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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
We approach the semantics of prepositions from the perspective of conceptual spaces. Focusing on purely spatial locative and directional prepositions, we analyze both types of prepositions in terms of polar coordinates instead of Cartesian coordinates. This makes it possible to demonstrate that the property of convexity holds quite generally in the domain of prepositions of location and direction, supporting the important role that this property plays in conceptual spaces.
Within analytic philosophy, induction has been seen as a problem concerning inferences that have been analysed as relations between sentences. In this article, we argue that induction does not primarily concern relations between sentences, but between properties and categories. We outline a new approach to induction that is based on two theses. The first thesis is epistemological. We submit that there is not only knowledge-how and knowledge-that, but also knowledge-what. Knowledge-what concerns relations between properties and categories and we argue that (...) it cannot be reduced to knowledge-that. We support the partition of knowledge by mapping it onto the long-term memory systems: procedural, semantic and episodic memory. The second thesis is that the role of inductive reasoning is to generate knowledge-what. We use conceptual spaces to model knowledge-what and the relations between properties and categories involved in induction. (shrink)
The meanings of words are not permanent but change over time. Some changes of meaning are quick, such as when a pronoun changes its reference; some are slower, as when two speakers find out that they are using the same word in different senses; and some are very slow, such as when the meaning of a word changes over historical time. A theory of semantics should account for these different time scales. In order to describe these different types of meaning (...) changes, I present an analysis of three levels of communication: instruction, coordination of common ground and coordination of meaning. My first aim is to show that these levels must be considered when discussing lexical semantics. A second aim is to use the levels to identify the communicative roles of some of the main word classes, in particular nouns, adjectives, verbs, indexicals and quantifiers. I argue that the existence of word classes can, to a large extent, be explained by the communicative needs that arise on the different levels. (shrink)
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 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.
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 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)
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)
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.