Symbols enable people to organize and communicate about the world. However, the ways in which symbolic knowledge is learned and then represented in the mind are poorly understood. We present a formal analysis of symbolic learning—in particular, word learning—in terms of prediction and cue competition, and we consider two possible ways in which symbols might be learned: by learning to predict a label from the features of objects and events in the world, and by learning to predict features from a (...) label. This analysis predicts significant differences in symbolic learning depending on the sequencing of objects and labels. We report a computational simulation and two human experiments that confirm these differences, revealing the existence of Feature-Label-Ordering effects in learning. Discrimination learning is facilitated when objects predict labels, but not when labels predict objects. Our results and analysis suggest that the semantic categories people use to understand and communicate about the world can only be learned if labels are predicted from objects. We discuss the implications of this for our understanding of the nature of language and symbolic thought, and in particular, for theories of reference. (shrink)
From Budapest to the US: Five Hungarian émigré physicists Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9622-5 Authors Charles Thorpe, Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0533, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Now that learning is seen as lifelong and lifewide, what specifically makes a learning context? What are the resultant consequences for teaching practices when working in specific contexts? Drawing upon a variety of academic disciplines, Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching explores some of the different means of understanding teaching and learning, both in and across contexts, the issues they raise and their implications for pedagogy and research. It specifically addresses What constitutes a context for learning? How do we engage (...) the full resources of learners for learning? What are the relationships between different learning contexts? What forms of teaching can most effectively mobilise learning across contexts? How do we methodologically and theoretically conceptualise contexts for learning? Drawing upon practical examples and the UK’s TLRP, this book brings together a number of leading researchers to examine the assumptions about context embedded within specific teaching and learning practices. It considers how they might be developed to extend opportunity by drawing upon learning from a range of contexts, including schools, colleges, universities and workplaces. (shrink)
There is a fundamental divergence of opinion between the EU and the US over how food products derived from genetically modified organisms should be labeled. This has less to do with safety, as moves towards the international harmonization of safety standards continue apace, and rather more to do with the consumers' right to know about the origins of the food they are consuming. This paper uses a framework drawn from the global public goods (GPG) literature of economics and the work (...) by international relations theorists on formal international organizations (FIO) to explain why there is presently no global consensus on the manner (voluntary or mandatory) in which GM food products should be labeled. (shrink)
In recent years, British science policy has seen a significant shift ‘from deficit to dialogue’ in conceptualizing the relationship between science and the public. Academics in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) have been influential as advocates of the new public engagement agenda. However, this participatory agenda has deeper roots in the political ideology of the Third Way. A framing of participation as a politics suited to post-Fordist conditions was put forward in the magazine Marxism Today in (...) the late 1980s, developed in the Demos thinktank in the 1990s, and influenced policy of the New Labour government. The encouragement of public participation and deliberation in relation to science and technology has been part of a broader implementation of participatory mechanisms under New Labour. This participatory program has been explicitly oriented toward producing forms of social consciousness and activity seen as essential to a viable knowledge economy and consumer society. STS arguments for public engagement in science have gained influence insofar as they have intersected with the Third Way politics of post-Fordism. (shrink)
The chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi (1891–1976) is today recognized as one of the most important twentieth-century thinkers about scientific knowledge and scientific community. Yet Polanyi's philosophy of science exhibits an unresolved tension between science as a traditional community and science as an intellectual marketplace. Binding together these different models was important for his overall intellectual and political project, which was a defense of bourgeois liberal order. His philosophy of science and his economic thought were mutually supporting elements within this (...) political project. Polanyi's intellectual corpus formed a contradictory unity, the tensions within which were manageable only under particular historical conditions. His attempt to hold together traditional authority and the free market fit with, and derived plausibility from, the social conditions under which his philosophical work came to maturity: Keynesian class compromise and surviving habits of social deference within postwar Britain. (shrink)
The work of psychiatrist R. D. Laing deserves recognition as a key contribution to sociological theory, in dialogue with the interactionist and interpretivist sociological traditions. Laing encourages us to identify meaningful social action in what would otherwise appear to be nonsocial phenomena. His interpretation of schizophrenia as a rational strategy of withdrawal reminds us of the threat that others can pose to the self and how social relations are implicated in even the most "private" and "internal" of experiences. He developed (...) a far-reaching critical theory of the self in modern society, which challenges the medicalization and biochemical reduction of human problems. Using the case of shyness as an example, the article seeks to demonstrate the importance of Laing's theories for examining the fragility of the self in relation to contemporary social order. (shrink)
Putnam’s vat argument is intended to show that I am not a permanently envatted brain. The argument holds promise as a response to vat scepticism, which depends on the claim that I do not know that I am not a permanently envatted brain. However, there is a widespread idea that the vat argument cannot fulfil this promise, because to employ the argument as a response to vat scepticism I would have to make assumptions about the content of the premises and/or (...) conclusion of the argument that beg the question against the sceptic. In this paper, I show that this idea is mistaken. (shrink)
The Humean internalist finds Humean motivational theses and reasons internalism to be independently attractive. She therefore combines them, in the hope of creating a theory of reasons that is attractive for all of the reasons that each thesis is attractive. On this score, she succeeds. However, there is a drawback. Those who build a theory of reasons by combining Humean motivational theses and reasons internalism face a dilemma. If you combine these views, either you are committed to a theory of (...) reasons that allows all of a person’s reasons to simultaneously change, erratically and randomly, or you are committed to a theory of reasons that fixes a person’s reasons at birth, in which case they remain stable and unchanging over a lifetime. Neither alternative is attractive. Humean internalism cannot navigate a path between these two extremes, and this should worry the Humean internalist. (shrink)
This article examines the implications for the notion of scientific vocation of the modern intersection between science and violence, realized most powerfully in the atomic bomb. Tracing the career and political trajectory of atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and drawing on the theories of Max Weber, Julien Benda and Michel Foucault, the article addresses ethical ambiguities and tensions in the modern scientific vocation. I argue that Oppenheimer’s moral and political struggles in relation to nuclear weapons were attempts to come to (...) terms with the collapse of legitimacy of the role of ‘universal intellectual’ and with the limitations of the more contemporary role of ‘specific intellectual’. Oppenheimer was faced with the problem of handling the relationship between scientific expertise and moral and political responsibility. His struggles demonstrate the continuing relevance of Weber’s conception of political responsibility for conceptualizing the ethical dilemmas inherent in the modern relationship between science, the state and violence. (shrink)
A solution to the sorites paradox is obtained by distinguishing three formats of the sorites argument and appraising them in the light of four fundamental considerations: (i) the appropriate notion of truth for the application of vague predicates to their borderline cases, (ii) a certain construal of borderline cases, (iii) a certain freedom of use of vague terms not enjoyed by non-Vague terms and (iv) the revocation of that freedom by deductive contexts.
This contribution to design methodology reflects upon the barriers to effectiveness imposed by our tendency to gravitate towards the over-formal in human affairs. We see a correspondingly cleaned-up description of the process of design, a failure to consider its jagged elements and to take proper account of the non-formal in knowledge (e.g. tacit knowledge) and communication. Discipline in methodology is accordingly wrongly equated with formality. The failure of design to be effective is more likely for innovative design rather than routine (...) design.It is suggested by way of explanation that design methodology especially in the field of information technology is infused with the ghost of positivism, manifest in an unconditional belief in the value of rationality and an implied naive realist conviction about the fixed, singular and transparent nature of the environment for which design is undertaken.We need to be able to work with uncertainty rather than try for its entire elimination. A breadth of approach in carrying out the activity of design is threatened by lack of attention to the variety of forms which knowledge and corresponding forms of discourse can take.We undertake the disciplined reduction from the messy real work to metaphors tidy enough to work with, or models as they are usually misnamed.The notion of “language of struggle” is invoked as a suitable metaphor for the non-formal discourse particularly relevant to innovative design. A complementary exploration is offered of socio-linguistic space which is the common context for design.In view of the concern with social space necessary to effective design, it may be enlightening to consider the designer as applied anthropologist. (shrink)
Gamification is an increasingly common marketing tool. Yet, to date, there has been little examination of its ethical implications. In light of the potential implications of this type of stealth marketing for consumer welfare, this paper discusses the ethical dilemmas raised by the use of gamified approaches to marketing. The paper draws on different schools of ethics to examine gamification as an overall system, as well as its constituent parts. This discussion leads to a rationale and suggestions for how gamification (...) could be regulated and/or controlled by more informal codes of conduct. The paper ends by outlining a practical framework which businesses can use to evaluate the potential ethical implications raised by their own gamified marketing techniques. (shrink)