Historians of technology have provided important accounts of technological innovation, but they rarely employ concepts which permit a rigorous analysis ofinvention as a mental or cognitive process. This article seeks to address this theoretical lacuna by using concepts adapted from cognitive psychology to compare the mental processes of two telephone inventors, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. Specifically, we suggest that invention may be seen as a process in which inventors combine ideas with objects, or what we call mental (...) models and mechanical representations. The strategies by which inventors generate and manipulate these mental models and mechanical representations are what we refer to as heuristics. Using these concepts to narrate the development of the telephone, this article shows how invention can be interpreted as being much more than simply a mysterious act of individual genius. (shrink)
Block's cases of superblindsight, the pneumatic drill, and the Sperling experiments do not show that P-consciousness and Aconsciousness can come apart. On certain tendentious but not implausible construals of the concepts of P- and A-consciousness, they refer to the same psychological phenomenon.
A central theme of the unified framework for addiction advanced by Redish et al. is that there exists a common value or incentive process controlling Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning. Here we briefly review evidence from a variety of sources demonstrating that these incentive processes are in fact independent. Clearly the influence of Pavlovian predictors and goal values on choice offer distinct potential targets for pathologies of decision-making.
The field of metacognition, richly sampled in the book under review, is recognized as an important and growing branch of psychology. However, the field stands in need of a general theory that (1) provides a unified framework for understanding the variety of metacognitive processes, (2) articulates the relation between metacognition and consciousness, and (3) tells us something about the form of meta-level representations and their relations to object-level representations. It is argued that the higher-order thought theory of consciousness supplies us (...) with the rudiments of a theory that meets these desiderata and integrates the principal findings reported in this collection. (shrink)
According to a model of inter-theoretic relations advocated by Patricia S. Churchland, psychology will need to revise its theories so as to fit them for "smooth reduction" to the neurosciences, and this will lead to the elimination of reference to intentional contents from psychology. It is argued that this model is ambiguous; on one reading it is empirically implausible, on the other its methodology is confused. The connectionist program NETtalk, far from exemplifying the model as Churchland claims, suggests a theoretical (...) rationale for employing relations to intentional contents in psychology. (shrink)
Consciousness has been defined as that annoying period between naps, and this grumpy definition may not be wholly facetious, if Michael Tye's latest book is right. Tye's main goal here is to develop a theory of the phenomenal unity of experience at a time, and its diachronic analog, the moment-to-moment continuity of one's experiential stream from the time one wakes up to the time consciousness lapses.