The Cognitive Basis of Science concerns the question 'What makes science possible?' Specifically, what features of the human mind and of human culture and cognitive development permit and facilitate the conduct of science? The essays in this volume address these questions, which are inherently interdisciplinary, requiring co-operation between philosophers, psychologists, and others in the social and cognitive sciences. They concern the cognitive, social, and motivational underpinnings of scientific reasoning in children and lay persons as well as in professional scientists. The (...) editors' introduction lays out the background to the debates, and the volume includes a consolidated bibliography that will be a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great importance to all researchers and students interested in the philosophy or psychology of scientific reasoning, as well as those, more generally, who are interested in the nature of the human mind. (shrink)
Children have a spontaneous interest in the world around them - whether the workings of the earth, sun, and stars, the nature of number, time and space, or the functioning of the body. Yet what is there in children's minds that is the key to their knowledge? This book examines what children can and do know, based on extensive studies from a range of different cultures. Topics include 'theory of mind' - the knowledge that others may have beliefs that differ (...) from one's own and from reality, astronomy and geography, food, health and hygiene, processes of life and death, number and arithmetic, as well as autism and brain research on language and attention. -/- Since what children say and do may not really reflect the depth of their knowledge of the world around them, our goal should be to discover new methods to accurately test children's knowledge, instead of trying to understand the range of failing answers they might give on the many tests that have been devised to determine what they know. Contrary to earlier studies, it is now established that in many areas considerable knowledge is within the grasp of young children with benefits for their later development. For example, although certain number concepts - in particular, fractions, proportions, and infinity - can be difficult to grasp, children generally do not need to undergo a fundamental change in their thinking and reasoning to master these. What the author of this book proposes is that children often display a capacity for understanding that we simply overlook. -/- Written by a renowned developmental psychologist, this book presents a fascinating exploration of children minds, and how we can better understand them. -/- For more information and video clip, please visit: http://alacode.psico.units.it/index.html. (shrink)
We have found that moral considerations interact with belief ascription in determining intentionality judgment. We attribute this finding to a differential availability of plausible counterfactual alternatives that undo the negative side-effect of an action. We conclude that Knobe's thesis does not account for processes by which counterfactuals are generated and how these processes affect moral evaluations.
We examine Carruthers’ proposal that sentences in logical form serve to create flexibility within central system modularity, enabling the combination of information from different modalities. We discuss evidence from aphasia and the neurobiology of input-output systems. This work suggests that there exists considerable capacity for interdomain cognitive processing without language mediation. Other challenges for a logical form account are noted.
Bloom's book underscores the importance of specifying the role of words and grammar in cognition. We propose that the cognitive power of language lies in the lexicon rather than grammar. We suggest ways in which studies involving children and patients with aphasia can provide insights into the basis of abstract cognition in the domain of number and mathematics.
The thesis of discontinuity between humans and nonhumans requires evidence from formal reasoning tasks that rules out solutions based on associative strategies. However, insightful problem solving can be often credited through talking to humans, but not to nonhumans. We note the paradox of assuming that reasoning is orthogonal to language and enculturation while employing the criterion of using language to compare what humans and nonhumans know.
Although Carpendale & Lewis (C&L) correctly emphasize the importance of conversation in children's social understanding, they neglect several complex issues. Contrary to their assertion, the focus on mental state processing has not been misplaced, and there is a need to recognize that different aspects of social understanding are liable to undergo distinctive developmental changes that vary in relation to social interaction.
Children have an innate interest in the world around them - the workings of the earth, sun, and stars, the nature of number, time and space, or the functioning of the body. Yet what is there in children's minds that is the key to their knowledge? This book examines what children can and do know, based on extensive studies from a range of cultures.