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  1. Commentary/Elqayam & Evans: Subtracting “Ought” From “Is”.Natalie Gold, Andrew M. Colman & Briony D. Pulfordb - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5).
    Normative theories can be useful in developing descriptive theories, as when normative subjective expected utility theory is used to develop descriptive rational choice theory and behavioral game theory. “Ought” questions are also the essence of theories of moral reasoning, a domain of higher mental processing that could not survive without normative considerations.
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  • Perspectivism, Deontologism and Epistemic Poverty.Robert Lockie - 2016 - Social Epistemology 30 (2):133-149.
    The epistemic poverty objection is commonly levelled by externalists against deontological conceptions of epistemic justification. This is that an “oughts” based account of epistemic justification together with “ought” implies “can” must lead us to hold to be justified, epistemic agents who are objectively not truth-conducive cognizers. The epistemic poverty objection has led to a common response from deontologists, namely to embrace accounts of bounded rationality—subjective, practical or regulative accounts rather than objective, absolute or theoretical accounts. But the bounds deontological epistemologists (...)
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  • Towards a Descriptivist Psychology of Reasoning and Decision Making.Jonathan St Bt Evans & Shira Elqayam - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5):275-290.
    Our target article identified normativism as the view that rationality should be evaluated against unconditional normative standards. We believe this to be entrenched in the psychological study of reasoning and decision making and argued that it is damaging to this empirical area of study, calling instead for a descriptivist psychology of reasoning and decision making. The views of 29 commentators (from philosophy and cognitive science as well as psychology) were mixed, including some staunch defences of normativism, but also a number (...)
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  • Subtracting “Ought” From “Is”: Descriptivism Versus Normativism in the Study of Human Thinking.Shira Elqayam & Jonathan St B. T. Evans - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5):251-252.
    We propose a critique of normativism, defined as the idea that human thinking reflects a normative system against which it should be measured and judged. We analyze the methodological problems associated with normativism, proposing that it invites the controversial “is-ought” inference, much contested in the philosophical literature. This problem is triggered when there are competing normative accounts (the arbitration problem), as empirical evidence can help arbitrate between descriptive theories, but not between normative systems. Drawing on linguistics as a model, we (...)
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  • Grounded Rationality: Descriptivism in Epistemic Context.Shira Elqayam - 2012 - Synthese 189 (S1):39-49.
    Normativism, the approach that judges human rationality by comparison against normative standards, has recently come under intensive criticism as unsuitable for psychological enquiry, and it has been suggested that it should be replaced with a descriptivist paradigm. My goal in this paper is to outline and defend a meta-theoretical framework of such a paradigm, grounded rationality, based on the related principles of descriptivism and (moderate) epistemic relativism. Bounded rationality takes into account universal biological and cognitive limitations on human rationality. Grounded (...)
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  • Spot the Difference: Distinguishing Between Two Kinds of Processing.Jonathan St B. T. Evans - 2012 - Mind and Society 11 (1):121-131.
    Dual-process theories of higher cognition, distinguishing between intuitive (Type 1) and reflective (Type 2) thinking, have become increasingly popular, although also subject to recent criticism. A key question, to which a number of contributions in this special issue relate, is how to define the difference between the two kinds of processing. One issue discussed is whether they differ at Marr’s computational level of analysis. I believe they do but that ultimately the debate will decided at the implementational level where distinct (...)
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