from which to integrate the different lines of interdisciplinary research that deal with the evolutionary foundations of moral psychology, _i) _it also shows a critical underspecification concerning the precise mental processes that instantiate the triggering (...) of our evolved moral intuitions, and that _ii) _that underspecification coexists with and overspecification of the structure of human nature when it comes to exploring alternatives to capitalist societies. (shrink)
Intellectual attention, like perceptual attention, is a special mode of mental engagement with the world. When we attend intellectually, rather than making use of sensory information we make use of the kind of information that shows up in occurent thought, memory, and the imagination (Chun, Golomb, & Turk-Browne, 2011). In this paper, I argue that reflecting on what it is like to comprehend memory demonstratives speaks in favour of the view that intellectual attention is required to understand memory demonstratives. Moreover, (...) I argue that this is a line of thought endorsed by Gareth Evans in his Varieties of Reference (1982). In so doing, I improve on interpretations of Evans that have been offered by Christopher Peacocke (1984), and Christoph Hoerl & Theresa McCormack (a coauthored piece, 2005). In so doing I also improve on McDowell’s (1990) criticism of Peacocke’s interpretation of Evans. Like McDowell, I believe that Peacocke might overemphasize the role that “memory-images” play in Evans’ account of comprehending memory demonstratives. But unlike McDowell, I provide a positive characterization of how Evans described the phenomenology of comprehending memory demonstratives. (shrink)
How seriously should we take the idea that the mind employs mental files? Goodman and Gray (2022) argue that mental filing – a thinker rationally treating her cognitive states as being about the same thing – can be explained without files. Instead, they argue that the standard commitments of mental file theory, as represented by Recanati’s indexical model, are better seen in terms of a relational representational feature of object representations, which in turn is based on the epistemic links a (...) thinker bears to objects. This paper argues that this revision is misguided. Neither the representational property nor any basic role for epistemic links are needed for an adequate explanatory theory that makes use of the image of a mental filing system. A better alternative to the indexical model does posit files, albeit as causal-functional entities. This makes additional representational features redundant, and shows that epistemic links play a secondary role. (shrink)
Recent influential accounts of temporal representation—the use of mental representations with explicit temporal contents, such as before and after relations and durations—sharply distinguish representation from mere sensitivity. A common, important picture of inter-temporal rationality is that it consists in maximizing total expected discounted utility across time. By analyzing reinforcement learning algorithms, this article shows that, given such notions of temporal representation and inter-temporal rationality, it would be possible for an agent to achieve inter-temporal rationality without temporal representation. It then explores (...) potential upshots of this result for theorizing about rationality and representation. (shrink)
IMAGO TEXT 2020 ABSTRACTS -/- (German abstract below) The text presents a structural analysis and a logical theory of creativity. It argues that creativity emerges from the translation between two forms of precision, thus from the ubiquitous transformation between incompatible forms of thought and articulation. This transformation allows for unexpected surpluses and innovations, in conjunction with fallacies, waste and noise. Common myths and misconceptions – i.e. about creativity as a force in dire supply - are debunked, as are mistaken strategies (...) for creativity-enhancement. Instead, suggestions are offered as to how educational institutions can channel and enable ubiquitous energies – instead of investing much resources and effort into their suppression. -/- Der Text präsentiert eine strukturelle Analyse und eine logische Theorie der Kreativität. Er argumentiert, dass Kreativität aus der Übersetzung zwischen zwei Formen der Präzision hervorgeht, aus der allgegenwärtigen Transformation zwischen unvereinbaren Formen des Denkens und der Artikulation, was zu Überschuß und produktiven Abweichungen wie auch Abfall und Fehlschlüssen führt. Verbreitete Mythen und Missverständnisse – etwa zu Kreativität als Mangelware – werden diskutiert sowie Strategien zur Kreativitätsförderung. Es geht um Vorschläge, wie pädagogische Institutionen die stets vorhandenen kreativen Energien kanalisieren und ermöglichen können, anstatt sie mit viel Aufwand zu unterdrücken. (shrink)
While some form of loss of control is often assumed to be a common feature of the diverse manifestations of addiction, it is far from clear how loss of control should be understood. In this paper, I put forward a concept of decrease in control in addiction that aims to fill this gap and thus provide a general framework for thinking about addictive behavior. The development of this account involves two main steps. First, I present a view of degrees of (...) control as the degree to which an agent would be responsive to potential or counterfactual sufficient reasons to do otherwise. Second, I sketch an account of the relevant control-undermining factors in addiction that is consonant with my proposed view of degrees of control. Being a high-level functional property, reasons-responsiveness is particularly well suited to frame an account of control-undermining factors that is doubly pluralistic: it encompasses the contribution of factors both internal and external to the agent, and it is consistent with various proposals as to the precise nature of the anomaly taking place in the psychology of addiction. (shrink)
In our target article, we argued that the number sense represents natural and rational numbers. Here, we respond to the 26 commentaries we received, highlighting new directions for empirical and theoretical research. We discuss two background assumptions, arguments against the number sense, whether the approximate number system represents numbers or numerosities, and why the ANS represents rational numbers.
Some psychologists aim to secure a role for psychological explanations in understanding contemporary social disparities, a concern that plays out in debates over the relevance of the Implicit Association Test. Meta-analysts disagree about the predictive validity of the IAT and about the importance of implicit attitudes in explaining racial disparities. Here, I use the IAT to articulate and explore one route to establishing the relevance of psychological attitudes with small effects: an appeal to a process of “accumulation” that aggregates small (...) effects into large harms. After characterizing mechanisms of accumulation and considering some candidate examples, I argue that such mechanisms suggest how a contemporary attitude with small effects could figure in the explanation of large disparities, but they do not vindicate the importance of such an attitude since such mechanisms are typically also determined by competing causes. I close by sketching several strategies for advancing a defense of the relevance of attitudes with small effects. (shrink)
In the current paper, we articulate a theory to explain the phenomenology of mental effort. The theory provides a working definition of mental effort, explains in what sense mental effort is a limited resource, and specifies the factors that determine whether or not mental effort is experienced as aversive. The core of our theory is the conjecture that the sense of effort is the output of a cost-benefit analysis. This cost-benefit analysis employs heuristics to weigh the current and anticipated costs (...) of mental effort for a particular activity against the anticipated benefits. This provides a basis for spelling out testable predictions to structure future research on the phenomenology of mental effort. (shrink)
The functional theory of boredom maintains that boredom ought to be defined in terms of its role in our mental and behavioral economy. Although the functional theory has recently received considerable attention, presentations of this theory have not specified with sufficient precision either its commitments or its consequences for the ontology of boredom. This essay offers an in-depth examination of the functional theory. It explains what boredom is according to the functional view; it shows how the functional theory can account (...) for the known characteristics of boredom; and it articulates the theory’s basic commitments, virtues, and limitations. Ultimately, by furthering our understanding of the functional theory of boredom, the essay contributes to a better theoretical grounding of boredom. (shrink)
Reflectivists consider reflective reasoning crucial for good judgment and action. Anti-reflectivists deny that reflection delivers what reflectivists seek. Alas, the evidence is mixed. So, does reflection confer normative value or not? This paper argues for a middle way: reflection can confer normative value, but its ability to do this is bound by such factors as what we might call epistemic identity: an identity that involves particular beliefs—for example, religious and political identities. We may reflectively defend our identities’ beliefs rather than (...) reflect open-mindedly to adopt whatever beliefs cohere with the best arguments and evidence. This bounded reflectivism is explicated with an algorithmic model of reflection synthesized from philosophy and science that yields testable predictions, psychometric implications, and realistic metaphilosophical suggestions—for example, overcoming motivated reflection may require embracing epistemic identity rather than veiling it (à la Rawls 1971). So bounded reflectivism should be preferred to views offering anything less. (shrink)
The science of mind wandering has rapidly expanded over the past 20 years. During this boom, mind wandering researchers have relied on self-report methods, where participants rate whether their minds were wandering. This is not an historical quirk. Rather, we argue that self-report is indispensable for researchers who study passive phenomena like mind wandering. We consider purportedly “objective” methods that measure mind wandering with eye tracking and machine learning. These measures are validated in terms of how well they predict self-reports, (...) which means that purportedly objective measures of mind wandering retain a subjective core. Mind wandering science cannot break from the cycle of self-report. Skeptics about self-report might conclude that mind wandering science has methodological foundations of sand. We take a rather more optimistic view. We present empirical and philosophical reasons to be confident in self-reports about mind wandering. Empirically, these self-reports are remarkably consistent in their contents and behavioral and neural correlates. Philosophically, self-reports are consistent with our best theories about the function of mind wandering. We argue that this triangulation gives us reason to trust both theory and method. (shrink)
We study abductive, causal, and non-causal conditionals in indicative and counterfactual formulations using probabilistic truth table tasks under incomplete probabilistic knowledge (N = 80). We frame the task as a probability-logical inference problem. The most frequently observed response type across all conditions was a class of conditional event interpretations of conditionals; it was followed by conjunction interpretations. An interesting minority of participants neglected some of the relevant imprecision involved in the premises when inferring lower or upper probability bounds on the (...) target conditional/counterfactual ("halfway responses"). We discuss the results in the light of coherence-based probability logic and the new paradigm psychology of reasoning. (shrink)
Logical Investigations (notably, The Thought) is one of the works wherein Frege voices his hostility to psychologism in logic, science, and semantics. Such hostility lies, arguably, behind his threefold conceptual distinction between thought (Gedanke), thinking (Denken), and ideas (Vorstellungen). In this essay I investigate, to begin with, Frege’s motivations for drawing the distinction and keeping thinking episodes (one of the meanings of ‘thoughts’ in English) out of the picture. It turns out, or so I argue, that psychologism threatens, on Frege’s (...) view, to destroy the objectivity requirement by which thoughts are defined as answerable contents. I then draw a connection between this feature in Frege’s view and an on-going debate in philosophy of mind and language over the nature of world-directed thoughts and show that the feature lies at the heart of the singularist stance. Finally, I show that, despite Frege’s own hostility to all that bears the mark of the subjective in logic, science, and semantics, a psychological argument can be mounted in support of singularism (i.e. the view that some of our thoughts are about particulars qua particulars) using his disparaged notion of idea (Vorstellung) and that, appearances notwithstanding, the argument is compatible with the objectivity requirement on answerable thought-contents. (shrink)
Parmi toutes les pensées que nous avons sur le monde, certaines portent sur des objets particuliers de façon plus directe (ou moins lâche) que les pensées dites descriptives et sont, pour cette raison, qualifiées de singulières. La pensée exprimée par l’énoncé : « Jean Nicod est mort en 1924 » n’est, intuitivement, pas la même que celle exprimée par l’énoncé : « L’auteur de la Géométrie dans le monde sensible est mort en 1924 », ne serait-ce que parce que la (...) seconde ne porte sur l’individu particulier auquel réfère le nom propre Jean Nicod (dans le premier énoncé) qu’indirectement, via la satisfaction par ce dernier d’un ensemble de conditions descriptives. La thèse selon laquelle notre espace cognitif serait peuplé d’authentiques pensées singulières n’est pourtant pas, loin s’en faut, triviale et mérite d’être évaluée à la lumière des différentes approches possibles du phénomène. Ce livre tente de le cerner en présentant et évaluant les théories sémantiques, épistémiques et cognitives les plus significatives de la pensée singulière. Il promeut une approche intégrée qui vise à donner son juste poids aux aspects mis en lumière par ces théories. Il est assorti d’un commentaire de deux extraits de texte: l’un, de Bertrand Russell, souvent considéré comme le locus classicus de la thèse singulariste et des théories épistémiques de l’accointance; l’autre, du philosophe américain contemporain Kent Bach, sur la portée de la conception essentialiste orthodoxe des pensées de re. (shrink)
Skilled action typically requires that individuals guide their activities toward some goal. In skilled action, individuals do so excellently. We do not understand well what this capacity to guide consists in. In this paper I provide a case study of how individuals shift visual attention. Their capacity to guide visual attention toward some goal (partly) consists in an empirically discovered sub-system – the executive system. I argue that we can explain how individuals guide by appealing to the operation of this (...) sub-system. Understanding skill and skilled action thus requires appreciating the role of the executive system. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to understand the functional role of mental representations and intentionality in skilled actions from a systems related perspective. Therefore, we will evaluate the function of representation and then discuss the cognitive architecture of skilled actions in more depth. We are going to describe the building blocks and levels of the action system that enable us to control movements such as striking the tennis ball at the right time, or grasping tools in manual action. Based (...) on this theoretical understanding the measurement of mental representations and related research results concerning mental representation in skilled action are presented in an overview. This leads to the question how mental representations develop and change during learning. Finally, to consolidate the functional understanding of mental representation in skilled action and interaction, we provide examples how to use the measurement of mental representation in humans to inform technical systems. (shrink)
I draw on empirical results from perceptual and motor learning to argue for an anti-intellectualist position on skill. Anti-intellectualists claim that skill or know-how is non-propositional. Recent proponents of the view have stressed the flexible but fine-grained nature of skilled control as supporting their position. However, they have left the nature of the mental representations underlying such control undertheorized. This leaves open several possible strategies for the intellectualist, particularly with regard to skill learning. Propositional knowledge may structure the inputs to (...) sensorimotor learning, may constitute the outcomes of said learning, or may be needed for the employment of learned skill. I argue that sensorimotor learning produces multi-scale associational representations, and that these representations are of the right sort to underlie flexible and fine-grained control. I then suggest that their content is vitally indeterminate with regard to propositional content attribution, because they exhibit a kind of open-ended structure. I articulate this kind of structure, and use it to respond to the three intellectualist strategies. I then show how the perspective I advance offers insights for understanding both instruction and expert practice. (shrink)
In argumentation, metaphors are often considered as ambiguous or deceptive uses of language leading to fallacies of reasoning. However, they can also provide useful insights into creative argumentation, leading to genuinely new knowledge. Metaphors entail a framing effect that implicitly provides a specific perspective to interpret the world, guiding reasoning and evaluation of arguments. In the same vein, emotions could be in sharp contrast with proper reasoning, but they can also be cognitive processes of affective framing, influencing our reasoning and (...) behavior in different meaningful ways. Thus, a double (metaphorical and affective) framing effect might influence argumentation in the case of emotive metaphors, such as “Poverty is a disease” or “Your boss is a dictator,” where specific “emotive words” (disease, dictator) are used as vehicles. We present and discuss the results of two experimental studies designed to explore the role of emotive metaphors in argumentation. The studies investigated whether and to what extent the detection of a fallacious argument is influenced by the presence of a conventional vs. novel emotive metaphor. Participants evaluated a series of verbal arguments containing either “non-emotive” or “emotive” (positive or negative) metaphors as middle terms that “bridge” the premises of the argument. The results show that the affective coherence of the metaphor's vehicle and topic plays a crucial role in participants' reasoning style, leading to global heuristic vs. local analytical interpretive processes in the interplay of the metaphorical and the affective framing effects. (shrink)
Human creativity generates novel ideas to solve real-world problems. This thereby grants us the power to transform the surrounding world and extend our human attributes beyond what is currently possible. Creative ideas are not just new and unexpected, but are also successful in providing solutions that are useful, efficient and valuable. Thus, creativity optimizes the use of available resources and increases wealth. The origin of human creativity, however, is poorly understood, and semantic measures that could predict the success of generated (...) ideas are currently unknown. Here, we analyze a dataset of design problem-solving conversations in real-world settings by using 49 semantic measures based on WordNet 3.1 and demonstrate that a divergence of semantic similarity, an increased information content, and a decreased polysemy predict the success of generated ideas. The first feedback from clients also enhances information content and leads to a divergence of successful ideas in creative problem solving. These results advance cognitive science by identifying real-world processes in human problem solving that are relevant to the success of produced solutions and provide tools for real-time monitoring of problem solving, student training and skill acquisition. A selected subset of information content (IC Sánchez–Batet) and semantic similarity (Lin/Sánchez–Batet) measures, which are both statistically powerful and computationally fast, could support the development of technologies for computer-assisted enhancements of human creativity or for the implementation of creativity in machines endowed with general artificial intelligence. (shrink)
The public and scholars alike largely consider envy to be reprehensible. This judgment of the value of envy commonly results either from a limited understanding of the nature of envy or from a limited understanding of how to determine the value of phenomena. Overcoming this state requires an interdisciplinary collaboration of psychologists and philosophers. That is, broad empirical evidence regarding the nature of envy generated in psychological studies must inform judgments about the value of envy according to sophisticated philosophical standards. (...) We conducted such a collaboration. Empirical research indicates that envy is constituted by multiple components which in turn predict diverse outcomes that may be functional for the self and society. Accordingly, the value of envy is similarly nuanced. Sometimes, envy may have instrumental value in promoting prudentially and morally good outcomes. Sometimes, envy may be non-instrumentally prudentially and morally good. Sometimes, envy may be bad. This nuanced perspective on the value of envy has implications for recommendations on how to deal with envy and paves the way toward future empirical and theoretical investigations on the nature and the value of envy. (shrink)