Theoretical and manipulative abduction conjectures and manipulations : the extra-theoretical dimension of scientific discovery. -- Non-explanatory and instrumental abduction : plausibility, implausibility, ignorance preservation. -- Semiotic brains and artificial minds : how brains make up material cognitive systems. -- Neuromultimodal abduction : pre-wired brains, embidiment, neurospaces. -- Animal abduction : from mindless organisms to srtifactual mediators. -- Abduction, affordances, and cognitive niches : sharing representations and creating chances through cognitive niche construction. -- Abduction in human and logical agents : hasty (...) generalizers, hybrid abducers, fallacies. -- Morphodynamical abduction : causation of hypotheses by attractors dynamics. (shrink)
The technological advances of contemporary society have outpaced our moral understanding of the problems that they create. How will we deal with profound ecological changes, human cloning, hybrid people, and eroding cyberprivacy, just to name a few issues? In this book, Lorenzo Magnani argues that existing moral constructs often cannot be applied to new technology. He proposes an entirely different ethical approach, one that blends epistemology with cognitive science. The resulting moral strategy promises renewed dignity for overlooked populations, both of (...) today and of the future. (shrink)
Gossip has been the object of a number of different studies in the past 50 years, rehabilitating it not only as something worth being studied, but also as a pivotal informational and social structure of human cognition: Dunbar (Rev Gen Psychol 8(2):100–110, 2004) interestingly linked the emergence of language to nothing less than its ability to afford gossip. Different facets of gossip were analyzed by anthropologists, linguists, psychologists and philosophers, but few attempts were made to frame gossip within an epistemological (...) framework (for instance Ayim in (Good gossip, pp. 85–99, 1994)). Our intention in this paper is to provide a consistent epistemological (applied and social) account of gossip, understood as broadly evaluative talk between two or more people, comfortably acquainted between each other, about an absent third party they are both at least acquainted with. Hence, relying on the most recent multidisciplinary literature about the topic, the first part of this paper will concern the epistemic dynamics of gossip: whereas the sociobiological tradition individuates in gossip the clue for the (theoretically cumbersome) group mind and group-level adaptations Wilson et al. (The evolution of cognition, pp. 347–365, 2002), we will suggest the more parsimonious modeling of gossip as a soft-assembled epistemic synergy, understood as a function-dominant interaction able to project a higher organizational level—in our case, the group as group-of-gossips. We will argue that the aim of this synergy is indeed to update a Knowledge Base of social information between the group (as a projected whole) and its members. The second and third part will instead focus on the epistemological labeling of the inferences characterizing gossip: our contention is that the ever-present moral/evaluative dimension in gossip—be it tacit or explicit, concerning the objects or the partners of gossip—is best analyzed through the epistemological framework of abduction. Consequently, we will suggest that a significant role of gossip is to function as a group-based abductive appraisal of social matter, enacted at various levels. (shrink)
The naturalization of logic aims at a revision of mainstream logic. In this article, I contend it is an urgent task to be completed. This new project will permit a new collaboration between logic and cognitive science. This can be accomplished doing for logic what many decades ago Quine and other philosophers undertook in the case of epistemology. First of all, this article analyzes how the naturalization can be achieved thanks to some insights provided by the recent John Woods’ book (...) Errors of Reasoning: Naturalizing the Logic of Inference; important concepts that regard a naturalized logic are synthetically analyzed: errors, paradigm creep, third-way reasoning, consequence-having and consequence drawing, agent based reasoning. The article also takes advantage of my own studies, which are aimed both at exculpating the negative fallacious character of abduction and at illustrating the EC-model of it, I have recently proposed. Aiming at encouraging the project of naturalization of logic, the article specifically recommends the increase of logical research on abduction, and emphasizes how current philosophical and logical research on human inferences is indebted towards Charles Sanders Peirce, a philosopher whose importance and modernity are too often underestimated. The final part of the article will introduce an analysis of the importance of the so-called optimization of situatedness, a concept that is necessary to understand that maximization of “abducibility”, which characterizes modern science. (shrink)
Cognitive niche theories consist in a theoretical framework that is proving extremely profitable in bridging evolutionary biology, philosophy, cognitive science, and anthropology by offering an inter-disciplinary ground, laden with novel approaches and debates. At the same time, cognitive niche theories are multiple, and differently related to niche theories in theoretical and evolutionary biology. The aim of this paper is to clarify the theoretical and epistemological relationships between cognitive and ecological niche theories. Also, by adopting a constructionist approach we will try (...) to explain the shift from ecological to cognitive niches and their actual and theoretical overlaps. In order to do so, we will take two concepts expressing loose forms of causation in the interaction between organisms and their environment: the biological notion of “enablement” and the psycho-cognitive one of “affordance”. (shrink)
During the second half of the last century, the importance of serendipitous events in scientific frameworks has been progressively recognized, fueling hard debates about their role, nature, and structure in philosophy and sociology of science. Alas, while discussing the relevance of the topic for the comprehension of the nature of scientific discovery, the philosophical literature has hardly paid attention to the cognitive significance of serendipity, accepting rather than examining some of its most specific features, such as its game-changing effect, the (...) unexpectedness of its occurrence, and its affinity with the concept of “luck”. Thus, in this paper we aim at analyzing these characteristics in the light of their cognitive implications in the recognition, performance, and possible stimulation of serendipitous events in relation to scientific discoveries. (shrink)
Many important concepts of the calculus are difficult to grasp, and they may appear epistemologically unjustified. For example, how does a real function appear in “small” neighborhoods of its points? How does it appear at infinity? Diagrams allow us to overcome the difficulty in constructing representations of mathematical critical situations and objects. For example, they actually reveal the behavior of a real function not “close to” a point (as in the standard limit theory) but “in” the point. We are interested (...) in our research in the diagrams which play an optical role –microscopes and “microscopes within microscopes”, telescopes, windows, a mirror role (to externalize rough mental models), and an unveiling role (to help create new and interesting mathematical concepts, theories, and structures). In this paper we describe some examples of optical diagrams as a particular kind of epistemic mediator able to perform the explanatory abductive task of providing a better understanding of the calculus, through a non-standard model of analysis. We also maintain they can be used in many other different epistemological and cognitive situations. (shrink)
What I call theoretical abduction (sentential and model-based)certainly illustrates much of what is important in abductive reasoning, especially the objective of selecting and creating a set of hypotheses that are able to dispense good (preferred) explanations of data, but fails to account for many cases of explanation occurring in science or in everyday reasoning when the exploitation of the environment is crucial. The concept of manipulative abduction is devoted to capture the role of action in many interesting situations: action provides (...) otherwise unavailable information that enables the agent to solve problems by starting and performing a suitable abductive process of generation or selection of hypotheses. Many external things, usually inert from the epistemological point of view, can be transformed into what I call epistemic mediators, which are illustrated in the last part of the paper, together with an analysis of the related notions of ``perceptual and inceptual rehearsal'' and of ``external representation''. (shrink)
In this paper we show how some reasoning, though fallacious, can appear to be attractive and useful for beings-like-us. Although they do not provide conclusive evidence to support or reject a certain claim the way scientific statements do, they tell us something interesting about how humans build up their arguments and reasons. First of all, we will consider and investigate three main types of fallacies: argumentum ad hominem , argumentum ad verecundiam , and argumentum ad populum . These three fallacies (...) are traditionally considered as examples of a broader category called ignoratio elenchi. Secondly, we show how people who commit these fallacies rely on information about other human beings in their reasoning. That is, they do not follow certain logical procedures that eventually lead them to correct conclusions. But they simply make use of others as social characters. For example, being an authority, being an expert, being part of a class, etc., become the substitutes for more direct evidence to support a certain claim or to make an argument more appealing. (shrink)
The total irrelevance of absolute space to scientific observation and experiment led him early to a most radical conclusion: experience cannot teach us anything about the true structure of space; consequently, the choice of a geometry for the ...
In this paper we show how some reasoning, though fallacious, can appear to be attractive and useful for beings-like-us. Although they do not provide conclusive evidence to support or reject a certain claim the way scientific statements do, they tell us something interesting about how humans build up their arguments and reasons. First of all, we will consider and investigate three main types of fallacies:argumentum ad hominem,argumentum ad verecundiam, andargumentum ad populum. These three fallacies are traditionally considered as examples of (...) a broader category calledignoratio elenchi. Secondly, we show how people who commit these fallacies rely on information about other human beings in their reasoning. That is, they do not follow certain logical procedures that eventually lead them to correct conclusions. But they simply make use of others as social characters. For example, being an authority, being an expert, being part of a class, etc., become the substitutes for more direct evidence to support a certain claim or to make an argument more appealing. (shrink)
This volume sets out to give a philosophical "applied" account of violence, engaged with both empirical and theoretical debates in other disciplines such as cognitive science, sociology, psychiatry, anthropology, political theory, ...
This volume is based on the papers presented at the international conference Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology (MBR09_BRAZIL), held at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil, December 2009. The presentations given at the conference explored how scientific cognition, but several other kinds as well, use models, abduction, and explanatory reasoning to produce important or creative changes in theories and concepts. Some speakers addressed the problem of model-based reasoning in technology, and stressed the issue of science and technological innovation. (...) The various contributions of the book are written by interdisciplinary researchers who are active in the area of creative reasoning in logic, science, and technology: the most recent results and achievements about the topics above are illustrated in detail in the papers. The book is divided in three parts, which cover the following main areas: part I, abduction, problem solving, and practical reasoning; part II: formal and computational aspects of model based reasoning; part III, models, mental models, representations. (shrink)
This is the preface of the special Issue: Formal Representations in Model-based Reasoning and Abduction, published at the Logic Jnl IGPL (2012) 20 (2): 367-369. doi: 10.1093/jigpal/jzq055 First published online: December 20, 2010.
Computational philosophy (CP) aims at investigating many important concepts and problems of the philosophical and epistemological tradition in a new way by taking advantage of information-theoretic, cognitive, and artificial intelligence methodologies. I maintain that the results of computational philosophy meet the classical requirements of some Peircian pragmatic ambitions. Indeed, more than a 100 years ago, the American philosopher C.S. Peirce, when working on logical and philosophical problems, suggested the concept of pragmatism(pragmaticism, in his own words) as a logical criterion to (...) analyze what words and concepts express through their practical meaning. Many words have been spent on creative processes and reasoning, especially in the case of scientific practices. In fact, many philosophers have usually offered a number of ways of construing hypotheses generation, but they aim at demonstrating that the activity of generating hypotheses is paradoxical, obscure, and thus not analyzable. Those descriptions are often so far from Peircian pragmatic prescription and so abstract to result completely unknowable and obscure. To dismiss this tendency and gain interesting insight about the so-called logic of scientific discovery we need to build constructive procedures, which could play a role in moving the problem-solving process forward by implementing them in some actual models. The computational turn gives us a new way to understand creative processes in a strictly pragmatic sense. In fact, by exploiting artificial intelligence and cognitive science tools, computational philosophy allows us to test concepts and ideas previously conceived only in abstract terms. It is in the perspective of these actual computational models that I find the central role of abduction in the explanation of creative reasoning in science. I maintain that the computational philosophy analysis of model-based and manipulative abduction and of external and epistemic mediators is important not only to delineate the actual practice of abduction, but also to further enhance the development of programs computationally adequate in rediscovering, or discovering for the first time, for example, scientific hypotheses or mathematical theorems. The last part of the paper is devoted to illustrating the problem of the extra-theoretical dimension of reasoning and discovery from the perspective of some mathematical cases derived from calculus and geometry. (shrink)
Philosophers of science today by and large reject the cataclysmic and irrational interpretation of the scientific enterprise claimed by Kuhn. Many computational models have been implemented to rationally study the conceptual change in science. In this recent tradition a key role is played by the concept of abduction as a mechanism by which new explanatory hypotheses are introduced. Nevertheless some problems in describing the most interesting abductive issues rise from the classical computational approach. It describes a cognitive process (and so (...) abduction) by the manipulation of internal symbolic representations of external world. This view assumes a discrete set of representations fixed in discrete time jumps, and cannot adequately account for the issue of anticipation and causation of a new hypothesis. An integration of the traditional computational view with some ideas developed inside the so-called dynamical approach can suggest some important insights. The concept of attractor is very significant. It permits a description of the abductive generation of new hypotheses in terms of a catastrophic rearrangement of the parameters responsible for the behavior of the system. (shrink)
Technology moves us to a better world. We contend that through technology people can simplify and solve moral tasks when they are in presence of incomplete information and possess a diminished capacity to act morally. Many external things, usually inert from the moral point of view, can be transformed into the so-called moral mediators. Hence, not all of the moral tools are inside the head, many of them are shared and distributed in “external” objects and structures which function as ethical (...) devices. (shrink)
In this paper, we aim at explaining the relevance of thought experiments in philosophy and the history of science by describing them as particular instances of two categories of creative thinking: metaphorical reasoning and abductive cognition. As a result of this definition, we will claim that TEs hold an ignorance-preserving trait that is evidenced in both TEs inferential structure and in the process of scenario creation they presuppose. Elaborating this thesis will allow us to explain the wonder that philosophers of (...) science have consistently shown for TEs, as well as the high functionality of TEs in the creative aspects of scientific and philosophical praxis. (shrink)
In her book Abductive Reasoning Atocha Aliseda (2006) stresses the attention to the logical models of abduction, centering on the semantic tableaux as a method for extending and improving both the whole cognitive/philosophical view on it and on other more restricted logical approaches. I will provide further insight on two aspects. The first is re-lated to the importance of increasing logical knowledge on abduction: Aliseda clearly shows how the logical study on abduction in turn helps us to extend and modernize (...) the classical and received idea of logic. The second refers to some ideas coming from the so-called distributed cognition and concerns the role of logical models as forms of cognitive exter-nalizations of preexistent in-formal human reasoning performances. The logical externalization in objective systems, communicable and sharable, is able to grant stable perspectives endowed with symbolic, abstract, and rigorous cogni-tive features. I will also emphasize that Aliseda especially stresses that this character of stability and objectivity of logical achievements are not usually present in models of abduction that are merely cognitive and epistemological, and of ex-treme importance from the computational point of view. (shrink)