We propose a framework for including information-processing bounds in rational analyses. It is an application of bounded optimality (Russell & Subramanian, 1995) to the challenges of developing theories of mechanism and behavior. The framework is based on the idea that behaviors are generated by cognitive mechanisms that are adapted to the structure of not only the environment but also the mind and brain itself. We call the framework computational rationality to emphasize the incorporation of computational mechanism into the definition of (...) rational action. Theories are specified as optimal program problems, defined by an adaptation environment, a bounded machine, and a utility function. Such theories yield different classes of explanation, depending on the extent to which they emphasize adaptation to bounds, and adaptation to some ecology that differs from the immediate local environment. We illustrate this variation with examples from three domains: visual attention in a linguistic task, manual response ordering, and reasoning. We explore the relation of this framework to existing “levels” approaches to explanation, and to other optimality-based modeling approaches. (shrink)
Utility maximization is a key element of a number of theoretical approaches to explaining human behavior. Among these approaches are rational analysis, ideal observer theory, and signal detection theory. While some examples of these approaches define the utility maximization problem with little reference to the bounds imposed by the organism, others start with, and emphasize approaches in which bounds imposed by the information processing architecture are considered as an explicit part of the utility maximization problem. These latter approaches are the (...) topic of this issue of the journal. (shrink)
We present empirical evidence from dialogue that challenges some of the key assumptions in the Pickering & Garrod (P&G) model of speaker-hearer coordination in dialogue. The P&G model also invokes an unnecessarily complex set of mechanisms. We show that a computational implementation, currently in development and based on a simpler model, can account for more of this type of dialogue data.
Feminist critiques of science show that systematic biases strongly influence what scientific communities find salient. Features of reality relevant to women, for instance, may be under-appreciated or disregarded because of bias. Many feminist analyses of values in science identify problems with salience and suggest better epistemologies. But overlooked in such analyses are important discussions about intellectual virtues and the role they play in determining salience. Intellectual virtues influence what we should find salient. They do this in part by managing the (...) emotions, which are cognitively involved in what we actually do find salient. One reason intellectual virtues do not factor more strongly in feminist epistemology is the mistaken assumption that they could not serve as explicit epistemic community standards for scientific inquiry. There are good reasons, however, to think in terms of community intellectual virtue and consequently, to advance explicit public standards of intellectual virtue for scientific research. To show how explicit public standards for intellectual virtue might improve reasoning in biased conditions, I analyze a striking oversight in several evolutionary immunological hypotheses concerning women's reproduction and sexuality. I conclude that feminist epistemology would benefit from greater consideration of intellectual virtues, particularly in connection with social epistemological insights. (shrink)
Stephen and Van Orden (this issue) propose that there is a complex system approach to cognitive science, and collectively the authors of the papers presented in this issue believe that this approach provides the means to drive a revolution in the science of the mind. Unfortunately, however illuminating, this explanation is absent and hyperbole is all too extensive. In contrast, I argue (1) that dynamic systems theory is not new to cognitive science and does not provide a basis for a (...) revolution, (2) it is not necessary to reject cognitive science in order to explain the constraints imposed by the body and the environment, (3) it is not necessary, as Silberstein and Chemero (this issue) appear to do, to reject cognitive science in order to explain consciousness, and (4) our understanding of pragmatics is not advanced by Gibbs and Van Orden‘s (this issue) “self-organized criticality”.? Any debate about the future of cognitive science could usefully focus on predictive adequacy. Unfortunately, this is not the approach taken by the authors of this issue. (shrink)
We report the results of a dual-task study in which participants performed a tracking and typing task under various experimental conditions. An objective payoff function was used to provide explicit feedback on how participants should trade off performance between the tasks. Results show that participants’ dual-task interleaving strategy was sensitive to changes in the difficulty of the tracking task and resulted in differences in overall task performance. To test the hypothesis that people select strategies that maximize payoff, a Cognitively Bounded (...) Rational Analysis model was developed. This analysis evaluated a variety of dual-task interleaving strategies to identify the optimal strategy for maximizing payoff in each condition. The model predicts that the region of optimum performance is different between experimental conditions. The correspondence between human data and the prediction of the optimal strategy is found to be remarkably high across a number of performance measures. This suggests that participants were honing their behavior to maximize payoff. Limitations are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that adventurous approaches to physical activity can contribute more to well-being than approaches that have been shaped by fitness ideology. To defend this claim, I draw on work in philosophy and psychology concerning internal goods and intrinsic motivation, respectively. This work shows that motivating ourselves intrinsically and cultivating the internal goods of physical activity can contribute significantly to well-being. Unfortunately, the discourse and images associated with fitness culture tend to undermine intrinsic motivation and the cultivation (...) of internal goods. Consequently, approaches to physical activity shaped by fitness ideology often fail to support well-being. In contrast, I argue that an adventurous approach to physical activity better fosters intrinsic motivation and the pursuit of internal goods. To show this, I consider three examples of internal goods strongly associated with adventure – character development, enlivening kinesthetic and psychological e... (shrink)
This article responds to Ruben Zimmermann's latest book, Puzzling the Parables of Jesus. In particular, one aspect of his proposed method is challenged, namely, his conscious attempt to do away with considerations of the pre-Easter context when interpreting the parables. The article finishes by proposing a variant methodology of parable interpretation, featuring the parable of the Good Samaritan as a working example.
This article explores the relationship between terror, power and the rule of law. First, tracing Burke’s use of the term terror back to ancient Greek usage, I argue that being terrified is incommensurable with the experience of acting together with others. In this way, terror and power are distinct. However, most acts of terror aim to terrify some people while inoculating others from terror. Witnesses to the terror of others may feel empowered by the destruction of the power of others. (...) Second, the rule of law and terror seem incommensurable because causing terror often involves violating the law. However, modern political thought is founded on the idea that the law itself ought to be terrifying. That the terror of non-state actors appears random and the terror of the law has hardly been noticed in recent commentary on terrorism indicate that the rule of law produces an interesting audience effect. In order to sustain power and legitimacy while practising terror, governments use the rule of law to divide audiences up into terrified criminals and innocent witnesses. The practice of terror as an ‘open secret’ also produces similar audience effects. Finally, despite these connections between power, terror and the rule of law, I argue that terror is always technically out of power, even when practised by states. Terror is the true weapon of the weak because it always admits a failure to foster human connections with certain people and groups. Nonviolence is a weapon of the weak in the sense that it instantiates new, unencumbered power. (shrink)
The article examines the impact of the First World War in Brazil through contemporary cartoons and press comment. It shows how the war disrupted trade and undermined the optimism of economic and political liberalism. The war dispelled the myth of the superiority of European civilisation, leading Brazilians to re-evaluate their own cultural heritage and their relationship with the outside world. The result was a critical nationalism concerned to identify the causes of Brazil’ problems and find new solutions to them. One (...) solution, proposed by the industrialist Roberto Simonsen, was development based on industrialisation to combat underdevelopment. The article argues that the origins of this ideology lie not in the Great Depression of the 1930s but in the cultural legacy of the First World War. (shrink)
It is generally considered the case that an authorial preface is an author’s opportunity to give the reader a hand in interpreting the work he or she is about to read. It is strange then that the Preface to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (1922) has often been overlooked. Max Black’s (1964) inﬂuential A Companion toWittgenstein’sTractatus, for example, passes over the Preface in silence. And even in the latest published edition of the so-called Prototractatus (1996), the Preface is the only part that appears (...) in hand-written facsimile but is not reproduced in typescript form. Perhaps an argument for not so-reproducing the Preface of the Pro- totractatus in typescript is also an argument for the importance of the Preface: not one letter of this early hand-written text of the Preface is different from the ﬁnal published edition (I will return to this later). Only of late has the Preface to the Tractatus been seen as having any kind of focal importance.This recent interest in the Preface has largely been spawned by Cora Diamond’s and James Conant’s “New” view of Wittgenstein. This New view (designated as such subsequent to the publication in 2000 of the volume entitled The New Wittgenstein) uses the Preface as a central interpretive tool that, according to this view, shows that the Tractatus takes “a strong anti-metaphysical stand” which is “most explicit in Wittgenstein’s statements in the book’s Preface and concluding remarks.1”The third and fourth paragraphs of the Preface are seen as especially revealing of Wittgenstein’s anti-metaphysical purpose. (shrink)
It is known that, on average, people adapt their choice of memory strategy to the subjective utility of interaction. What is not known is whether an individual's choices are boundedly optimal. Two experiments are reported that test the hypothesis that an individual's decisions about the distribution of remembering between internal and external resources are boundedly optimal where optimality is defined relative to experience, cognitive constraints, and reward. The theory makes predictions that are tested against data, not fitted to it. The (...) experiments use a no-choice/choice utility learning paradigm where the no-choice phase is used to elicit a profile of each participant's performance across the strategy space and the choice phase is used to test predicted choices within this space. They show that the majority of individuals select strategies that are boundedly optimal. Further, individual differences in what people choose to do are successfully predicted by the analysis. Two issues are discussed: the performance of the minority of participants who did not find boundedly optimal adaptations, and the possibility that individuals anticipate what, with practice, will become a bounded optimal strategy, rather than what is boundedly optimal during training. (shrink)
Within the Community Rule, 1QS 8:1-4 has at times been used as an intertext to support claims pertaining to the future expectations of both early Jesus movements and the historical Jesus himself. In particular, the passage has functioned as an intertext to support the notion that Jesus and some of his earliest movements foresaw the future restoration and liberation of greater Israel in toto, including outsiders. Without getting involved in this larger New Testament debate, the current article wishes to address (...) the appropriateness of using 1QS 8:1-4 as an intertext without taking its literary and sectarian contexts into consideration. Focusing throughout on the interrelationship between judgement and boundary demarcation, this article will unfold in a centripetal manner. Firstly, it will treat the commonalities among all the sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls. Secondly, the discussion will direct its focus specifically to the Community Rule. Finally, we will look at 1QS 8:1-4 in particular. (shrink)
At first glance, happiness and objectivity seem to have little in common. I claim, however, that subjective and eudaimonic happiness promotes arguer objectivity. To support my claim, I focus on connections between happiness, social intelligence, and intellectual virtue. After addressing objections concerning unhappy objective and happy unobjective arguers, I conclude that communities should value happiness in argumentative contexts and use happiness as an indicator of their capacity for objective argumentation.