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.
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 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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
O presente estudo tem por objetivo demonstrar uma via de interpretação na qual o conceito de Reconhecimento, como abordado por Axel Honneth a partir da obra hegeliana, é uma engrenagem fundamental no processo de determinação da Liberdade na obra de Hegel. Para isso, é necessário que se caminhe para além da fronteira erigida na tradição, a qual liga o conceito de Reconhecimento à dialética do senhor e do escravo na Fenomenologia. Dado que os trabalhos de Honneth se fundam nos escritos (...) do jovem Hegel, anteriores a esta, é possível ir além de tais fronteiras. A conexão de Reconhecimento e Liberdade torna-se possível por meio da tentativa de reatualização da Filosofia do Direito honnethiana, a qual tem por objeto lançar as bases de uma teoria da justiça. (shrink)
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)
We have a reason to pursue good patterns of reasoning in the determination of the means to the satisfaction of our desires. To deny this, it seems, would be to turn our backs on rationality. Furthermore, we would agree that we all have the same reason to do so. Is this reason internal or external? If external reasons are incoherent, as Bernard Williams claims, what choice do we have but to assume that it is internal? ;If we assume that it (...) is internal, however, we run into difficulties. How does the internalist explain the fact that all individuals have the same reason to pursue good patterns of reasoning? She could argue as Williams does, and claim that every rational deliberator, by virtue of being a rational deliberator, has a desire to be rationally and factually correctly informed. If she is right, all rational deliberators have an internal reason to strive towards soundness and completeness. I show that this argument fails. There are other arguments available to the internalist. I argue, however, that they all result in the necessity of acknowledging a third class of reasons, non-contingent reasons. ;Non-contingent reasons are a bit like external reasons and a bit like internal reasons. On the one hand, they resemble external reasons, for they recommend actions independently of the particular desires that we happen to have. On the other hand, however, non-contingent reasons resemble internal reasons, for neither non-contingent reasons nor internal reasons recommend actions independently of the efficacy of those actions to satisfy our desires. Even so, non-contingent reasons are very different from internal reasons. Internal reason statements ten us what we ought to do in order to satisfy a particular desire; their truth therefore depends upon the content of an individual's desires. Non-contingent reasons ten us what we ought to do in order to be a reliable and efficient desire satisfier; their truth depends upon whether the recommended action is a means to the satisfaction of all of our desires. (shrink)