Presentation on theme: "Rational Decision Making As A Unifying Paradigm In Cognitive Science, or Why Animal Are Rationals, And Why It's No Big Deal Benoit Hardy-Vallée, EHESS,"— Presentation transcript:
Rational Decision Making As A Unifying Paradigm In Cognitive Science, or Why Animal Are Rationals, And Why It's No Big Deal Benoit Hardy-Vallée, EHESS, Paris (France) / Université du Québec à Montréal
The plan Question: How can we look for a greater unity in an interdisciplinary field like cognitive science? A popular answer: evolutionary psychology (EP) Problem: EP is a human centered-science Solution: extended decision-making, encompassing human and animals
Explanations in cognitive science “identifying mechanisms that produce observable phenomena“ (Thagard 2005) Marr (1982, see Pylyshyn 1984 also) proposed 3-levels of analysis: –a computational level describing the goal and the function or a mechanism –an algorithmic level describing the procedure –an implementational level describing the material substrate
Evolutionary psychology Tooby & Cosmides (1994 ) –adaptive problem : what is the fit of the process with its environment ? What is the ultimate evolutionary benefits of having this function ? –cognitive program: Which operations the cognitive system (or some subsystem) perfom ? –neural basis: What kind or neural activity realises this process ?
Theories and paradigms Explanations in science are produced by relying on accepted theories that take parts themselves in larger epistemic structures: Kuhnian paradigms or Lakatosian research programs.
On the road to the unity of science? –“Human minds, human behaviour, human artefacts, and human culture are all biological phenomena – aspects of the phenotypes of humans and their relationships with one another” (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992:20-21)
EP Research program Integration of psychology and biology Produce new hypothesis about different patterns of behaviour and thinking across cultures –inferences about physical and biological domains, numerical abilities, sexual behaviour, language acquisition, etc.) and neural circuitry explains best what others theories explained before –setting the mindreading ability in an evolutionary history (machiavellian hypothesis)
Research program (Lakatos) Hard core (protected from refutation) –EP: Adaptationism and modularity Protective belt (auxiliary, modifiable hypothesis) –EP: specific hypothesis about neural substrate and cognitive processing
A unifying research program for cognitive science ? 3 claims –EP can unify psychology research on autism) –EP can bring together social science and psychology EP analysis of religious phenomena –EP can bring together biology and psychology phylogenetic evolution of cognitive modules
Problems research conducted under the EP label dealt mostly with human issues –sometimes with primates, because of their close similarity (genetic and social) to us. “there remains [in EP] a distinct methodological flavour to human research, primarily because people talk” Daly and Wilson (1999: 514) –Researches are conducted with interview data –highly unreliable: imperfections of memory, lies, confabulations human-centered unity of science –Man at the center of the biological world
Why ? If psychology or cognitive science is to be a chapter of biology, it should not be a chapter of human biology, but a chapter of biology tout court If cognitive science is oriented toward a more biological stance, then it must encompass a more general explanatory target and produces generic models of cognitive agency
Solutions ? A cognitive science that would generate models of cognitive agency that could apply to human and non-human animals would be on the right track toward the unity of science. a progressive and powerful research program in cognitive science would, just as biology does, consider homo sapiens as one animal among many others. The conceptual clarity and logical coherence of science would benefit from such unification
A desirable paradigm A desirable paradigm would have the following characteristics: –applies to all three levels –does not presuppose that one of these levels is fundamental, or more important –encompass human and non-human cognitive agency –is grounded in cognitive science and biology –does not presuppose that one of these science fundamental, or more important
Philosophy Economics Biology INFORMATIQUE Market T. Game T. Decision T. Evolutionary Economics Behavioral ecology Agent-based computational economy Market-based multirobots coordination Artificial life Practical rationality