What can reason do for us and what can't it do? This is the question examined by Herbert A. Simon, who received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences "for his pioneering work on decision-making processes in economic organizations." The ability to apply reason to the choice of actions is supposed to be one of the defining characteristics of our species. In the first two chapters, the author explores the nature and limits of human reason, comparing and evaluating the major (...) theoretical frameworks that have been erected to explain reasoning processes. He also discusses the interaction of thinking and emotion in the choice of our actions. In the third and final chapter, the author applies the theory of bounded rationality to social institutions and human behavior, and points out the problems created by limited attention span human inability to deal with more than one difficult problem at a time. He concludes that we must recognize the limitations on our capabilities for rational choice and pursue goals that, in their tentativeness and flexibility, are compatible with those limits. (shrink)
It is often claimed that there can be no such thing as a logic of scientific discovery, but only a logic of verification. By 'logic of discovery' is usually meant a normative theory of discovery processes. The claim that such a normative theory is impossible is shown to be incorrect; and two examples are provided of domains where formal processes of varying efficacy for discovering lawfulness can be constructed and compared. The analysis shows how one can treat operationally and formally (...) phenomena that have usually been dismissed with fuzzy labels like 'intuition' and 'creativity'. (shrink)
It is shown how a causal ordering can be defined in a complete structure, and how it is equivalent to identifying the mechanisms of a system. Several techniques are shown that may be useful in actually accomplishing such identification. Finally, it is shown how this explication of causal ordering can be used to analyse causal counterfactual conditionals. First the counterfactual proposition at issue is articulated through the device of a belief-contravening supposition. Then the causal ordering is used to provide modal (...) categories for the factual propositions, and the logical contradiction in the system is resolved by ordering the factual propositions according to these causal categories. (shrink)
With the discovery of voluminous discordant empirical evidence, maximizing expected utility is rapidly disappearing as the core of the theory of human rationality, and a theory of bounded rationality, embracing both the processes and products of choice, is replacing it. There remains a large task of organizing our picture of economic and social processes and adding the new facts needed to shape the theory in an empirically sound way. It is also urgent that new tools now available for conducting empirical (...) inquiry and constructing models be incorporated in social science graduate education. (shrink)
The task of axiomatizing physical theories has attracted, in recent years, some interest among both empirical scientists and logicians. However, the axiomatizations produced by either one of these two groups seldom appear satisfactory to the members of the other. It is the purpose of this paper to develop an approach that will satisfy the criteria of both, hence permit us to construct axiomatizations that will meet simultaneously the standards and needs of logicians and of empirical scientists.
New computer systems of discovery create a research program for logic and philosophy of science. These systems consist of inference rules and control knowledge that guide the discovery process. Their paths of discovery are influenced by the available data and the discovery steps coincide with the justification of results. The discovery process can be described in terms of fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence such as heuristic search, and can also be interpreted in terms of logic. The traditional distinction that places (...) studies of scientific discovery outside the philosophy of science, in psychology, sociology, or history, is no longer valid in view of the existence of computer systems of discovery. It becomes both reasonable and attractive to study the schemes of discovery in the same way as the criteria of justification were studied: empirically as facts, and logically as norms. (shrink)
This essay responds to the helpful criticisms of Valuing Health: Well-Being, Freedom, and Suffering, which have been offered by Elselijn Kingma, Adam Oliver, Anna Alexandrova, Alex Voorhoeve, Erik Nord and James Wilson. I am extremely grateful to Jonathan Wolf and especially James Wilson for arranging a one-day conference on my book, Valuing Health: Well-Being, Freedom, and Suffering [Hausman, D.. Valuing Health: Well-Being, Freedom, and Suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press.], and for publishing this symposium. I am also grateful to the wonderful (...) six scholars who took the time to study my work and to offer perceptive and helpful criticisms. Without unduly trying the patience of readers, I cannot respond to all their remarks, but I hope that in what follows I have replied to the most important of their comments on the arguments and conclusions of Valuing Health. Before I begin these replies, a brief synopsis of Valuing Health may be helpful to the reader. (shrink)