::: about
   ::: news
   ::: links
   ::: giving
   ::: contact

   ::: calendar
   ::: lunchtime
   ::: annual lecture series
   ::: conferences

   ::: visiting fellows
   ::: postdoc fellows
   ::: resident fellows
   ::: associates

   ::: visiting fellowships
   ::: postdoc fellowships
   ::: senior fellowships
   ::: resident fellowships
   ::: associateships

being here
   ::: visiting
   ::: the last donut
   ::: photo album

::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2010-11 >> abstracts

Friday, 17 September 2010
Why Fluent Explanations Feel Truth-y
J.D. Trout, Visiting Scholar (CPS)
Loyola University of Chicago, Department of Philosophy and Psychology
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning

::: donut

Abstract: Some professional philosophers of science, and I’d venture nearly all laypeople, suppose that good explanations have a psychological quality: they feel truth-y, and that feels good. While the coinage of truthiness awaited Stephen Colbert, the concept has a long pedigree in the study of explanation (some of which is documented in Trout (2002, 2007, and 2008).  I will present a contrarian account, one that does not treat the sense or phenomenology of explanatory understanding as a reliable indicator of good explanation. I account for the spell cast by this counterfeit cue by surveying the research highlights of the psychology of perceptual and cognitive fluency, and the neuroscience of liking and wanting. I close with a discussion of empirical evidence that suggests how we might break this spell, by using disfluency to provoke a deliberate, analytic problem-solving strategy.

Revised 10/25/10 - Copyright 2009