Operationalizing Epistemic Concepts 2012 (Aachen)
DFG Priority Program New Frameworks of Rationality
Operationalizing Epistemic Concepts
Aachen, 10-13 September 2012
This workshop is devoted to the topic of operationalizing epistemic concepts, such as explanation, confirmation and causation, and to bringing together philosophers and experimental psychologists who are interested in human rationality and human reasoning. We investigate the methodology of operationalizing epistemic concepts both from a theoretical and an empirical point of view. How should we work out predictions that are precise enough to be put to empirical test? Which experimental paradigms should be adopted in research on human reasoning? How can we connect philosophical theorizing about epistemic concepts to the long-lasting empirical tradition in psychology?
Tuesday 11 September
DAVID LAGNADO (UCL)
Causal models are fundamental to our ability to predict, control and explain the physical and social world. How do people learn and reason about causality? Recent research in causal cognition draws heavily on philosophical theories of causation, but can also help shape these theories. I will look at the role of causal models in learning, inference and attribution, and evaluate various formal models of causality. In particular, I will critically discuss the prospects for a unified framework based on causal Bayesian networks.
HENRIK SINGMANN (Freiburg)
IGOR DOUVEN (Groningen)
Conditionals seem to call for an epistemology of their own. For instance, questions regarding the acceptability or assertability of conditionals, or about updating on conditionals, are not adequately answered by any of the standard accounts of acceptability, assertability, and updating to be found in the epistemological literature. We shall look at recent formal and empirical work addressing these questions and argue that much progress is to be expected from taking a combined formal and empirical approach to the epistemology of conditionals. It will further be argued that this project is best pursued as a collaborative one that involves both formal epistemologists and experimental psychologists.
Wednesday 12 September
VINCENZO CRUPI (Turin / LMU)
The talk will report on a series of recent experimental investigations on how people assess inductive confirmation, or evidential support. Main results will be summarized, but special attention will be given to how the experiments have been set up, including the problems arisen and the solutions devised concerning content, design, stimuli and methods of elicitation.
HENRIK SINGMANN (Freiburg)
BJÖRN MEDER (MPI Berlin)
A number of formal models quantifying the value of information (e.g., information gain, probability gain, utility gain) exist. The focus of the talk will be on how to use computer simulations to identify environments in which competing models make diverging predictions, and how then to use these environments to empirically study human search behavior. The role of people's goals in information search tasks, the link between alternative ways of conveying probabilistic information and people's search-and-decision processes, and the resulting theoretical and practical implications for the empirical study of epistemic concepts are discussed.
JONATHAN NELSON (MPI Berlin)
What would it mean to be optimal in choosing a query to make or an experiment to conduct? Can philosophical issues be clarified by empirical analysis or by computer simulation? This talk discusses specific cases in which the empirical study of human information acquisition has spurred relevant mathematical analyses. The focus will be on the feature difference heuristic and on the split-half heuristic. Each of these heuristic strategies is mathematically optimal for choosing queries in important contexts. Strategies for doing informative experiments with human subjects, informative simulation studies, and mathematical analyses will be discussed.