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Posts Tagged ‘cognitive psychology’

2nd IFL Graduate Student Conference: “Reasons and Deliberation in Real-World Contexts”

DATES: JUNE 17TH-18TH 2013

The Instituto de Filosofia da Linguagem (Institute for the Philosophy of Language) at FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa (New University of Lisbon) is proud to announce its second Graduate Student Conference, to be held on the 17th and 18th of June, 2013, as part of the “Argumentation, Communication, and Context” project.

Keynote speakers:

Dr. Hugo Mercier (CNRS Research Scientist, Laboratoire Langage, Cerveau et Cognition, Lyon, France)

and

Dr. Catherine Moury (Assistant Professor, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)

 

Following the title of the conference, we are inviting graduate students from a variety of disciplines to deliver a 30-minute presentation discussing their current research pertaining to reason-giving and deliberation. The aim is to discuss the application of theoretical observations to empirical, or real-world, scenarios and thus highlight the importance of context to the processes of reason-giving and deliberation. (more…)

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Though it isn’t exactly recent, this video of Dan Sperber describing his theory of mind and communication at Edge.orgis an excellent way to spend 12 minutes.  In addition to the

Are they “living” culture, making inferences, replicating memes, or sending & receiving code?

video, the page has an extended and lightly edited transcript of Sperber’s short talk that makes it very easy to see the differences between Sperber’s theory of mind and communication, that of Dawkins’, and what are, for some in argumentation theory, perhaps the more familiar semiological approaches.  The video will also be of interest to those working on these topics from philosophical starting points.
If often find myself wishing that there were more discussion about these issues in argumentation theory and informal logic than there often seems to be.  Perhaps Sperber’s work, including not just his talk here but last year’s release of Meaning and Relevance (an extension of the classic Relevance, also co-written with Deirdre Wilson), and the argument theory of reasoning he and Hugo Mercier have developed, will be just the stimulus we need to see our investigations afresh.

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Below are a few details about an intensive graduate course on reasoning to be held over one week at Lund University in Sweden.  Credits earned will be transferable, and there is a possibility that help with accommodations may be made available.

LUND UNIVERSITY
Reasoning
, 7,5 ECTS
Lecturer: Frank Zenker
Course dates: One week (Mo-Fr 10-12 and 14-16) in autumn 2012. Enter your date preferences now:
http://www.doodle.com/8r8b6vaxbaqnt7iq
If you would like to take this course please get in touch with the instructor now. E-mail & webpage

Course description
The study of reasoning—deductive, inductive, abductive, belief revision, defeasible, cross cultural, conversational, argumentative—is a major focus of investigation in both psychology and philosophy. Next to more traditional issues arising from the rationality debate, this includes a focus on fallacious reasoning and its reduction through education, the development of pragmatics, and the study of human reasoning process through neuro-imaging techniques.

Aim: The aim of this course is to enable learners to orient themselves in this research area (which may reasonably be called interdisciplinary) to the extent that they can actively participate in current empirical research and discourse on this matter.
We will work through select parts of a recently compiled selection of “classics” from a reader by Adler and Rips (2008). The three major themes are: 1. Foundations of Reasoning (Philosophical Viewpoints; Fallacies and Rationality), 2. Modes of Reasoning (Deductive Reasoning; Induction; Dual and Integrative Approaches; Abduction and Belief change; Causal and Counterfactual Reasoning; Argumentation); 3. Interactions of Reasoning in Human Thought (Reasoning and Pragmatics; domain-specific, Goal Based, and Evolutionary Approaches; Reasoning and Cultures; Biology, Emotions, and Reasoning).

Workload/Grading: Successful completion requires reading 20 to 30 pages per meeting, and the preparation and delivery of a max. 30 minute group presentation on one of the above subthemes (the presentation requires additional reading of ca. 60-90 pages). Learners are expected to focus on at least one of the above subthemes (see the table of content under the link below).
Grading occurs on the basis of presentation, an intermediate quiz, peer feedback, and a final paper (of 10-15 pages) due within 2 months after the end of the course.

Prerequisites: A background in mathematics or logic may be found helpful for some (but not all) subthemes. Learners with a background in the empirical sciences are especially welcome. A background in philosophy is not necessary to successfully conclude the course. Those interested in pursuing empirical work are assumed to have a background in empirical research methodology (which is not provided in this course). The course is open to students at Master’s level and up. The language of instruction is English.

Reference
Adler, J.E., and Rips, L.J. (2008). Reasoning. Studies of Human Inference and its Foundations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (will be made available).
http://www.amazon.com/Reasoning-Studies-Human-Inference-Foundations/dp/0521848156

For more information contact Frank Zenker, Department of Philosophy & Cognitive Science, Kungshuset, Lundagård, 222 22 Lund, Sweden, Tel. 0046.70.148 31 35, http://www.fil.lu.se/persons/person.asp?filpers=792.

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As anyone who has attended one of Erik Krabbe‘s talks knows, doodles, sketches, and cartoons are signs of great genius. I first had the pleasure of seeing his drawings in a CRRAR summer seminar a few years ago. I have to admit that being engaged by the various drawings he used there, and in the talks of his that I’ve had the good fortune to attend since then, has inspired me to re-incorporate that sort of visual element in my own classes. Being a former art major with a drawing background before converting to philosophy, I had used drawings as what I then thought of as a crutch when I first started teaching. I later abandoned the practice when I felt more secure in my role as a teacher. It turns out that I may have been terribly wrong to toss out such a powerful pedagogical tool. My drawings, it seems, were in no way a crutch. On the contrary, if Sunni Brown (the speaker in the video) is right, they are a pedagogical enhancement.  Not only are doodles often funny and engaging, she claims, but they enhance focus as well as other dimensions of critical thinking too.

While the pedagogical dimensions are interesting, equally if not more interesting is the claim that human beings may have an innate “sense” of visual literacy that develops in a regular and predictable way.  Those working on visual argumentation may find this part of the talk very salutary indeed.

All in all, it’s an interesting 6 minutes of video.  Enjoy.

Edit: Today this video popped up in my Twitter feed courtesy of @LilyLivingstone. It perfectly illustrates the pedagogical power of the doodle in mathematics. Good stuff!

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Scientific American: Winning Argument: As a ‘New’ Critique of Reason, Argumentative Theory Is Trite but Useful.

In recent posts here on RAIL I’ve been upfront about my tendency to like Mercier and Sperber’s work. Critical discussion of it, however, is still valuable and this short article in Scientific American by John Horgan is an accessible, if somewhat ambivalent gesture in that direction.

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Apollo and the Muses by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1533

The world of those who study argument and who study reason and rationality is abuzz with talk of the provocative research of Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber. Anyone who was at last week’s OSSA conference heard their names in practically every other conversation or presentation. For my own part I’m not sure quite what to make of their work.  On the one hand it’s exciting to see argument and reason brought together in empirical research, and I’m well on record as being very friendly to the notion that argument has a very deeply rooted functionality for human beings at both the collective and individual levels. On the other hand, I’m not sure that there aren’t grave problems lurking within. For one, Mercier and Sperber seem at times to work from the assumption that ‘argument’ means ‘deductive argument’ and if this is so, I’m not at all sure that it is wise.  The body of work on analogy alone would give me pause regarding the prospects of such a view, to say nothing of the work of the informal logic movement in the last 30 years.  There are other things that trouble me, but as I’m still doing research in this general idea I’ll try to save myself what might turn out to be a super-sized helping of crow and leave the reader to their own devices where Messrs. Mercier and Sperber are concerned.

At any rate there’s no denying it’s relevance to the world of argumentation theory.  In that vein this video interview with Hugo Mercier is one that I expect will be of interest to many.  The interview is located at the web journal* Edge, itself worth a look to those with an interest in interdisciplinary intellectual discourse.

*(All apologies to those of you who thought that by ‘Edge’ I was referring to an Irish fellow–though I confess I probably would have watched that interview with interest too.)

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