Current psychology of human reasoning is divided into several different approaches. For instance, there is a major dispute over the question whether human beings are able to apply norms of the formal models of rationality such as rules of logic, or probability and decision theory, correctly. While researchers following the “heuristics and biases” approach argue that we deviate systematically from these norms, and so are perhaps deeply irrational, defenders of the “bounded rationality” approach think not only that the evidence for (...) this conclusion is problematic but also that we should not, at least not very often, use formal norms in reasoning. I argue that while the evidence for heuristics and biases is indeed questionable, the bounded rationality approach has its limits too. Most especially, we should not infer that formal norms play no role in a comprehensive theory of rationality. Instead, formal and bounded rules of reasoning might even be connected in a more comprehensive theory of rationality. (shrink)
The paper shows why and how an empirical study of fast-and-frugal heuristics can provide norms of good reasoning, and thus how (and how far) rationality can be naturalized. We explain the heuristics that humans often rely on in solving problems, for example, choosing investment strategies or apartments, placing bets in sports, or making library searches. We then show that heuristics can lead to judgments that are as accurate as or even more accurate than strategies that use more information and computation, (...) including optimization methods. A standard way to defend the use of heuristics is by reference to accuracy-effort trade-offs. We take a different route, emphasizing ecological rationality (the relationship between cognitive heuristics and environment), and argue that in uncertain environments, more information and computation are not always better (the “less-can-be-more” doctrine). The resulting naturalism about rationality is thus normative because it not only describes what heuristics people use, but also in which specific environments one should rely on a heuristic in order to make better inferences. While we desist from claiming that the scope of ecological rationality is unlimited, we think it is of wide practical use. (shrink)
We provide an overview of three ways in which the expression “Historical epistemology” (HE) is often understood: (1) HE as a study of the history of higher-order epistemic concepts such as objectivity, observation, experimentation, or probability; (2) HE as a study of the historical trajectories of the objects of research, such as the electron, DNA, or phlogiston; (3) HE as the long-term study of scientific developments. After laying out various ways in which these agendas touch on current debates within both (...) epistemology and philosophy of science (e.g., skepticism, realism, rationality of scientific change), we conclude by highlighting three topics as especially worthy of further philosophical investigation. The first concerns the methods, aims and systematic ambitions of the history of epistemology. The second concerns the ways in versions of HE can be connected to versions of naturalized and social epistemologies. The third concerns the philosophy of history, and in particular the level of analysis at which a historical analysis should aim. (shrink)
We argue that Kant’s views about consciousness, the mind-body problem, and the status of psychology as a science all differ drastically from the way in which these topics are conjoined in present debates about the prominent idea of a science of consciousness. Kant did never use the concept of consciousness in the now dominant sense of phenomenal qualia; his discussions of the mind-body problem center not on the reducibility of mental properties but of substances; and his views about the possibility (...) of psychology as a science did not employ the requirement of a mechanistic explanation, but of quantification of phenomena. This shows strikingly how deeply philosophical problems and conceptions can change even if they look similar on the surface. (shrink)
When proponents of cognitive externalism (CE) turn to empirical studies in cognitive science to put the framework to use and to assess its explanatory success, they typically refer to perception, memory, or motor coordination. In contrast, not much has been said about reasoning. One promising avenue to explore in this respect is the theory of bounded rationality (BR). To clarify the relationship between CE and BR, we criticize Andy Clark's understanding of BR, as well as his claim that BR does (...) not fit his version of CE. We then propose and defend a version of CE—“scaffolded cognition”—that is not committed to constitutive claims about the mind, but still differs from mainstream internalism. Finally, we analyze BR from our own CE perspective, thereby clarifying its vague appeals to the environment, and argue that cognitive internalism cannot explain important aspects of the BR program. (shrink)
This book explores Kant's philosophy of the human sciences, their status, their relations and prospects. Contrary to widespread belief, he is not dogmatic about the question of whether these disciplines are proper sciences. Instead, this depends on whether we can rationally adjust assumptions about the methods, goals, and subject matter of these disciplines - and this has to be done alongside of ongoing research. Kant applies these ideas especially in lectures on "pragmatic antropology" given from 1772-1796. In doing so, he (...) refines his conception of anthropology and clarifies its relation to physiology, psychology, history, and ethics. He also discusses then leading approaches in the human sciences, from Wollfian psychology over Bonnet's attempt to explain the mind in terms of the brain up to Hume's naturalism and Herder's historicism. Only against the background of these arguments can we understand and assess Kant's view of the human being as a social and rational being, capable of creating its own laws of conduct. He moreover argues that and why we can view ourselves as free agents even from an empirical point of view. This is quite a fresh perspective on the human sciences, their goals, potentials and limits - and fresh not only in the 18th century. (shrink)
While the extended cognition (EC) thesis has gained more followers in cognitive science and in the philosophy of mind and knowledge, our main goal is to discuss a different area of significance of the EC thesis: its relation to philosophy of science. In this introduction, we outline two major areas: (I) The role of the thesis for issues in the philosophy of cognitive science, such as: How do notions of EC figure in theories or research programs in cognitive science? Which (...) versions of the EC thesis appear, and with which arguments to support them? (II) The potentials and limits of the EC thesis for topics in general philosophy of science, such as: Can naturalism perhaps be further advanced by means of the more recent EC thesis? Can we understand “big science” or laboratory research better by invoking some version of EC? And can the EC thesis help in overcoming the notorious cognitive/social divide in science studies? (shrink)
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither the subject (...) matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter . Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
Common opinion ascribes to Immanuel Kant the view that psychology cannot become a science properly so called, because it cannot be mathematized. It is equally common to claim that this reflects the state of the art of his times; that the quantification of the mind was not achieved during the eighteenth century, while it was so during the nineteenth century; or that Kant's so-called “impossibility claim” was refuted by nineteenth-century developments, which in turn opened one path for psychology to become (...) properly scientific. These opinions are often connected, but they are misguided nevertheless. -/- In Part I, I show how the issue of a quantification of the mind was discussed before Kant, and I analyze the philosophical considerations both of pessimistic and optimistic authors. This debate reveals a certain progress, although it remains ultimately undecided. In Part II, I present actual examples of measuring the mind in the eighteenth century and analyze their presuppositions. Although these examples are limited in certain ways, the common view that there was no such measurement is wrong. In Part III, I show how Kant's notorious “ impossibility claim” has to be viewed against its historical background. He not only accepts actual examples of a quantitative treatment of the mind, but also takes steps toward an explanation of their possibility. Thus, he does not advance the claim that the mind as such cannot be mathematized. His claim is directed against certain philosophical assumptions about the mind, assumptions shared by a then-dominating, strongly introspectionist conception of psychology. This conception did and could not provide an explanation of the possibility of quantifying the mind. In concluding, I reflect on how this case study helps to improve the dispute over when and why psychology became a science. (shrink)
In this introductory article, we provide a historical and philosophical framework for studying crisis discussions in psychology. We first trace the various meanings of crisis talk outside and inside of the sciences. We then turn to Kuhn’s concept of crisis, which is mainly an analyst’s category referring to severe clashes between theory and data. His view has also dominated many discussions on the status of psychology: Can it be considered a “mature” science, or are we dealing here with a pre- (...) or multi-paradigmatic discipline? Against these Kuhnian perspectives, we point out that especially, but not only in psychology distinctive crisis declarations and debates have taken place since at least the late 19th century. In these, quite different usages of crisis talk have emerged, which can be determined by looking at (a) the content and (b) the dimensions of the declarations, as well as (c) the functions these declarations had for their authors. Thus, in psychology at least, ‘crisis’ has been a vigorous actor’s category, occasionally having actual effects on the future course of research. While such crisis declarations need not be taken at face value, they nevertheless help to break the spell of Kuhnian analyses of psychology’s history. They should inform ways in which the history and philosophy of psychology is studied further. (shrink)
This essay reconsiders Kant's denial of scientific status to the discipline of empirical psychology, which have often been viewed as quite problematic. In the preface to the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant denies that psychology can be natural science proper. I argue that Kant's impossibility claim is based on a very specific conception of science that he did not put forward elsewhere, and that is restricted to *natural* sciences in any case. Also, Kant's critical remarks are directed merely against (...) a particular conception of psychology, namely one going back to Baumgarten and adopted by many psychologists in the eighteenth century, according to which introspection is the sole means of gathering empirical evidence about the mind. Although this particular conception of psychology precludes it from being natural science proper, it is possible that other conceptions of psychology could allow it to be scientific. Also, for Kant the study of the mind should not be introspection-based. He himself developed a "pragmatic anthropology", which he viewed as a significant factor in our knowledge of the world. (shrink)
This is an interdisciplinary collection of new essays by philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and historians on the question: What has determined and what should determine the territory or the boundaries of the discipline named "psychology"? Both the contents - in terms of concepts - and the methods - in terms of instruments - are analyzed. Among the contributors are Mitchell Ash, Paul Baltes, Jochen Brandtstädter, Gerd Gigerenzer, Michael Heidelberger, Gerhard Roth, and Thomas Sturm.
I analyze the historical background and philosophical considerations of Karl Bühler and his student Karl Popper regarding the crisis of psychology. They share certain Kantian questions and methods for reflection on the state of the art in psychology. Part 1 outlines Bühler’s diagnosis and therapy for the crisis in psychology as he perceived it, leading to his famous theory of language. I also show how the Kantian features of Bühler’s approach help to deal with objections to his crisis diagnosis and (...) to aspects of his linguistic theory. Part 2 turns to Popper’s dissertation, completed in 1928 under Bühler. I analyze Popper’s disapproval of Schlick’s physicalism in psychology, as well as Popper’s attempt to extend Bühler’s Kantian strategy to the domain of the psychology of thinking. In conclusion, I indicate how these approaches to the crisis in psychology differ from Thomas Kuhn’s notions of crisis and revolution, which are still all too popular in current philosophical discussions of psychology. (shrink)
One of Kant’s central tenets concerning the human sciences is the claim that one need not, and should not, use a physiological vocabulary if one studies human cognitions, feelings, desires, and actions from the point of view of his “pragmatic” anthropology. The claim is well-known, but the arguments Kant advances for it have not been closely discussed. I argue against misguided interpretations of the claim, and I present his actual reasons in favor of it. Contemporary critics of a “ physiological (...) anthropology” reject physiological explanations of mental states as more or less epistemologically dubious. Kant does not favor such ignorance claims – and this is for the good, since none of these claims was sufficiently justified at that time. Instead, he develops an original irrelevance thesis concerning the empirical knowledge of the physiological basis of the mind. His arguments for this claim derive from his original and up to now little understood criticism of a certain conception of pragmatic history, related to his anthropological insights concerning our ability to create new rules of action, the social dynamics of human action, and the relative inconstancy of human nature. The irrelevance thesis also changes his views of the goal and methodology of anthropology. Kant thereby argues for a distinctive approach in quest for a general “science of man”. (shrink)
What are the relationships between philosophy and the history of philosophy, the history of science and the philosophy of science? This selection of essays by Lorenz Krüger (1932-1994) presents exemplary studies on the philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant, on the history of physics and on the scope and limitations of scientific explanation, and a realistic understanding of science and truth. In his treatment of leading currents in 20th century philosophy, Krüger presents new and original arguments for a deeper (...) understanding of the continuity and dynamics of the development of scientific theory. These result in significant consequences for the claim of the sciences that they understand reality in a rational manner. The case studies are complemented by fundamental thoughts on the relationship between philosophy, science, and their common history. (shrink)
In his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, Kant formulates the idea of the empirical investigation of the human being as a free agent. The notion is puzzling: Does Kant not often claim that, from an empirical point of view, human beings cannot be considered as free? What sense would it make anyway to include the notion of freedom in science? The answer to these questions lies in Kant’s notion of character. While probably all concepts of character are involved (...) in the description and explanation of human action, Kant develops a specific notion of character by distinguishing character as a “mode of thought” (Denkungsart) from character as a “mode of sensing” (Sinnesart). The former notion is distinctively Kantian. Only mode of thought reveals itself in human action such that actions can be seen as linked to an agent’s first-person perspective and the capacity to rationally reflect one’s own intentions and desires. By reference to this concept human actions can be empirically explained qua free actions. The point of this paper is not only to rule out the interpretation that Kant is an incompatibilist concerning the dilemma of freedom and causal determinism. It is also argued that Kant defends a version of soft determinism which is more sophisticated and more adequate for the human sciences than Hume’s. (shrink)
This paper is an overview of recent discussions concerning the mind–body problem that have been taking place at the interface between philosophy and neuroscience. In it I focus on phenomenal consciousness or “qualia”, which I distinguish from various related issues (sections 1-2). I then discuss various influential skeptical arguments that question the possibility of reductive explanations of qualia in physicalist terms: knowledge arguments, conceivability arguments, the argument from multiple realizability and the explanatory gap argument. None of the arguments is found (...) entirely convincing (section 3). It does not necessarily follow that reductive physicalism is the only option, but it is defensible. However, constant conceptual and methodological reflection is required alongside ongoing research, to keep such a view free from dogmatism and naivety (section 4). (shrink)
One of Kant’s central tenets concerning the human sciences is the claim that one need not, and should not, use a physiological vocabulary if one studies human cognitions, feelings, desires, and actions from the point of view of his ‘pragmatic’ anthropology. The claim is well known, but the arguments Kant advances for it have not been closely discussed. I argue against misguided interpretations of the claim, and I present his actual reasons in favor of it. Contemporary critics of a ‘physiological (...) anthropology’ reject physiological explanations of mental states as more or less epistemologically dubious. Kant does not favor such ignorance claims—and this is for the good, since none of these claims was sufficiently justified at that time. Instead, he develops an original irrelevance thesis concerning the empirical knowledge of the physiological basis of the mind. His arguments for this claim derive from his original and, up to now, little understood criticism of a certain conception of pragmatic history, related to his anthropological insights concerning our ability to create new rules of action, the social dynamics of human action, and the relative inconstancy of human nature. The irrelevance thesis also changes his views of the goal and methodology of anthropology. Kant thereby argues for a distinctive approach in quest for a general ‘science of man’.Keywords: Anthropology; Psychology; Psychophysiological explanations; Pragmatic history; Action explanation; Human nature. (shrink)
This is a review of a book that tries to re-establish mind-body dualism by using (a) empirical research on near-death experiences, placebo effects, creativity, claiming even that parapsychology should become a respected part of science, and (b) Frederic W. H. Myers' (1843-1901) metaphor of the brain as a kind of receiving device that records what the irreducible mind sends as messages. Among other things, we criticize the lack of philosophical clarity about mind-body relation, and question the book's tendency to refer (...) to past and current parapsychological literature as reliable. (shrink)
This essay is a plea for the view that philosophers should analyze the concept of self-deception more with the aim of having useful applications for empirical research. This is especially desirable because psychologists often use different, even incompat-ible conceptions of self-deception when investigating the factual conditions and con-sequences, as well as the very existence, of the phenomenon. At the same time, philosophers who exploit psychological research on human cognition and reasoning in order to better understand self-deception fail to realize that (...) these theories and data are loaded with problematic assumptions. More specifically, I discuss what conceptions of rationality are assumed when we describe cases of self-deception as either irra-tional or as adaptively rational, and how competing ontological models of the self ap-pear in different accounts of self-deception. I argue, first, that although the self typically is an object of such deception, it is not always so. Secondly, while it is the subject of deception, it is so only in a moderate way: We need neither assume multi-ple selves, nor is self-deception typically brought about or sustained intentionally. However, the avoidance of self-deception is at least sometimes under the subject’s ra-tional control. This account does not take for granted the existence of the phenomenon of self-deception. It is a serious task of empirical research to figure out whether self-deception really occurs. This issue also depends on the question ignored until now of what normative conception of rationality is assumed when one views certain beliefs as self-deceptive. (shrink)
In chapter 15 of Kant's Thinker, Patricia Kitcher claims that we can treat Kant as , and that his theory of apperception new. I question this with respect to two of her four chosen topics. First, I address her attempt to show that Kant's theory of apperceptive self-knowledge is immune to sceptical doubts of the sort Barry Stroud presents. Second, I turn to her argument that this theory is superior to current accounts of the special authority of self-knowledge. Over and (...) above specific weaknesses, it seems that Kitcher's considerations generally lack sufficient reflection on how philosophical arguments of the past can be relevant to current agendas. (shrink)
What roles have instruments played in psychology and related disciplines? How have instruments affected the dynamics of psychological research, with what possibilities and limits? What is a psychological instrument? This paper provides a conceptual foundation for specific case studies concerning such questions. The discussion begins by challenging widely accepted assumptions about the subject and analyzing the general relations between scientific experimentation and the uses of instruments in psychology. Building on this analysis, a deliberately inclusive definition of what constitutes a psychological (...) instrument is proposed. The discussion then takes up the relation between instrumentation and theories, and differentiates in greater detail the roles instruments have had over the course of psychology’s history. Finally, the authors offer an approach to evaluating the possibilities and limitations of instruments in psychology. (shrink)
We attack the SSK's rejection of the distinction between discovery and justification (the DJ distinction), famously introduced by Hans Reichenbach and here defended in a "lean" version. Some critics claim that the DJ distinction cannot be drawn precisely, or that it cannot be drawn prior to the actual analysis of scientific knowledge. Others, instead of trying to blur or to reject the distinction, claim that we need an even more fine-grained distinction (e.g. between discovery, invention, prior assessment, test and justification). (...) Adherents of the SSK, however, maintain that the distinction is useless and perhaps nonexistent. We first argue against the assumption that the SSK's objection to the DJ distinction is just the same as Thomas Kuhn's. Second, we point out general weaknesses of the SSK's arguments against the DJ distinction. Finally, we argue that the distinction is useful not only in order to explicate what is meant by an evaluation but even for the empirical explanation of knowledge. We use two case studies from the history of cognitive science to support this point. (shrink)
Review of Manfred Kuehn's outstanding biography on Immanuel Kant. A critical point I raise concerns Kuehn's discussion of Kant's relation to Hume. Scholars are divided over the questions of (a) whether Hume was an actual inspiration for Kant’s Critical philosophy, (b) whether Kant’s defense really addresses Hume’s problem of causality, and, of course, (c) whether Kant’s arguments provide a satisfactory solution to the problem. Sometimes these questions are not clearly distinguished by interpreters, part of the reason Kant scholarship appears so (...) intractable to outsiders. While Kuehn’s answers to questions (a) and (b) appear to be ”Yes”, and while his reasons for the Yes to (a) are convincing, those for Yes to (b) are not; and (c) isn't addressed at all. (shrink)
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither the subject (...) matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter. Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
The article reports discussions at an international conference of leading Kant scholars held at the University of Marburg (Germany) in 1998. The conference was concerned with both the current state and the need for revisions of the Academy edition of Kant's Gesammelte Schriften as well. As became clear, a complete revision is necessary in the case of Vols. XX-XXIV and XXVII-XXIX, since these can hardly be used for research. Improvements of various extent and content should be attempted in other volumes (...) as well-even in Vols. I-IX, Kant's published works, the best edited part of the edition. (shrink)
A review of electronic versions of writings by Kant's: first, a CD-Rom containing central parts of the Academy edition; second, an edition containing next to central works by Kant also texts by Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Both editions are useful and complement each other, although for scholarly purposes the electronic version of the Academy edition is to be preferred.
I criticize Sacks' ambitious work on objectivity and its history in modern philosophy in three main regards: First, Sacks tends to oversimplify the different views of Descartes, Locke, and Hume, which are not all haunted in the same sense by a "subject-driven skepticism". Second, Kant's conception of objectivity isn't directed (primarily) at refuting external world skepticism. Third, Sacks assumes that it is clear what transcendental idealism is: a doctrine that asserts an ontological distinction between "appearances" and "things in themselves". This (...) ignores the deep interpretive and systematical discussions about this doctrine. In sum, the book lacks a proper historical diagnosis of where current notions of objectivity come from, or how our agenda has changed from those of early modern philosophers. (shrink)
I argue that both psychological and philosophical studies of selfdeception suffer from serious weaknesses, albeit different ones. On the one hand, psychologists often use varying and unreflective conceptions of selfdeception in their research. On the other hand, philosophers either ignore the necessity of paying attention to psychological research – or, if they do, they use empirical studies of human cognition and reasoning without realizing that theories and data are loaded with highly problematic assumptions. These weaknesses become centrally important in discussions (...) about whether selfdeception is a rational or irrational phenomenon. Both parties have tried to advance their views without clearly stating which normative theory of rationality they are committed to, and without explaining how this theory can be used to study or assess selfdeception. More thorough interdisciplinary work is required to overcome naive conceptions and onesided methodologies in the study of selfdeception. (shrink)
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