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Mike Dacey
Bates College
  1.  26
    The Varieties of Parsimony in Psychology.Mike Dacey - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):414-437.
    Philosophers and psychologists make many different, seemingly incompatible parsimony claims in support of competing models of cognition in nonhuman animals. This variety of parsimony claims is problematic. Firstly, it is difficult to justify each specific variety. This problem is especially salient for Morgan's Canon, perhaps the most important variety of parsimony claimed. Secondly, there is no systematic way of adjudicating between particular claims when they conflict. I argue for a view of parsimony in comparative psychology that solves these problems, based (...)
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  2.  34
    Anthropomorphism as Cognitive Bias.Mike Dacey - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1152-1164.
    Philosophers and psychologists have long worried that the human tendency to anthropomorphize leads us to err in our understanding of nonhuman minds. This tendency, which I call intuitive anthropomorphism, is a heuristic used by our unconscious folk psychology to understand nonhuman animals. The dominant understanding of intuitive anthropomorphism underestimates its complexity. If we want to understand and control intuitive anthropomorphism, we must treat it as a cognitive bias and look to the empirical evidence. This evidence suggests that the most common (...)
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  3.  36
    Rethinking Associations in Psychology.Mike Dacey - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3763-3786.
    I challenge the dominant understanding of what it means to say two thoughts are associated. The two views that dominate the current literature treat association as a kind of mechanism that drives sequences of thought. The first, which I call reductive associationism, treats association as a kind of neural mechanism. The second treats association as a feature of the kind of psychological mechanism associative processing. Both of these views are inadequate. I argue that association should instead be seen as a (...)
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  4.  36
    Associationism Without Associative Links: Thomas Brown and the Associationist Project.Mike Dacey - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:31-40.
    There are two roles that association played in 18th–19th century associationism. The first dominates modern understanding of the history of the concept: association is a causal link posited to explain why ideas come in the sequence they do. The second has been ignored: association is merely regularity in the trains of thought, and the target of explanation. The view of association as regularity arose in several forms throughout the tradition, but Thomas Brown (1778–1820) makes the distinction explicit. He argues that (...)
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  5.  17
    The Paper Topic Machine: Creativity, Credit and the Unconscious.Mike Dacey - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):614-622.
    It is commonly thought that unconscious processes cannot produce actions deserving praise or blame. I present a thought experiment designed to generate a contradicting intuition: at least in this case, we do give credit for the product of an unconscious process. The target is creativity. Many instances of creative thought begin with a step that unconsciously generates a new idea by combining existing ideas. The resulting ideas are selected and developed by later processing. This first step could be replaced with (...)
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    Simplicity and the Meaning of Mental Association.Mike Dacey - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1207-1228.
    Some thoughts just come to mind together. This is usually thought to happen because they are connected by associations, which the mind follows. Such an explanation assumes that there is a particular kind of simple psychological process responsible. This view has encountered criticism recently. In response, this paper aims to characterize a general understanding of associative simplicity, which might support the distinction between associative processing and alternatives. I argue that there are two kinds of simplicity that are treated as characteristic (...)
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    Simplicity and the Meaning of Mental Association.Mike Dacey - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1207-1228.
    Some thoughts just come to mind together. This is usually thought to happen because they are connected by associations, which the mind follows. Such an explanation assumes that there is a particular kind of simple psychological process responsible. This view has encountered criticism recently. In response, this paper aims to characterize a general understanding of associative simplicity, which might support the distinction between associative processing and alternatives. I argue that there are two kinds of simplicity that are treated as characteristic (...)
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