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Epistemic norms in procedural and analytic metacognition Joëlle Proust Institut Jean-Nicod Paris Theory.

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Presentation on theme: "Epistemic norms in procedural and analytic metacognition Joëlle Proust Institut Jean-Nicod Paris Theory."— Presentation transcript:

1 Epistemic norms in procedural and analytic metacognition Joëlle Proust Institut Jean-Nicod Paris Theory of Mind, Simulation and Meta-Cognition Laureate's Colloquium with Josef Perner

2 Outline 1.On Perner’s 3 criteria for « minimeta » 2.2 pernicious problems inherent to potential evidence for non-human « metacognition » (Perner, 2012) 3. Addressing problem 1: knowing-that versus expressing 4. Addressing problem 2: subjective uncertainty vs world property 5. Metacognitive norms in procedural and analytic metacognition.

3 1 On Perner’s 3 criteria for « minimeta »

4 Josef Perner’s (2012) conception of metacognition In analogy to metarepresentation as understood in Perner (1991), metacognition is defined as cognition about cognitions as cognitions, which implies some understanding of what makes cognitions what they are, namely their representational content. (FM, 96)

5 Cognitive levels (Perner, 2012)

6 Scope of metacognition ? Genuine metacognition: cognition about cognition as cognition ? Miniméta (or special cognition): Cognition about cognition without recursion: intentional content not involved.

7 3 criteria for MiniMeta 1.Necessity: is the component cognition that makes behaviour intuitively ‘meta-’ necessary for the behaviour to occur? 2.Directionality: “MiniMetacognition is cognition that goes beyond ordinary object-level cognition in the direction of recursive metacognition”. Implicit admission of ignorance OK. 3.Exclusivity: MiniMetacognition should only be needed for behaviour that is intuitively metacognitive.

8 Necessity: a shared methodological constraint a process needs to help an organism ameliorate its first-order performance to qualify as metacognitive

9 Robert Hampton (2009): Objective markers for metacognitive behavior: 1.There must be a primary behavior that can be scored for its accuracy. 2.Variation in performance (i.e. uncertainty about outcome) must be present. 3.A secondary behavior, whose goal is to regulate the primary behavior, must be elicited in the animal. 4.This secondary behavior must be shown to benefit performance in the primary task (for example, animals must decline tests that they would otherwise have failed).

10 Directionality The notion of “directionality” is a metaphor for what goes beyond first-level cognition. The term may be misleading, as it suggests that metacognition should more or less anticipate second-level cognition, where anticipation of ignorance, understood as an ability to metarepresent that one does not know.

11 Directionality « Directionality » might be re-stated in neutral terms: – using information that is not directly presented in the perceptual content of a first-order task – In order to monitor and control a cognitive action (i.e., aiming to acquire an epistemic property)

12 Exclusivity MiniMetacognition should only be needed for behaviour that is intuitively metacognitive

13 Exclusivity This condition is a requirement for any functionalist analysis of the mental. If metacognition is a natural kind, then it should have its own – inputs, triggering conditions, needs, – informational use, – Causal mechanisms – Downstream decisions.

14 Exclusivity Proust (2007) criticized for failing the exclusivity condition. Rejoinder: Proust’s (2007) claim is that: – the types of control of physical and mental agency have analogous structural descriptions (comparator, feedback, anticipation). – but they deeply differ in the information being used, in their phylogenetic distribution, their specific mechanisms

15 References « Let us start with a non metacognitive case such as evaluating a possible bodily action. » (Proust, 2007, Section III, 1) For a discussion of the differences between metacognition and meta-action, see also: Proust (2008), (2009), (in print) For the differences in downstream decisions, see Proust (2012a, 2012b).

16 Symmary of the discussion about the 3 criteria for MM Wide agreement on conditions 1 and 3, i.e. necessity and exclusivity. « Directionality » is an acceptable constraint once re-stated in neutral terms.

17 2 « A pair of pernicious problems plagues potential evidence for non-human « metacognition » (Perner, 2012)

18 « A pair of pernicious problems » Difficulty of experimentally prying apart: 1.Being in a state S (of knowing, believing), etc. from Knowing that one is in a state S. E.g: being uncertain vs knowing that one is uncertain. 2.Representing a state of the world, from representing an inner state caused by a state of the world. E.g.: finding a task difficult/judging oneself as finding a task difficult

19 Example of problem 1: Call & Carpenter (2001) In the knowledge condition, chimpanzees, who know where the bait is, go for it and do not look around. In the partial ignorance condition, chimps are looking into the tubes. It is no evidence of metacognition: these behaviours can be governed by the degree of the chimpanzee’s knowledge/ignorance without any recursive cognitions about his degree of knowledge.

20 Example of problem 2: Opt out paradigm Smith et al. (1997, 2006) The decision to skip can be based Either: on realizing that this is a difficult problem (a cognition about an external state of the world) Or: on realizing that I am uncertain (a clear metacognition). Perner, (2012)

21 3 Addressing Problem 1 : why should the control of one’s cognition be based on a know- that to count as metacognitive?

22 Being uncertain vs knowing that one is uncertain First argument against the « know that » constraint: In many cognitive domains, « feeling » is a recognized independent source of information, that can reliably influence rational decision. Having a feeling about conducting some activity does not require knowing that one has it. Feelings can directly orient subjects’ decisions to act …/

23 Being uncertain vs knowing that one is uncertain « Knowing that » involves a propositional content. Feeling certain/uncertain does not need to involve a propositional content to be « about » a state of mind (more on this later) Feelings can be ingredients in know-hows and heuristics. They causally influence decisions based on one’s experienced degree of certainty/uncertainty

24 Accumulation of evidence as the information on which noetic feelings depend Between behaviour and propositional thought, an additional type of information is based on dynamic features in the neural vehicle: In perceptual or memorial uncertainty: – Onset of neural activity – Neural coherence in the responses – Dynamics of convergence to a decision.

25 Knowing-That / Expressing Second argument against the « know that » constraint: Work in formal semantics shows that a metarepresentational view of probabilities applied to our credal states does not work. Yalcin (2011), Leitgeb (2012),

26 Seth Yalcin (2007, 2011): credal expressivism Epistemic modals « When expressing one’s state of belief by saying ‘It might be raining’, one is not expressing a proposition one believes. Rather, one is expressing the openness of one’s state of belief – a property of the state of belief ». The language of probability « Probability sentences semantically express conditions on states of information which are not reducible to conditions on possible worlds (ways the world might be, or truth-conditions in the usual sense).

27 Indicative conditionals (e.g. « If Oswald did not kill Kennedy, someone else did ») Suppositionalists about indicative conditionals are claiming that “indicative conditionals express an agent’s state of mind without saying that the agent’s state of mind is so-and-so.” Accordingly, one might expect an explication of ‘metacognitive’’ to at least leave open that metacognitive states and processes are about an agent’s internal states or processes in the sense of expressing these states or processes, in the same sense in which ‘Yippie!’ expresses a positive emotional state, without stating that the state is so-and-so Leitgeb (2012), 264

28 Expressivism: a new sense of ‘aboutness’ While states of mind may be reported, or attributively accessed through doxastic (e.g. introspective or interpretive) means, they can also be made accessible in an immediate, non doxastic way. (Gibbard, 1990, Bar-On 2004). Expressing one's thought in this direct way can be done even by subjects unable to represent the fact that they have mental states, such as non-humans and human young children.

29 Being in a state/Knowing one is in a state/ Expressing a state A third term: expressing one’s being in a state by having the corresponding noetic feeling. This feeling allows monitoring one’s state and controlling it without having a conceptual representation of that state.

30 4 Addressing Problem 2

31 “Being uncertain is, like being hot, an inner state. It is, unlike being hot, also a cognitive state—but it is not a metacognitive state (..)So why would learning to skip difficult test items be evidence for metacognition?” (Perner, 2012, 100)

32 Representing a state of the world or an inner state caused by a state of the world? Uncertainty is the property of a belief, that agents express through noetic feelings. A major functional difference between representing that P, and being uncertain whether P: – Representing that P (in its simpler form) is sensitive to world variance, but insensitive to the agent ’s own success in the task – being U that P is sensitive to the latter, even when no trial-by-trial reward is currently provided.

33 The case of « difficult » « Difficult » in the epistemic sense is only applied reliably when the subject has been trained in a cognitive task. School children start being overconfident in their memory/perception, and progressively learn how to distinguish « easy guess » from « accurate answer ». So do monkeys.

34 Ease of processing can be seen as an epistemic standard or norm, that agents use early on (e.g. feeling of familiarity). Oppenheimer (2008), Brinck & Lilienfors (2012) On this view, it is the evolutionary and developmental basis for all the forms of metacognition.

35 . 5 Metacognition as a procedural and as an analytic capacity and its norms

36 What are epistemic norms? The normative feature of epistemic norms derives from the structure of action being polarized (success vs failure) A given norm is what regulates self-evaluation, i.e. action monitoring, in a task-specific way. Norms can be epistemic, moral, rational, social, (aesthetic?) Epistemic norms are those that regulate self- evaluation in cognitive actions.

37 Why should metacognition involve norms? Granting that metacognition has as its function to allow an agent to make correct decisions, metacognitive decisions implicitly express sensitivity to various epistemic norms, such as validity in perception, accuracy or exhaustiveness in memory, coherence and informativeness in conversation.

38 Epistemic norms Fluency or Intelligibility (perceptual judgment, epistemic vigilance) Accuracy (memory, reasoning) Comprehensiveness or exhaustiveness (memory, reasoning) Coherence (fiction, demonstrative reasoning) Consensus (negotiation) Relevance (conversation) Plausibility …/

39 An evolutionary hypothesis Metacognition has evolved from a procedural type of cognitive control where sensitivity to fluency is driving perceptual and memorial decisions To an analytic type of cognitive control, where sensitivity to fluency can be overruled by externalized standards.

40 The paradox of fluency as an epistemic norm Josef Perner’s doubts about procedural metacognition reflect the paradox of what constitutes the basis of our critical minds. Sensitivity to fluency is based on an activity – dependent information: the dynamic features of the neural vehicle underlying a given task, rather than on the basis of the associated cognitive contents.

41 Nonconceptual representations of FBS carry information through dynamic properties Comparative fluency is the property, for a stimulus, to be processed more or less quickly and adequately, with respect to what is expected, in a kind of task. This property is a gradient on a normative scale: it works as an indicator for what successful processing should be like, for a task in a context.

42 Objection: why should fluency count as an epistemic norm? Fluency qualifies as an epistemic norm Because agents sensitive to it can reliably assess their perceptual and memorial decisions for correctness (“knowledge-conducive”) Because sensitivity to it can be adaptively trained to responding to new thresholds/ conditions. Cues for Fluency, however, are often misapplied in cases where ease of processing cannot be profitably used to predict correct answer.

43 Fluency in children’s early metacognitiion Klow and Rohwer (2012), and Beck et al. (2012) found that children have more difficulty when they can represent or imagine an answer (partial ignorance or epistemic uncertainty conditions) rather than when no image comes to their minds (full ignorance or physical uncertainty conditions).

44 Fluency central in children’s early metacognition? 2 interpretations: 1.Being able to imagine a possible outcome might impair children’s ability to make [analytic] metacognitive evaluations. 2.Being able to image a possible outcome might allow children to make an [experience-based] metacognitive evaluation, based on the fluency of their quickly coming up with a possible answer.

45 Fluency in children’s early metacognitiion “That is, when young children are asked a metacognitive knowledge question like ‘Do you know what is in the box?’, they just check whether they can easily think of some plausible object name and if so they have a sense of knowing and answer affirmatively (‘Yes, I know’) to the knowledge question.” Kloo and Rohwer, 2012, 171

46 Can MM be overruled by AM? Noetic feelings can be overruled by additional evidence, contrary feedback from others, repeated failures in the task, etc. However: they cannot be suppressed (automatic, inflexible) As a consequence of their representational format, they are not open to: – Inference – revision

47 Conclusion A two-system view of metacognition?

48 A contrast between norms. Fluency is a norm that is inherent to processing, and that gives rise to specific feelings (familiarity, confidence in perception or in memory) Other norms, such as truth or plausibility, are inherent the cognitive content to be accepted.  Contrast between two forms of metacognitive norms: experience-based and analytic.

49 The 2-system view revised Granting that System 1 generates nonconceptual contents in a featural format, the contrast with System 2 is one between two ways of forming and using representations.

50 System 1 System 2 Vehicle-based Inflexible Economical Nonconceptual Gradient structure Modular Non inferential  Content-based  Flexible  Costly  Conceptual  Componential structure  Non-modular  Inferential

51 Inflexibility Inflexibility has nothing to do with the fact that feelings are « generated by subpersonal processes ». All our flexible thoughts are also generated subpersonally. System1 inflexibility derives, rather, from the nonconceptual format of representation that is used to drive decision.

52 What kind of binding is there between S1 and S2? The binding between the two systems is the same as that studied in the philosophy of perception between nonconceptual protopropositional content, and propositional content.

53 What kind of binding is there between S1 and S2? The nonconceptual content of perception is inserted within a propositional format including terms for concepts and objects. Analogously, children's NFs are redescribed in conceptual terms.

54 What kind of binding is there between S1 and S2? When a System 2 is present, agents have access to propositional representations of their cognitive goals, and can assess their cognitive resources under new types of norms. Although this assessment may take marginal advantage of NFs (e.g.: intelligibility), it is not mainly based on cognitive emotions.

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56 Analytic norms


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