This paper extends earlier work by its authors on formal aspects of the processes of contracting a theory to eliminate a proposition and revising a theory to introduce a proposition. In the course of the earlier work, Gardenfors developed general postulates of a more or less equational nature for such processes, whilst Alchourron and Makinson studied the particular case of contraction functions that are maximal, in the sense of yielding a maximal subset of the theory (or alternatively, of one of (...) its axiomatic bases), that fails to imply the proposition being eliminated. In the present paper, the authors study a broader class, including contraction functions that may be less than maximal. Specifically, they investigate "partial meet contraction functions", which are defined to yield the intersection of some nonempty family of maximal subsets of the theory that fail to imply the proposition being eliminated. Basic properties of these functions are established: it is shown in particular that they satisfy the Gardenfors postulates, and moreover that they are sufficiently general to provide a representation theorem for those postulates. Some special classes of partial meet contraction functions, notably those that are "relational" and "transitively relational", are studied in detail, and their connections with certain "supplementary postulates" of Gardenfors investigated, with a further representation theorem established. (shrink)
This paper offers a novel way of reconstructing conceptual change in empirical theories. Changes occur in terms of the structure of the dimensions—that is to say, the conceptual spaces—underlying the conceptual framework within which a given theory is formulated. Five types of changes are identified: (1) addition or deletion of special laws, (2) change in scale or metric, (3) change in the importance of dimensions, (4) change in the separability of dimensions, and (5) addition or deletion of dimensions. Given this (...) classification, the conceptual development of empirical theories becomes more gradual and rationalizable. Only the most extreme type—replacement of dimensions—comes close to a revolution. The five types are exemplified and applied in a case study on the development within physics from the original Newtonian mechanics to special relativity theory. (shrink)
Our aim in this article is to show how the theory of conceptual spaces can be useful in describing diachronic changes to conceptual frameworks, and thus useful in understanding conceptual change in the empirical sciences. We also compare the conceptual space approach to Moulines’s typology of intertheoretical relations in the structuralist tradition. Unlike structuralist reconstructions, those based on conceptual spaces yield a natural way of modeling the changes of a conceptual framework, including noncumulative changes, by tracing the changes to the (...) dimensions that reconstitute a conceptual framework. As a consequence, the incommensurability of empirical theories need not be viewed as a matter of conceptual representation. (shrink)
We present an account of semantics that is not construed as a mapping of language to the world but rather as a mapping between individual meaning spaces. The meanings of linguistic entities are established via a “meeting of minds.” The concepts in the minds of communicating individuals are modeled as convex regions in conceptual spaces. We outline a mathematical framework, based on fixpoints in continuous mappings between conceptual spaces, that can be used to model such a semantics. If concepts are (...) convex, it will in general be possible for interactors to agree on joint meaning even if they start out from different representational spaces. Language is discrete, while mental representations tend to be continuous—posing a seeming paradox. We show that the convexity assumption allows us to address this problem. Using examples, we further show that our approach helps explain the semantic processes involved in the composition of expressions. (shrink)
This paper concerns voting with logical consequences, which means that anybody voting for an alternative x should vote for the logical consequences of x as well. Similarly, the social choice set is also supposed to be closed under logical consequences. The central result of the paper is that, given a set of fairly natural conditions, the only social choice functions that satisfy social logical closure are oligarchic (where a subset of the voters are decisive for the social choice). The set (...) of conditions needed for the proof include a version of Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives that also plays a central role in Arrow's impossibility theorem. (Published Online July 11 2006) Footnotes1 Much of this article was written while the author was a fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (SCASSS) in Uppsala. I want to thank the Collegium for providing me with excellent working conditions. Wlodek Rabinowicz and other fellows gave me valuable comments at a seminar at SCASSS when an early version of the paper was presented. I also want to thank Luc Bovens, Franz Dietrich, Christian List and an anonymous referee for their excellent comments on a later version. The final version was prepared during a stay at Oxford University for which I am grateful to the British Academy. (shrink)
Decision theory and the theory of rational choice have recently been the subjects of considerable research by philosophers and economists. However, no adequate anthology exists which can be used to introduce students to the field. This volume is designed to meet that need. The essays included are organized into five parts covering the foundations of decision theory, the conceptualization of probability and utility, pholosophical difficulties with the rules of rationality and with the assessment of probability, and causal decision theory. The (...) editors provide an extensive introduction to the field and introductions to each part. (shrink)
This article outlines how conceptual spaces theory applies to modeling changes of scientific frameworks when these are treated as spatial structures rather than as linguistic entities. The theory is briefly introduced and five types of changes are presented. It is then contrasted with Michael Friedman’s neo-Kantian account that seeks to render Kuhn’s “paradigm shift” as a communicatively rational historical event of conceptual development in the sciences. Like Friedman, we refer to the transition from Newtonian to relativistic mechanics as an example (...) of “deep conceptual change.” But we take the communicative rationality of radical conceptual change to be available prior to the philosophical meta-paradigms that Friedman deems indispensable for this purpose. (shrink)
There is a great deal of justified concern about continuity through scientific theory change. Our thesis is that, particularly in physics, such continuity can be appropriately captured at the level of conceptual frameworks using conceptual space models. Indeed, we contend that the conceptual spaces of three of our most important physical theories—Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity Theory, and Quantum Mechanics —have already been so modelled as phase-spaces. Working with their phase-space formulations, one can trace the conceptual changes and continuities in transitioning (...) from CM to QM, and from CM to SRT. By offering a revised severity-ordering of changes that conceptual frameworks can undergo, we provide reasons to doubt the commonly held view that CM is conceptually closer to SRT than QM. (shrink)
We trace the difference between the ways in which apes and humans co–operate to differences in communicative abilities, claiming that the pressure for future–directed co–operation was a major force behind the evolution of language. Competitive co–operation concerns goals that are present in the environment and have stable values. It relies on either signalling or joint attention. Future–directed co–operation concerns new goals that lack fixed values. It requires symbolic communication and context–independent representations of means and goals. We analyse these ways of (...) co–operating in game–theoretic terms and submit that the co–operative strategy of games that involve shared representations of future goals may provide new equilibrium solutions. (shrink)
Why is a red face not really red? How do we decide that this book is a textbook or not? Conceptual spaces provide the medium on which these computations are performed, but an additional operation is needed: Contrast. By contrasting a reddish face with a prototypical face, one gets a prototypical ‘red’. By contrasting this book with a prototypical textbook, the lack of exercises may pop out. Dynamic contrasting is an essential operation for converting perceptions into predicates. The existence of (...) dynamic contrasting may contribute to explaining why lexical meanings correspond to convex regions of conceptual spaces. But it also explains why predication is most of the time opportunistic, depending on context. While off-line conceptual similarity is a holistic operation, the contrast operation provides a context-dependent distance that creates ephemeral predicative judgments that are essential for interfacing conceptual spaces with natural language and with reasoning. (shrink)
Several conditions for being an intrinsically intentional agent are put forward. On a first level of intentionality the agent has representations. Two kinds are described: cued and detached. An agent with both kinds is able to represent both what is prompted by the context and what is absent from it. An intermediate level of intentionality is achieved by having an inner world, that is, a coherent system of detached representations that model the world. The inner world is used, e.g., for (...) conditional and counterfactual thinking. Contextual or indexical representations are necessary in order that the inner world relates to the actual external world and thus can be used as a basis for action. To have full-blown intentionality, the agent should also have a detached self-awareness, that is, be able to entertain self-representations that are independent of the context. (shrink)
A computational theory of induction must be able to identify the projectible predicates, that is to distinguish between which predicates can be used in inductive inferences and which cannot. The problems of projectibility are introduced by reviewing some of the stumbling blocks for the theory of induction that was developed by the logical empiricists. My diagnosis of these problems is that the traditional theory of induction, which started from a given (observational) language in relation to which all inductive rules are (...) formulated, does not go deep enough in representing the kind of information used in inductive inferences. As an interlude, I argue that the problem of induction, like so many other problems within AI, is a problem of knowledge representation. To the extent that AI-systems are based on linguistic representations of knowledge, these systems will face basically the same problems as did the logical empiricists over induction. In a more constructive mode, I then outline a non-linguistic knowledge representation based on conceptual spaces. The fundamental units of these spaces are "quality dimensions". In relation to such a representation it is possible to define "natural" properties which can be used for inductive projections. I argue that this approach evades most of the traditional problems. (shrink)
It is argued that it is not sufficient to consider only the sentences included in the explanans and explanandum when determining whether they constitute an explanation, but these sentences must always be evaluated relative to a knowledge situation. The central criterion on an explanation is that the explanans in a non-trivial way increases the belief value of the explanandum, where the belief value of a sentence is determined from the given knowledge situation. The outlined theory of explanations is applied to (...) some well-known examples and is also compared to other theories of explanation. (shrink)
This paper presents a decision theory which allows subjects to account for the uncertainties of their probability estimates. This is accomplished by modelling beliefs about states of nature by means of a class of probability measures. In order to represent uncertainties of those beliefs a measure of epistemic reliability is introduced. The suggested decision theory is evaluated in the light of empirical evidence on ambiguity and uncertainty in decision making. The theory is also compared to Tversky & Kahneman's prospect theory.
The purpose of this note is to formulate some weaker versions of the so called Ramsey test that do not entail the following unacceptable consequenceIf A and C are already accepted in K, then if A, then C is also accepted in K. and to show that these versions still lead to the same triviality result when combined with a preservation criterion.
Using probability functions defined over a simple language as models of states of belief, my goal in this article has been to analyse contractions and revisions of beliefs. My first strategy was to formulate postulates for these processes. Close parallels between the postulates for contractions and the postulates for revisions have been established - the results in Section 5 show that contractions and revisions are interchangeable. As a second strategy, some suggestions for more or less explicit constructive definitions of the (...) revision process (and indirectly also of the contraction process) were then presented. However, the results in Section 6 are less conclusive than in the earlier ones. This problem area still awaits further development. (shrink)
The dominating models of information processes have been based on symbolic representations of information and knowledge. During the last decades, a variety of non-symbolic models have been proposed as superior. The prime examples of models within the non-symbolic approach are neural networks. However, to a large extent they lack a higher-level theory of representation. In this paper, conceptual spaces are suggested as an appropriate framework for non- symbolic models. Conceptual spaces consist of a number of 'quality dimensions' that often are (...) derived from perceptual mechanisms. It will be outlined how conceptual spaces can represent various kind of information and how they can be used to describe concept learning. The connections to prototype theory will also be presented. (shrink)
Experiments on choice blindness support von Hippel & Trivers's (VH&T's) conception of the mind as fundamentally divided, but they also highlight a problem for VH&T's idea of non-conscious self-deception: If I try to trick you into believing that I have a certain preference, and the best way is to also trick myself, I might actually end up having that preference, at all levels of processing.
We are not entirely satisfied with the evolutionary explanation provided by Suddendorf & Corballis (S&C) for why only humans should be capable of advanced mental time travel. General social factors do not suffice, given that other primates are also highly social. We discuss the evolutionary mechanisms that have generated mental time travel typical to humans, focusing on ecological factors.
In the traditional decision theories the role of forecasts is to a large extent swept under the carpet. I believe that a recognition of the connections between forecasts and decisions will be of benefit both for decision theory and for the art of forecasting.In this paper I have tried to analyse which factors, apart from the utilities of the outcomes of the decision alternatives, determine the value of a decision. I have outlined two answers to the question why a decision (...) which is made on the basis of a forecast is better than a decision which is based on a guess. Neither of these answers is universally valid. An assumption which is necessary for the first answer, i.e. Good's result, is that Bayes' rule is accepted as a correct and generally applicable decision principle. The second answer, which was given with the aid of probability intervals, departed from a more general decision principle, the maximin criterion for expected utilities, which was formulated in order to evade some of the criticism against Bayes' rule. However, the argument leading to the ansser is based on the assumption that the probability intervals associated with the states of nature represent certain knowledge. For this reason this answer is only approximatively valid.As a number of quotations in the section on “the weight of evidence” show, it is not sufficient to describe the knowledge about the states of nature by a single number, representing the (subjective) probability of the state, but something else has to be invoked which measures the amount of information on which a decision is based. Several authors have tried to characterize this mysterious quantity, which here was called the weight of evidence. However, there seems to be little agreement as to how this quantity should be measured. (shrink)
I argue that analyses of various kinds of cooperation will benefit from an account of the cognitive and communicative functions required for the cooperation. In particular, I focus on the role of intersubjectivity , which has not been sufficiently considered in game theory. Intersubjectivity will here be divided into representing the emotions, desires, attention, intentions, and beliefs of others. I then analyze some kinds of cooperation—reciprocal altruism, indirect reciprocity, cooperation on future goals, and conventions—with respect to their cognitive and communicative (...) prerequisites. It is argued that uniquely human forms of cooperation depend on advanced forms of intersubjectivity. (shrink)
By understanding laws of nature as geometrical rather than linguistic entities, this paper addresses how to describe theory structures and how to evaluate their continuity. Relying on conceptual spaces as a modelling tool, we focus on the conceptual framework an empirical theory presupposes, thus obtain a geometrical representation of a theory’s structure. We stress the relevance of measurement procedures in separating conceptual from empirical structures. This lets our understanding of scientific laws come closer to scientific practice, and avoids a widely (...) recognised deficit in current philosophy of science accounts, namely to risk a collapse of the physical into the mathematical. (shrink)
The so called Ramsey test is a semantic recipe for determining whether a conditional proposition is acceptable in a given state of belief. Informally, it can be formulated as follows: (RT) Accept a proposition of the form "if A, then C" in a state of belief K, if and only if the minimal change of K needed to accept A also requires accepting C. In Gärdenfors (1986) it was shown that the Ramsey test is, in the context of some other (...) weak conditions, on pain of triviality incompatible with the following principle, which was there called the preservation criterion: (P) If a proposition B is accepted in a given state of belief K and the proposition A is consistent with the beliefs in K, then B is still accepted in the minimal change of K needed to accept A. (RT) provides a necessary and sufficient criterion for when a 'positive' conditional should be included in a belief state, but it does not say anything about when the negation of a conditional sentence should be accepted. A very natural candidate for this purpose is the following negative Ramsey test: (NRT) Accept the negation of a proposition of the form "if A, then C" in a consistent state of belief K, if and only if the minimal change of K needed to accept A does not require accepting C. This note shows that (NRT) leads to triviality results even in the absence of additional conditions like (P). (shrink)
To evaluate the success of simple heuristics we need to know more about how a relevant heuristic is chosen and how we learn which cues are relevant. These meta-abilities are at the core of ecological rationality, rather than the individual heuristics.
We find that the nature and origin of the proposed “dialogical cognitive representations” in the target article is not sufficiently clear. Our proposal is that (triadic) bodily mimesis and in particular mimetic schemas – prelinguistic representational, intersubjective structures, emerging through imitation but subsequently interiorized – can provide the necessary link between private sensory-motor experience and public language. In particular, we argue that shared intentionality requires triadic mimesis.