Decision making theory in general, and mental models in particular, associate judgment and choice. Decision choice follows probability estimates and errors in choice derive mainly from errors in judgment. In the studies reported here we use the Monty Hall dilemma to illustrate that judgment and choice do not always go together, and that such a dissociation can lead to better decision-making. Specifically, we demonstrate that in certain decision problems, exceeding working memory limitations can actually improve decision choice. We show across (...) four experiments that increasing the number of choice alternatives forces people to collapse choices together, resulting in better decision-making. While choice performance improves, probability judgments do not change, thus demonstrating an important dissociation between choice and probability judgments. We propose the Collapsing Choice Theory which explains how working memory capacity, probability estimation, choice alternatives, judgment, and regret all interact and effect decision quality. (shrink)
Decision making theory in general, and mental models in particular, associate judgment and choice. Decision choice follows probability estimates and errors in choice derive mainly from errors in judgment. In the studies reported here we use the Monty Hall dilemma to illustrate that judgment and choice do not always go together, and that such a dissociation can lead to better decision-making. Specifically, we demonstrate that in certain decision problems, exceeding working memory limitations can actually improve decision choice. We show across (...) four experiments that increasing the number of choice alternatives forces people to collapse choices together, resulting in better decision-making. While choice performance improves, probability judgments do not change, thus demonstrating an important dissociation between choice and probability judgments. We propose the Collapsing Choice Theory (CCT) which explains how working memory capacity, probability estimation, choice alternatives, judgment, and regret all interact and effect decision quality. (shrink)
The sensation-perception distinction did not appear before the seventeenth century, but since then various formulations of it have gained wide acceptance. This is not an historical accident and the article suggests an explanation for its appearance. Section 1 describes a basic assumption underlying the sensation-perception distinction, to wit, the postulation of a pure sensory stage--viz. sensation--devoid of active influence of the agent's cognitive, emotional, and evaluative frameworks. These frameworks are passive in that stage. I call this postulation the passivity assumption. (...) Section 2 suggests three major reasons for the emergence of this assumption in the seventeenth century: the mental-physical gap, the causal theory of perception, and epistemological considerations regarding the status of the sensory given. In the last section a critical discussion is presented. The passivity assumption is found to have serious empirical and theoretical flaws. (shrink)
Three common strategies used by informal logicians are considered: (1) the appeal to standard cases, (2) the attempt to partially formalize so-called "informal fallacies," and (3) restatement of arguments in such a way as to make their logical character more perspicuous. All three strategies are found to be useful. Attention is drawn to several advantages of a "stock case" approach, a minimalist approach to formalization is recommended, and doubts are raised about the applicability, from a logical point of view, of (...) a principle of charitable construal in the reconstruction of arguments. (shrink)
In many circumstances compromises seem to be of great value to our well-being; compromises can help us avoid disputes and fights and enable us to live peacefully with each other. However, compromises can also require us to surrender some of our values. These two opposing aspects implicit in compromise express the need to be sensitive to external circumstances and in particular to the wishes of other people, and at the same time to be willing to relinquish something of value. So (...) are compromises, and in particular romantic compromises, good or bad for our well-being? McIntyre’s view in general and Aristotle’s distinction between extrinsically and intrinsically valuable activities in particular, are very useful in this regard. Compromises can be characterized as involving dissatisfied acceptance of a gap between a perceived feasible desire and our actual situation. The acceptance of the gap is merely behavioral stemming from unfavorable external circumstances. It is not psychologically accepted, as deep down we are not happy with the compromise, and still yearning for a better solution. Romantic compromises are particularly hard to accept in light of the prominent place of the Romantic Ideology, in which ideal love can overcome all obstacles and hence there is no place for compromises. (shrink)
The relationship between emotions and argumentation is not always clear. I attempt to clarify this issue by referring to three basic questions: (1) Do emotions constitute a certain kind of argumentation?; (2) Do emotions constitute rational argumentation?; (3) Do emotions constitute efficient argumentation? I will claim that there are many circumstances in which the answer to these questions is positive. After describing such circumstances, the educational implications of the connection between emotions and argumentation will be indicated.
The broad, ancient notion of the “soul” was replaced by Descartes with a more narrow notion of the “mind.” As well as limiting the scope of the soul, Descartes separated it from the body, giving the soul a substantive status. These two features gave rise to severe conceptual problems which remain unsolved till the present day. I believe that retaining some features of the ancient notion of the “soul”—particularly those found in Aristotle’s view—may resolve many of these problems. As an (...) alternative approach I suggest the following three assumptions concerning the nature of the soul : the soul consists of dispositional and actualized states and not of internal, isolated entities; physiological and mental states are not actually separate but belong to two different levels of description, hence the relation between them is that of correlation and not of causality; mental and physical states can be arranged along a spectrum ranging from simple to more complex states. This approach treats mental properties just as common sense and science treat other natural properties. Thus, many of the traditional problems concerning the mind-body gap disappear. Though the approach presented here returns, in some aspects, to the ancient, broad notion of the soul, I will continue to use the term “mind” which is used more today. (shrink)
In this work I reject the contention that there is a perceptual stage which is devoid of contributions from the agent's cognitive framework. This contention is expressed in two different noncognitive views of perception. The traditional sensory core view which has prevailed since the seventeenth century; it claims that there is a stage of pure sensory core which precedes the interpretive percepts . The recent ecological approach whose main representative is J. J. Gibson; it claims that not only a certain (...) perceptual stage, but the whole perceptual process, is devoid of cognitive contributions. Before I deal with these views, I discuss the basic features of cognition in general. ;Cognition is concerned with the establishment of relations and order; it is a purposive placing of a cognized object into a meaningful order. Cognition begins with modifying a given order for the purpose of making it fit into a given meaningful framework. Throughout the work I show that, contrary to the aforementioned noncognitive views, perception fulfills this depiction of cognition. ;In the discussion of the sensory core view, I illustrate its main assumptions in various philosophical writings, and then indicate main reasons for its appearance in the seventeenth century. These reasons stem from the intermediate role sensation was supposed to have in the mental-physical gap. Sensations were considered to be primitive mental entities with physical causes; their physical origin prevents them from containing complex mental features such as the cognitive ones, and, thus, they are regarded as pure. This stage of pure sensation was postulated primarily out of theoretical considerations. Those did not coincide with the empirical and phenomenological description of that stage; hence, the empirical characterization and the phenomenological status of that stage were constantly modified. The various suggestions for describing that stage are examined and criticized from both empirical and theoretical respects. The empirical evidence presented indicates that there is no qualitative difference between perceiving what is regarded as pure sensations and what is regarded as inferential perceptions. The theoretical criticism points out that the assumption regarding pure sensation is not necessary for an adequate explanation of perception; and, since it has no empirical grounds, it is superfluous. ;After rejecting the sensory core view, I examine the ecological approach. This view rejects the traditional sensation-perception distinction and contends that we do not have to assume the existence of cognitive activities that interpret meaningless sensations into meaningful perceptions, since the perceiver directly encounters meaningful features. I claim that this solution is similar to Kant's approach, and, therefore, it has to pay a price which is similar to that which Kant pays, viz. the relational nature of the perceptual environment. The neglect of this feature results in unsolvable difficulties in central notions of the ecological approach. ;I conclude the work by suggesting a crude outline for approaching perception; in many respects it is close to Aristotle's view. I contend that causal explanations of the physiological processes cannot wholly explain perceiving; these processes are necessary supportive bases for perceiving and not the causes which precede and produce it. Accordingly, we should not assume the existence of separate percepts in the agent's head. The cognitive system is an integral part of the perceptual system; hence, perception may be conceived of as direct understanding. (shrink)
Answering the question, ‘Who is a rational agent?’ is of utmost importance for all moral theories which conceive of the rational agent as their basic moral unit. Surprisingly enough, these theories do not pay much attention to this question, and assume, without offering detailed discussions, certain characterizations of the rational agent. In this paper, I examine what kind of attribute ‘rational’ is. In light of this examination I claim that the rational moral theories are based on a mistaken characterization of (...) the rational agent. (shrink)
Jesus has been accused of committing a fallacy (of denying the antecedent) at John 8:47. Careful analysis of this text (1) reveals a hitherto unrecognized valid form of argument which can superficially look like the predicate-logic analogue of denying the antecedent; (2) shows that determining whether a published text can be fairly charged with committing a fallacy may require (but often does not get) extensive and detailed analysis; (3) acquits Jesus of the charge; and thereby (4) conflnns a claim by (...) Michael Burke that published arguments can seldom be fairly charged with denying the antecedent, or analogous fallacies. (shrink)
Consequentialists typically think that the moral quality of one's conduct depends on the difference one makes. But consequentialists may also think that even if one is not making a difference, the moral quality of one's conduct can still be affected by whether one is participating in an endeavour that does make a difference. Derek Parfit discusses this issue – the moral significance of what I call ‘participation’ – in the chapter of Reasons and Persons that he devotes to what he (...) calls ‘moral mathematics’. In my paper, I expose an inconsistency in Parfit's discussion of moral mathematics by showing how it gives conflicting answers to the question of whether participation matters. I conclude by showing how an appreciation of Parfit's error sheds some light on consequentialist thought generally, and on the debate between act- and rule-consequentialists specifically. (shrink)
Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other – as in the case of quality and quantity of wine. I argue that Mill is not committed to thinking that there are two distinct kinds of pleasure, or that ‘higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I (...) show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp's Haydn and the oyster and Nozick's experience machine. (shrink)
The randomized response technique (RRT) is used to study the deceptive behavior of purchasing agents. We test the propositionthat purchasing agents’ perceptions of organizational expectations influence their behavior. Results indicate that perceived pressure toperform and ethical ambiguity on the part of the firm are correlated with purchasing agents’ unethical behavior, in the form of acknowledged deception of suppliers.
We study the representation of attitudes to risk in Jeffrey’s decision-theoretic framework suggested by Stefánsson and Bradley :602–625, 2015; Br J Philos Sci 70:77–102, 2017) and Bradley :231–248, 2016; Decisions theory with a human face, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2017). We show that on this representation, the value of any prospect may be expressed as a sum of two components, the prospect’s instrumental value and the prospect’s intrinsic value. Both components have an expectational form. We also make a distinction between (...) a prospect’s overall intrinsic value and a prospect’s conditional intrinsic value given each one of its possible outcomes and argue that this distinction has great explanatory power. We explore the relation between these two types of intrinsic values and show that they are determined at the level of preferences. Finally, we explore the relation between the intrinsic values of different prospects and point to a strong restriction on this relation that is implicit in Jeffrey’s axioms. We suggest a natural interpretation to this restriction. (shrink)