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.”.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
The title of Hare’s book refers to the gap between the demand that morality places on us and our natural capacity to live by it. Such a gap is paradoxical if we accept the “‘ought’ implies ‘can”’ principle. The solution, Hare argues, is that the gap is filled by the Christian God. So we ought to be moral and can do so—with divine assistance. Hare’s statement and defense of the existence of the gap combines a rigorously Kantian notion of the (...) moral demand with a rigorously Calvinist notion of human depravity. As such, many readers will find the gap exaggerated, but most people will admit that there is some sort of gap here to be faced, and any gap at all is a problem. (shrink)
Some time in the 1950’s I was invited to address a meeting of the English Institute which took place at Columbia University and, while I have but a dim recollection of the topic, a point came up in the discussion which I still remember very well and it bears very closely on the subject of this essay. I had said something in my opening remarks about how technical recent philosophy had become and what a formidable language was growing up around (...) it. In the audience was Marjorie Hope Nicholson, the distinguished literary scholar and author of, among others, that delightful book about science and literature, Newton Demands the Muse. She took the occasion to tell us that in her student days she could read and profit from philosophical works—Locke, Bergson, James—and went on to say that in her opinion any intelligent person could read these authors and others without having, as we would now say, “majored” in philosophy. She added, however, that she found herself no longer able to read with much comprehension the writing of the philosophers of the time because of the remoteness of the issues from concrete experience and the esoteric language in which they were presented. What Nicholson was perceiving, perhaps without knowing the background, was the about-face in philosophy that was taking place at the time. Largely in response to the charge that philosophy, unlike science, was making no “progress,” many philosophers decided to limit philosophy to areas—logic, semantics, semiotics—in which it was believed that progress was possible. One result was the abandoning of all the undeniably vague and stubborn issues—God, the self, freedom and determinism, values and facts and the like —that resist solutions of a scientific sort. Unfortunately for philosophers, these are the matters that interest everyone most. (shrink)
This review of Martin Jay’s recent published collection of essays examines his ongoing rethinking, supplementation, and revision of central themes—the negative and positive dialectics of historical totalization, the varieties and uses of conceptions of experience, the nature of visual cultures and scopic regimes, and the ambiguities of truth-construction in the public realm—that have been the focus of his major works since the 1970s. It argues that his more recent work indicates a gradual shift toward an affirmation of the kinds of (...) paratactic and deconstructive thinking of Adorno and Derrida as models for producing appropriate forms of historical consciousness and historical critique in the present, and it raises the question of how the issues of historical truth-telling, consensual collective identity, ethical action, and the cultural role of the critical intellectual are reformulated in this process. (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.
It is customary to distinguish three kinds of moral acts: good, bad, and indifferent. This distinction gained its classic formulation by St. Thomas Aquinas. According to him the three basic sources of morality are the object, the end, and the circumstances of concrete acts determining their goodness or badness through their relation to right reason as the moral norm. In other words, what a man does, why, and under what circumstances he acts, determine the moral character of his actions in (...) actual reality as either good or bad. But if one prescinds from the existential situation in real life and considers the acts apart from their actual ends and circumstances, then —in accordance with the intrinsic nature of the acts themselves—it is possible to speak not only of good or bad, but even of indifferent or neutral moral acts in the abstract. As illustrations, St. Thomas mentions a man stroking his beard, moving his hand or foot or picking up a straw from the ground. All this, of course, is well-known teaching found in any scholastic-oriented ethics or moral theology textbook and has also become a part of common knowledge among moralists of other schools to such an extent that even linguistic analysts accept it. (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)
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)
_A new theory of how and why we cooperate, drawing from economics, political theory, and philosophy to challenge the conventional wisdom of game theory_ Game theory explains competitive behavior by working from the premise that people are self-interested. People don’t just compete, however; they also cooperate. John Roemer argues that attempts by orthodox game theorists to account for cooperation leave much to be desired. Unlike competing players, cooperating players take those actions that they would like others to take—which Roemer (...) calls “Kantian optimization.” Through rigorous reasoning and modeling, Roemer demonstrates a simpler theory of cooperative behavior than the standard model provides. (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)
This article summarizes a variety of current as well as previous research in support of a new theory of consciousness. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that information about a stimulus complex is distributed to many neuronal populations dispersed throughout the brain and is represented by the departure from randomness of the temporal pattern of neural discharges within these large ensembles. Zero phase lag synchronization occurs between discharges of neurons in different brain regions and is enhanced by presentation of stimuli. This (...) evidence further suggests that spatiotemporal patterns of coherence, which have been identified by spatial principal component analysis, may encode a multidimensional representation of a present or past event. How such distributed information is integrated into a holistic percept constitutes the binding problem. How a percept defined by a spatial distribution of nonrandomness can be subjectively experienced constitutes the problem of consciousness. Explanations based on a discrete connectionistic network cannot be reconciled with the relevant facts. Evidence is presented herein of invariant features of brain electrical activity found to change reversibly with loss and return of consciousness in a study of 176 patients anesthetized during surgical procedures. A review of relevant research areas, as well as the anesthesia data, leads to a postulation that consciousness is a property of quantumlike processes, within a brain field resonating within a core of structures, which may be the neural substrate of consciousness. This core includes regions of the prefrontal cortex, the frontal cortex, the pre- and paracentral cortex, thalamus, limbic system, and basal ganglia. (shrink)