Theories of relational concept acquisition based on structured intersection discovery predict that relational concepts with a probabilistic structure ought to be extremely difficult to learn. We report four experiments testing this prediction by investigating conditions hypothesized to facilitate the learning of such categories. Experiment 1 showed that changing the task from a category-learning task to choosing the “winning” object in each stimulus greatly facilitated participants' ability to learn probabilistic relational categories. Experiments 2 and 3 further investigated the mechanisms underlying this (...) “who's winning” effect. Experiment 4 replicated and generalized the “who's winning” effect with more natural stimuli. Together, our findings suggest that people learn relational concepts by a process of intersection discovery akin to schema induction, and that any task that encourages people to discover a higher order relation that remains invariant over members of a category will facilitate the learning of putatively probabilistic relational concepts. (shrink)
Ramscar and colleagues (2010, this volume) describe the “feature-label-order” (FLO) effect on category learning and characterize it as a constraint on symbolic learning. I argue that FLO is neither a constraint on symbolic learning in the sense of “learning elements of a symbol system” (instead, it is an effect on nonsymbolic, association learning) nor is it, more than any other constraint on category learning, a constraint on symbolic learning in the sense of “solving the symbol grounding problem.”.
Theories of analogical reasoning have viewed relational structure as the dominant determinant of analogical mapping and inference, while assigning lesser importance to similarity between individual objects. An experiment is reported in which these two sources of constraints on analogy are placed in competition under conditions of high relational complexity. Results demonstrate equal importance for relational structure and object similarity, both in analogical mapping and in inference generation. The human data were successfully simulated using a computational analogy model (LISA) that treats (...) both relational correspondences and object similarity as soft constraints that operate within a limited-capacity working memory; but not with a model (SME) that treats relational structure as pre-eminent. (shrink)
Humans, including preschool children, exhibit role-based relational reasoning, of which analogical reasoning is a canonical example. The connectionist model proposed in the target article is only capable of conditional paired-associate learning.
van der Velde & de Kamps argue for the importance of considering the binding problem in accounts of human mental representation. However, their proposed solution fails as a complete account because it represents the bindings between roles and their fillers through associations (or connections). In addition, many criticisms leveled by the authors towards synchrony-based bindings models do not hold.
We are big fans of propositions. But we are not big fans of the proposed by Mitchell et al. The authors ignore the critical role played by implicit, non-inferential processes in biological cognition, overestimate the work that propositions alone can do, and gloss over substantial differences in how different kinds of animals and different kinds of cognitive processes approximate propositional representations.
Schyns, Goldstone & Thibaut argue that categorization experience results in the learning of new perceptual features that are not derivable from the learner's existing feature set. We explore the meaning and implications of this “nonderivability” claim and relate it to the question of whether perceptual invariants are learnable, and if so, what might be entailed in learning them.
Page argues convincingly for several important properties of localist representations in connectionist models of cognition. I argue that another important property of localist representations is that they serve as the starting point for connectionist representations of symbolic (relational) structures because they express meaningful properties independent of one another and their relations.
John E. Smith has contributed to contemporary philosophy in primarily four distinct capacities; first, as a philosopher of religion and God; second, as an indefatigable defender of philosophical reflection in its classical sense ( a sense inclusive of, but not limited to, metaphysics); third, as a participant in the reconstruction of experience and reason so boldly inaugurated by Hegel then redically transformed by the classical American pragmatists, and significantly augmented by such thinkers as Josiah Royce, william Earnest Hocking, and (...) Alfred North Whitehead; fourth, as an interpreter of philosophical texts and traditions (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche no less than Charles Peirce, WIlliam James and John Dewey; German idealism as well as American; the Augustinian tradition no less than the pragmatic). Reason, Experience, and God provides an important and comprehensive look at the work of John E. Smith by collected essays which each address aspects of his life-long work. A response by John E. Smith himself draws a line of continuity between the pieces. (shrink)
In this study I propose that John E. Smith’s years-long argument for the importance of, and indeed his prolonged focus on, the notion of experience provides a particularly useful point of entry into the classical North American philosophical tradition and specifically into more pragmatist understandings of experience. Thisstudy of Smith on experience will proceed in three steps. After a brief reference in Part One to the Roycean background and context to Smith’s efforts toward a more adequate understanding of experience, (...) it will continue in Part Two with a review of the three-stage development of Smith’s own transformation, in a more distinctly pragmatist direction, of Royce’s idealist-pragmatist notion of experience as interpretation. This review of Smith’s thought lays the groundwork for a suggestion, in Part three of this study, toward the continuing formulation of a more explicitly developed philosophy of experience. The basic proposal will be to affirm the need, while profiting from Smith’s important contributions, to pay renewed attention to more idealist concerns for structure and totality. (shrink)
Despite the title, I do not intend to launch another expedition into the domain of epistemology. I wish instead to call attention to some problems which have arisen for philosophical theologians and philosophers of religion, as a result of two facts about the development of modern philosophy and its bearing on the analysis and interpretation of religious insight. Following these considerations, I shall propose in brief compass a programme for the future which I believe will prove fruitful for the philosophical (...) treatment of religious concerns. (shrink)
The popular belief that religion is the same everywhere or that all religions are ‘at bottom’ identical in essentials is a widespread falsehood that is saved from being completely worthless by the fact that religion does exhibit a universal or common structure wherever it appears. This structure is intimately related to the structure of human life in the world. The enduring pattern that enables us to understand religions widely separated in both time and space depends largely on the fact that (...) man and the process of human life in the world have their own structures which remain, despite the undeniable variety introduced by vast differences of culture, ethnic features, geographical location, climate etc. Structure means pattern or form; it is reality significantly organised. It can be grasped as that which endures above and beyond changing historical details. Because human life has a structure, we are able to understand the wrath of Achilles or sympathise with the love of Abélard for Héloïse although we are separated from both by centuries of time. (shrink)
The philosophy of John Smith is not a dispassionate subject for me. He was my teacher from my sophomore year in college through the PhD, which he mentored. I worked in his office nearly every day during that time. He became my intellectual father and framed the way I took up philosophy. He performed my wedding and twenty-five years later taught my two daughters. We worked together philosophically and in the politics of the academy from my first day as (...) his undergraduate typist, when I was utterly naïve about both topics, until the day he died, when I had no innocence left. His daughter Diana informed me of his death by responding to an e-mail I had sent him that afternoon. I preached his funeral, threw frozen dirt .. (shrink)
If one is an egalitarian, what should one want to equalize? Opportunities or outcomes? Resources or welfare? These positions are usually conceived to be very different. I argue in this paper that the distinction is misconceived: the only coherent conception of resource equality implies welfare equality, in an appropriately abstract description of the problem. In this section, I motivate the program which the rest of the paper carries out.
Imagine a society of fisherfolk, who, in the state of nature, fish on a lake of finite size. Fishing on the lake is characterized by decreasing returns to scale in labor, because the lake's finite size imply that each successive hour of fishing labor is less effective than the previous one, as the remaining fish become less dense in the lake. In the state of nature, the lake is commonly owned: each fishes as much as he pleases, and, we might (...) suppose, calculates his fishing plan by taking the labor of the others as given, as he sees it. Each knows that the distribution of fish will be proportional to labor expended among the fisherfolk: if I fish twice as long as you, I will end up with twice as much fish as you. This is not due to some kind of concern with equity among the fisherfolk; it is a technological fact, implied by the assumption that fishing labor is homogeneous, and all are equally likely to catch a fish in a unit of time. An equilibrium under common ownership can be thought of as a Nash equilibrium of the game where each computes his optimal fishing plan, given the labor of the others and knowing what the consequent distribution of fish would be. (shrink)
Radical and liberal theories of egalitarianism are distinguished, in large part, by the differing degrees to which they hold people responsible for their own well-being. The most liberal or individualistic theory calls for equality of opportunity. Once such “starting gate equality,” as Dworkin calls it, is guaranteed, then any final outcome is justified, provided certain rules, such as voluntary trading, are observed. At the other pole, the most radical egalitarianism calls for equality of welfare. In between these two extremes are (...) egalitarian proposals that equalize more than conventional opportunities, yet less than full welfare. Sen speaks of equality of basic capabilities as a goal; implementing that requires more than starting gate equality, because some will require more resources than others to attain the same capabilities. Meeting basic needs is another objective. Equality of needs fulfillment is perhaps less radical than equality of basic capabilities and more radical than equality of opportunity. Rawls takes equality of primary goods as a benchmark; he distinguishes primary goods from welfare, but includes among them goods that are more complicated than conventional resources and opportunities, all of which are supposed inputs into any conception of welfare. One could imagine proposing an egalitarianism that equalized some quite measurable outcome across populations, such as infant mortality. That would be an outcome-equalizing theory where the rate of infant mortality is a proxy, presumably, for some more complicated maximand, such as the degree of wellbeing of a population. (shrink)
All advanced societies maintain a commitment to equal educational opportunity, which they claim to implement through a public school system that is charged toprovide all children with an education up to a state-enforced standard. Indeed, what public schools do, even in the best of circumstances, is to provide all children with a more or less equal exposure to educational inputs, rather than to guarantee them equal educational attainment. Children, as the schools receive them, differ markedly in their docility — due (...) in part to innate ability, but perhaps due more to the economic status and cultural practices of their families. Many, including myself, believe that the task of schools should be to provide some measure of equal educational attainment among students of heterogeneous talent and background. Schools should devote more educational resources to students who require them in order that they be educated to an acceptable standard. (shrink)
Some decades ago in his intriguing book on Jonathan Edwards, Perry Miller used to great effect the device of supposing a two-fold biography of Edwards, an external one consisting of the historical record embracing the major events of his life and times, and an internal one aimed at an interpretation of the mind of Edwards and the development of his thought.
There is an undercurrent to be detected in Anselm's record of the meditative experience that issued in the Ontological Argument and, although it points to a profound and perennial problem in the interpretation of religion, this undercurrent has been largely ignored. The Argument, as is well known, moves entirely within the medium of reflective meaning focused on the idea of God and, unlike the cosmological arguments of later theologians, it makes no appeal whatever to a principle of causality or to (...) the discovery of a sufficient reason for finite existence. Anselm seems to have had his own sense of what one may call the unadulterated rationalism of the Argument when, in his own words, he wondered, ‘if perhaps it might be possible to find one single argument that for its proof required no other save itself, and that by itself would suffice to prove that God really exists’. Here we are entirely within that inner chamber of the mind so dear to the Augustinian tradition, a mind from which one is to exclude all thought save that of God. The task of the one who reflects is to penetrate the inner meaning of this thought in order to discover what it implies beyond what is evident on the surface. With such an eminently rational or logical aim occupying the centre of attention, it is quite understandable that the presence of another, and quite opposed, concern should have been overlooked - Anselm's concern, namely, to transcend, as it were, the medium of thought itself, and enter into the presence of God. The reason that this concern introduces a tension in the search for a proof is that the realization of presence would seem to render proof superfluous, while the inference in an argument - especially one moving towards existence – inevitably suggests, in some sense and to some degree, the absence of what is sought for. (shrink)
Este trabalho discute a formação da mentalidade individual, por meio de uma reflexão comparativa entre Democracia e educação, de John Dewey, e Admirável mundo novo, de Aldous Huxley. O texto literário permite um diálogo e uma leitura em face do texto filosófico, que o caracteriza como campo para a realização de um experimento de pensamento. Esse experimento é a discussão do valor atribuído por Dewey ao crescimento individual e ao social, em contraposição ao valor encontrado na narrativa de Huxley, (...) da estabilidade. Confrontando as leituras dessas duas obras, se pode compreender mais profundamente e, em uma perspectiva diferenciada, a relevância das condições do crescimento na formação plena da mentalidade individual. (shrink)
A critical study of McPeck's recent book, in which he strengthens and develops his arguments against teaching critical thinking (CT). Accepting McPeck's basic claim that there is no unitary skill of reasoning or thinking, I argue that his strictures on CT courses or programs do not follow. I set out what I consider the proper justification that programs in CT have to meet, and argue both that McPeck demands much more than is required, and also that it is plausible that (...) this deflated justification can be met. Specitically, I argue that it is reasonable to expect transfer of learning for basic logical skills. Additional topics covered include: the relation ofliberal education to critical thinking, argument analysis, testing for CT, and the value of conceptual or linguistic analysis. (shrink)