: In 1856, Michael Faraday (1791–1867) conducted nearly a year's worth of research on the optical properties of gold, in the course of which he discovered the first metallic colloids. Following our own discovery of hundreds of the specimens prepared by Faraday for this research, the present paper describes the cognitive role of these "epistemic artifacts" in the dynamics of Faraday's research practices. Analysis of the specimens, Faraday's Diary records, and replications of selected procedures (partly to replace missing kinds of (...) specimens and partly to understand the "tacit knowledge" implicated in Faraday's research) are outlined, and a reconstruction of the events surrounding the initial discovery of metallic colloids is presented. (shrink)
Recent advances in the cognitive psychology of inference have been of great interest to philosophers of science. The present paper reviews one such area, namely studies based upon Wason's 4-card selection task. It is argued that interpretation of the results of the experiments is complex, because a variety of inference strategies may be used by subjects to select evidence needed to confirm or disconfirm a hypothesis. Empirical evidence suggests that which strategy is used depends in part on the semantic, syntactic, (...) and pragmatic context of the inference problem at hand. Since the factors of importance are also present in real-world science, and similarly complicate its interpretation, the selection task, though it does not present a quick fix, represents a kind of microcosm of great utility for the understanding of science. Several studies which have examined selection strategies in more complex problem-solving environments are also reviewed, in an attempt to determine the limits of generalizability of the simpler selection tasks. Certain interpretational misuses of laboratory research are described, and a claim made that the issue of whether or not scientists are rational should be approached by philosophers and psychologists with appropriate respect for the complexities of the issue. (shrink)
Wegner's The Illusion of Conscious Will (2002) ignores an important aspect of the history of the concept: the determinism of Jonathan Edwards (1754) and the later response to this determinism by William James and others. We argue that Edwards's formulation, and James's resolution of the resulting dilemma, are superior to Wegner's.
The scientific activity of Michael Faraday is examined by focusing on the procedural aspects of his activity. Procedurality is shown to be a fundamental characteristic of his work at a variety of levels: metacognitive, heuristic, schematic, and theoretical. The evolution of his ideas about the goals of science is shown to reflect fundamental roots in a procedural epistemology, closely tied to his concept of field. The implications of this analysis for the philosophy of science are briefly considered.
Based upon papers given at a 2011 conference at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, this book crosses many boundaries. Most obviously, it includes a balanced set of contributions by philosophers and cognitive scientists from a variety of countries: Nine of the authors are based in Europe, eight in Asia, and one in North America. The conference was the latest of three held in Guangzhou between 2004 and 2011; the editors are to be congratulated for their extensive and continuing efforts (...) to open windows among philosophers and cognitive scientists across continents. (shrink)