This paper reports the first empirical investigation of the hypothesis that epistemic appraisals form part of the structure of concepts. To date, studies of concepts have focused on the way concepts encode properties of objects and the way those features are used in categorization and in other cognitive tasks. Philosophical considerations show the importance of also considering how a thinker assesses the epistemic value of beliefs and other cognitive resources and, in particular, concepts. We demonstrate that there are multiple, reliably (...) judged, dimensions of epistemic appraisal of concepts. Four of these dimensions are accounted for by a common underlying factor capturing how well people believe they understand a concept. Further studies show how dimensions of concept appraisal relate to other aspects of concepts. First, they relate directly to the hierarchical organization of concepts, reflecting the increase in specificity from superordinate to basic and subordinate levels. Second, they predict inductive choices in category-based induction. Our results suggest that epistemic appraisals of concepts form a psychologically important yet previously overlooked aspect of the structure of concepts. These findings will be important in understanding why individuals sometimes abandon and replace certain concepts; why social groups do so, for example, during a “scientific revolution”; and how we can facilitate such changes when we engage in deliberate “conceptual engineering” for epistemic, social, and political purposes. (shrink)
If people believe that some property is true of all members of a class such as sofas, then they should also believe that the same property is true of all members of a conjunctively defined subset of that class such as uncomfortable handmade sofas. A series of experiments demonstrated a failure to observe this constraint, leading to what is termed the inverse conjunction fallacy. Not only did people often express a belief in the more general statement but not in the (...) more specific, but also when they accepted both beliefs, they were inclined to give greater confidence to the more general. It is argued that this effect underlies a number of other demonstrations of fallacious reasoning, particularly in category-based induction. Alternative accounts of the phenomenon are evaluated, and it is concluded that the effect is best interpreted in terms of intensional reasoning [Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D.. Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: the conjunction fallacy in probability judgment. Psychological Review, 90, 293-315.]. (shrink)
The modifier effect is the reduction in perceived likelihood of a generic property sentence, when the head noun is modified. We investigated the prediction that the modifier effect would be stronger for mutable than for central properties, without finding evidence for this predicted interaction over the course of five experiments. However Experiment 6, which provided a brief context for the modified concepts to lend them greater credibility, did reveal the predicted interaction. It is argued that the modifier effect arises primarily (...) from a general lack of confidence in generic statements about the typical properties of unfamiliar concepts. Neither prototype nor classical models of concept combination receive support from the phenomenon. 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Aerts et al. provide a valuable model to capture the interactive nature of conceptual combination in conjunctions and disjunctions. The commentary provides a brief review of the interpretation of these interactions that has been offered in the literature, and argues for a closer link between the more traditional account in terms of concept intensions, and the parameters that emerge from the fitting of the Quantum Probability model.
Distinct systems for representing concepts as prototypes, exemplars, and theories are closely integrated in the mind, and the notion of concept is required as a framework for exploring this integration. Eliminating the term from our theories will hinder rather than promote scientific progress.
This article examines the role of similarity in the hybridization of concepts, focusing on hybrid products as an applied test case. Hybrid concepts found in natural language, such as singer songwriter, typically combine similar concepts, whereas dissimilar concepts rarely form hybrids. The hybridization of dissimilar concepts in products such as jogging shoe mp3 player and refrigerator TV thus poses a challenge for understanding the process of conceptual combination. It is proposed that models of conceptual combination can throw light on the (...) judged future success and desirability of hybrid products in general. The composite prototype model proposes two stages of conceptual combination. In the first stage, the concepts are aggregated into an additive hybrid, simply by forming the union of the two sets of attributes. In the second stage, any conflicting attributes are identified and resolved, often with the introduction of emergent attributes, resulting in an integrative hybrid. Across four studies that varied the similarity and type of hybrid products, similar and integrative hybrids were valued more than dissimilar and additive hybrids. Critically, though, dissimilar hybrids were also highly valued if they were integrative. Results supported the two stages proposed by the composite prototype model, and implications for other models of hybrid formation are discussed. (shrink)
Unless restricted to explicitly held, sharable beliefs that control and justify a person's behavior, the notion of a rule has little value as an explanatory concept. Similarity-based processing is a general characteristic of the mind-world interface where internal processes (including explicitly represented rules) act on the external world. The distinction between rules and similarity is therefore misconceived.
I consider the general problem of category conjunctions in the light of Pothos & Busemeyer (P&B)'s quantum probability (QP) account of the conjunction fallacy. I argue that their account as presented cannot capture the – the case in which a class is a better member of a conjunction A^B than it is of either A or B alone.
ABSTRACTRecent research on moral dynamics shows that an individual's ethical mind-set moderates the impact of an initial ethical or unethical act on the likelihood of behaving ethically on a subsequent occasion. More specifically, an outcome-based mind-set facilitates Moral Balancing, whereas a rule-based mind-set facilitates Moral Consistency. The objective was to look at the evolution of moral choice across a series of scenarios, that is, to explore if these moral patterns are maintained over time. The results of three studies showed that (...) Moral Balancing is not.. (shrink)
Three issues are raised in this commentary. First, the mapping of semantic information into the different layers could be done in a more realistic way by using the Context layer to represent situational contexts. Second, a way to differentiate category membership information from other property information needs to be considered. Finally, the issue of modal knowledge is raised.
Atran's thesis has strong implications for the doctrine of externalism in concepts (Fodor 1994). Beliefs about biological kinds may involve a degree of deference to scientific categories, but these categories are not truly scientific. They involve instead a folk view of science itself.
In Dienes & Perner's analysis, implicitly represented knowledge differs from explicitly represented knowledge only in the attribution of properties to specific events and to self-awareness of the knower. This commentary questions whether implicit knowledge should be thought of as being represented in the same conceptual vocabulary; rather, it may involve a quite different form of representation.
Carruthers’ thesis is undermined on the one hand by examples of integration of output from domain-specific modules that are independent of language, and on the other hand by examples of linguistically represented thoughts that are unable to integrate different domain-specific knowledge into a coherent whole. I propose a more traditional role for language in thought as providing the basis for the cultural development and transmission of domain-general abstract knowledge and reasoning skills.
Consideration of color alone can give a misleading impression of the three approaches to category coordination: the nativist, empiricist and culturalist models. Empiricist models can benefit from a wider range of correlational information in the environment. Also, all three approaches may explain a set of perceptual categories within the human repertoire. Finally, a suggestion is offered for supplementing the naming game by varying the social status of agents.
Externalism cannot work as a theory of concepts without explaining how we reidentify substances as being of the same kind. Yet this process implies just the level of descriptive content to which externalism seeks to deny a role in conceptual content.
The inherence heuristic is too broad as a theoretical notion. The authors are at risk of applying their own heuristic in supporting itself. Nonetheless the article provides useful insight into the ways in which people overestimate the coherence and completeness of their understanding of the world.
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