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RELATIONS BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE
FOR EXAMPLE: RATIONALITY
THOMAS STURM
HPS@BCN
Barcelona
History & Philosophy of S...
§ Disciplinary differentiation
§ Autonomy of philosophy/separation from science (after Kant)
§ Distinctive philosophical (...
Naturalism
§ Began in epistemology, spread into other areas of philosophy
(ethics, metaphysics, semantics, phil of science...
Apriori Objections to Naturalism
■ Is-Ought fallacy (“Hume’s law”)
■ Circularity
■ Triviality
■ …
Such debates tend to far...
Rationality between Philosophy and Psychology:
Structure
1. The Heuristics and Biases Program in Psychology
2. Naturalism ...
1.
Psychology of Rationality I:
Heuristics and Biases (HB)
■ Are human judgments and decisions rational?
■ Instead of standard rules (logic, probability, rational choice),
people us...
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She
majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerne...
Assume two players, Mr Spock and Commander Kirk. Spock is given
100 Federation credits, but on the condition that he must ...
■ Violation of logical rules (Wason selection task)
■ Base rate fallacy (Harvard medical school problem…)
■ Overconfidence...
“… bleak implications for human rationality” (Nisbett & Borgida,
1975)
“… irrationality rather than rationality is the nor...
The Practical Significance of the Irrationality
Message
Irrationality leads to:
“…wars, economic busts,
technological acci...
2.
Naturalism about Rationality and HB:
A First Response
A Naturalistic Absorption of HB
Stich (1985):
ü Empirical Methods & Results of HB
ü Irrationality message
ü Rejects philos...
1. Constitutivity: What is rationality?
2. Normativity: How to justify norms of rationality?
3. Kantian Critique: What are...
Ontological Naturalism (ON): Reality consists only of natural objects,
their properties and relations – there are no unexp...
ON-Rationality:
■ HB program cannot help: It presupposes rather than discovers a
certain normative (sc. formal, maximizing...
3.
Objections (by Psychologists) to
Heuristics and Biases
1. Are there no experimental artifacts?
2. Can people overcome “cognitive illusions”?
3. Are the norms used uncontroversia...
In the “Linda problem”, Kahneman & Tversky assume:
1. the terms ‘probable’ and ‘and’ are all that counts; & that ‘and’ is
...
Can People Overcome “Cognitive Illusions”?
Why “cognitive illusions?
Sturm 2014
Frequentist formulation of the task:
(Same description of Linda as before.)
There are 100 people who fit the description a...
■ Linda Problem: Assumption of relevance of description of Linda
(Grice’s “maxim of relevance” of ordinary conversation)
■...
4.
Naturalism and the Rationality Debate:
A Second Response
Peacemakers
Samuels, Stich & Bishop (2002):
§ “Rationality Wars” between HB
and evolutionary psychology
§ The dispute can ...
The Naturalistic Dissolution
E.g.
One core claim of HB
People’s intuitive judgments on many problems involving probability...
ON-Rationality: Rationality is a natural faculty, with natural properties
and relations. There are no unexplainable non- o...
Bounded Rationality (BR)
Price for failures of HB-program according to Gigerenzer et al.:
Rationality is not valid indepen...
Fast and Frugal Heuristics (FFH)
Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 2011
5.
Summary
1. The debate is likely to continue. No convergence in sight.
2. Naturalistic hopes to answer questions about the constitu...
Black, 1986
Reflect Your Intuitions: Ambiguities of rationality
Thanks.
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81st ICREA Colloquium "Two Perspectives on the Relation between Philosophy and Science" by Thomas Sturm

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Sturm and Casal present two different ways in which philosophy relates to science.
Sturm begins by sketching “philosophical naturalism”, a view that tries to answer philosophical questions employing methods and data from the empirical sciences. He then analyses the ongoing debate between the “heuristics and biases” approach and the “bounded rationality” program in order to assess the potential of naturalizing rationality, and its limits.

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81st ICREA Colloquium "Two Perspectives on the Relation between Philosophy and Science" by Thomas Sturm

  1. 1. RELATIONS BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE FOR EXAMPLE: RATIONALITY THOMAS STURM HPS@BCN Barcelona History & Philosophy of Science Research Group R A T I O N A T U R A L Naturalism and the Sciences of Rationality Project FFI2016-79923-P HPS@BCN Barcelona History & Philosophy of Science Research Group R A T I O N A T U R A L Naturalism and the Sciences of Rationality Project FFI2016-79923-P
  2. 2. § Disciplinary differentiation § Autonomy of philosophy/separation from science (after Kant) § Distinctive philosophical („a priori“) methods § Distinctive philosophical tasks/problems § Yet, philosophers often use science/collaborate with scientists § E.g. phil of mind & neurosciences; ethics & economics… Intro: Philosophy and the Sciences Krüger 1986; Friedman 1996
  3. 3. Naturalism § Began in epistemology, spread into other areas of philosophy (ethics, metaphysics, semantics, phil of science…) Ontological Naturalism: Reality consists only of natural objects, their properties and relations – there are no unexplainable non- or supernatural entities or powers. Methodological Naturalism: Philosophical questions can/should be answered by relying on the methods and results of the sciences. Quine 1969; Harman 1977; Goldman 1986; Kornblith 2002; Ladyman 2007; De Caro & MacArthur 2004, 2010 Intro: Philosophy and the Sciences
  4. 4. Apriori Objections to Naturalism ■ Is-Ought fallacy (“Hume’s law”) ■ Circularity ■ Triviality ■ … Such debates tend to far away from the sciences. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. What are the potentials, result, and limits of actual naturalistic uses of science? Intro: Philosophy and the Sciences
  5. 5. Rationality between Philosophy and Psychology: Structure 1. The Heuristics and Biases Program in Psychology 2. Naturalism about Rationality and HB: A 1st Response 3. Objections by Psychologists to Heuristics and Biases 4. Naturalism and the Rationality Debate: A 2nd Response 5. Summary
  6. 6. 1. Psychology of Rationality I: Heuristics and Biases (HB)
  7. 7. ■ Are human judgments and decisions rational? ■ Instead of standard rules (logic, probability, rational choice), people use heuristics (availability, representativeness, anchoring & adjustment…) – leading to biases & fallacies. Tversky & Kahneman 1974; Kahneman, Slovic & Tversky 1982; Gilovich, Griffin & Kahneman 2002 Heuristics and Biases (HB): Core Question & Main Hypothesis
  8. 8. Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations. Which statement is more probable? (T) Linda is a bank teller. (T&F) Linda is a bank teller and active in the feminist movement. Norm: Conjunction rule - Prob (A) ³ Prob (A & B) Results: About 85% of 142 subjects chose T&F and thus violated the conjunction rule. Explanation: Representativeness heuristic Kahneman & Tversky 1983 Reasoning about Conjunctions
  9. 9. Assume two players, Mr Spock and Commander Kirk. Spock is given 100 Federation credits, but on the condition that he must somehow split the sum with Kirk, with no option to communicate about this. Kirk can accept or reject the offer. If Kirk rejects it, neither Spock nor Kirk receive any money. What sum should Spock offer? Norm: Maximize your own expected utility (Homo oeconomicus) Results: Subjects often reject certain offers of such free money, e.g. when the sum offered is below 30%. That violates the norm. Explanation: E.g. desire to punish unfairness, reciprocal altruism Güth, Schmittberger & Schwarze 1982 Ultimatum Game
  10. 10. ■ Violation of logical rules (Wason selection task) ■ Base rate fallacy (Harvard medical school problem…) ■ Overconfidence bias ■ Hindsight bias ■ Law of small numbers ■ Gambler’s fallacy ■ … Wason 1966; Tversky & Kahneman 1974; Nisbett & Ross 1980; Kahneman, Slovic & Tversky 1982; Gilovich, Griffin & Kahneman 2002 More biases & fallacies
  11. 11. “… bleak implications for human rationality” (Nisbett & Borgida, 1975) “… irrationality rather than rationality is the norm.” (Wason, 1983) “One might draw rather cynical conclusions ... Human reasoning is fundamentally flawed” (Reisberg, 1997) Bad news = good news: The irrationality message
  12. 12. The Practical Significance of the Irrationality Message Irrationality leads to: “…wars, economic busts, technological accidents, pyramid sales schemes, telemarketing fraud, religious fanaticism, psychic scams, environmental degradation, broken marriages, and savings and loan scandals”.
  13. 13. 2. Naturalism about Rationality and HB: A First Response
  14. 14. A Naturalistic Absorption of HB Stich (1985): ü Empirical Methods & Results of HB ü Irrationality message ü Rejects philosophical attempts to undermine the data and the message: (i) Cohen’s defense of impossibility of experimental proofs of fundamental irrationality; (ii) Dennett’s arguments from intentionality ü Reasoning ability isn’t distributed equally; for education etc., we can learn from psychology
  15. 15. 1. Constitutivity: What is rationality? 2. Normativity: How to justify norms of rationality? 3. Kantian Critique: What are the limits of rationality? 4. Philosophical Anthropology: Are humans the only rational animals? … ■ How far can such projects be pursued naturalistically? Philosophical Questions about Rationality
  16. 16. Ontological Naturalism (ON): Reality consists only of natural objects, their properties and relations – there are no unexplainable non- or supernatural entities or powers. Methodological Naturalism (MN): Philosophical questions can/should be answered by relying on the methods and results of the sciences. ON-Rationality: Rationality is a natural faculty, with natural properties and relations. There are no unexplainable non- or supernatural aspects of rationality. MN-Rationality: Questions concerning rationality can/should be answered by relying on the methods and results of the sciences. Rationality as the Naturalist Studies It
  17. 17. ON-Rationality: ■ HB program cannot help: It presupposes rather than discovers a certain normative (sc. formal, maximizing) model of rationality. ■ Useless for ON-Rationality ■ Evolutionary psychology of reasoning? MN-Rationality: ■ Which philosophical questions? ■ Stich follows the question: Are human beings rational? That’s another topic. ■ Not clear how to connect to e.g. questions about the constitution or about norms of rationality. Missing One’s Own Goals
  18. 18. 3. Objections (by Psychologists) to Heuristics and Biases
  19. 19. 1. Are there no experimental artifacts? 2. Can people overcome “cognitive illusions”? 3. Are the norms used uncontroversial? Cohen 1981; Gigerenzer 1991, 1996; Lopes 1991, 1992; Cosmides & Tooby 1996 Objections to HB
  20. 20. In the “Linda problem”, Kahneman & Tversky assume: 1. the terms ‘probable’ and ‘and’ are all that counts; & that ‘and’ is understood as the logical ‘&’, and ‘probable’ conforms to mathematical probability theory. ■ But ‘probable’ may mean other things too! 2. Forced alternative: Subjects must pick either “T” or “T&F” ■ Many people (20 to 50%) seem to infer that, for instance, “T” means to exclude “F” (i.e., T = T&¬F). Gigerenzer 1996; Sturm 2012 Are There No Experimental Artifacts?
  21. 21. Can People Overcome “Cognitive Illusions”? Why “cognitive illusions? Sturm 2014
  22. 22. Frequentist formulation of the task: (Same description of Linda as before.) There are 100 people who fit the description above. How many of them are (a) bank tellers, (b) bank tellers and active feminists? Result: The conjunction fallacy dropped from about 85% to 20% and even less • Similar (and other) tools for e.g. base rate mistakes, overconfidence bias… Fiedler 1988; Hertwig & Gigerenzer 1999 Can People Overcome “Cognitive Illusions”? The Linda Problem Reconsidered
  23. 23. ■ Linda Problem: Assumption of relevance of description of Linda (Grice’s “maxim of relevance” of ordinary conversation) ■ Ultimatum Game: Egoistic utility maximization in single-shot games; prudential reasoning in repeated games; or moral rationality? … Ø Tendency to question the Irrationality message Ø Alternative rational interpretations of subjects’ responses Ø Open questions about what rationality is & what its norms are Grice 1975; Hertwig & Gigerenzer 1999 Are the Norms Used Uncontroversial?
  24. 24. 4. Naturalism and the Rationality Debate: A Second Response
  25. 25. Peacemakers Samuels, Stich & Bishop (2002): § “Rationality Wars” between HB and evolutionary psychology § The dispute can be dissolved § Analysis of “core claims“ vs. “rhetorical flourishings”
  26. 26. The Naturalistic Dissolution E.g. One core claim of HB People’s intuitive judgments on many problems involving probability regularly deviate from norms of rationality. One rhetorical excess of HB The only cognitive tools that are available to untutored people when dealing with problems involving probability are normatively problematic heuristics. One core claim of Evolutionary Psychology There are many reasoning problems involving probability on which people’s intuitive judgments do not deviate from norms of rationality. One rhetorical excess of Evolutionary Psychology Our probabilistic reasoning is subserved by “elegant machines” designed by natural selection and, therefore, any concerns about systematic irrationality are unfounded.
  27. 27. ON-Rationality: Rationality is a natural faculty, with natural properties and relations. There are no unexplainable non- or supernatural aspects of rationality. ■ Samuels, Stich & Bishop still focus on the question: Are human beings rational? How far? ■ What rationality is remains unaddressed MN-Rationality: Questions concerning rationality can/should be answered by relying on the methods and results of the sciences. ■ Still unclear e.g. what the justification of norms of reasoning is. ■ No discussion of “bounded rationality” Missing One’s Own Goals
  28. 28. Bounded Rationality (BR) Price for failures of HB-program according to Gigerenzer et al.: Rationality is not valid independently of empirical facts about human reasoning: it is „bounded“ by contents and contexts of reasoning tasks. Gigerenzer et al. 1999; Gigerenzer & Sturm, 2012
  29. 29. Fast and Frugal Heuristics (FFH) Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 2011
  30. 30. 5. Summary
  31. 31. 1. The debate is likely to continue. No convergence in sight. 2. Naturalistic hopes to answer questions about the constitution or normativity of rationality by empirical methods are (at least) premature. 3. Perhaps ‘(ir-)rationality’ isn’t a homogeneous concept. 4. The concept, and the ones connected to it (‘illusion’, ’bias’…) must be reflected alongside ongoing psychological research. 5. So must be the norms of good reasoning. 6. No philosophical naturalism that ignores normative and conceptual presuppositions of psychological research can be taken seriously. 7. Collaboration between philosophy and psychology is instructive. Consequences for the Philosophy-Science Relation
  32. 32. Black, 1986 Reflect Your Intuitions: Ambiguities of rationality
  33. 33. Thanks.

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