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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2019-20 >> abstracts>>January

January 2020 Lunchtime Abstracts & Details

Relevance and its Problems
Nicholas Rescher, U. Pittsburgh, Philosophy
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
12:05 pm, 1117 Cathedral of Learning

Abstract: Relevance to significant questions is one of the main evaluative factors with respect to scientific findings, along with originality and reproducibility. The talk will elucidate some aspects of how this conception actually works.

Abductive Epistemic Engineering
Christian Feldbacher-Escamilla, Center Visiting Fellow
U. Duesseldorf Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science (DCLPS)
Friday, January 17, 2020
12:05 pm, 1117 Cathedral of Learning

Abstract: We investigate virtues of creative abductive concept formation (cf. Schurz 2008) and their application in epistemic engineering (cf. Brun 2017, Cappelen 2018). It will be shown that abductive virtues allow for an explication of traditional conditions put forward in epistemic engineering. Such traditional conditions are, e.g., the similarity, exactness, fruitfulness, and simplicity requirement. According to these requirements, the notion which is explicated needs to be similar to the notion resulting from an explication, the latter needs to be more exact than the former, it needs to allow for interesting generalisations, and, if possible, it should be elegantly embedded into an established theoretical framework (cf. Carnap 1950/1962, par.2f). As we will argue, the relation between creative common cause abduction and exactness as well as simplicity of explications is quite clear: Common cause abductions can be characterised in detail in the very general framework of Bayesian networks (cf. Feldbacher-Escamilla and Gebharter 2018). Fruitfulness can be explicated in terms of unificatory power. The most challenging problem to be tackled in the talk will be that of relating creative common cause abductions to the similarity requirement for explications.

Cheating, Deceiving, and Corruption. Reshaping the Empirical Data
Paola Hernández-Chávez, Center Visiting Fellow
U. Juárez del Estado de Durango, Cognitive Sci. Research Ctr.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
12:05 pm, 1117 Cathedral of Learning

Abstract: Characterizations of corruption convolute in conceptualizing it as a violation of a social norm in order to obtain a particular benefit, as in political corruption, defined as the use of public power to obtain a private/personal benefit (Morris, 1991). This suggestively relates to the classic discourse on cheating detection, according to which human beings are capable of detecting cheaters because possessing that competence played a crucial role in the evolution of our species (Cosmides & Tooby 1992, Ermer et al. 2006). More recent literature on cheating detection describes it as the occurrence of a subject breaking a social rule and or receiving a benefit without paying the cost of it (Spence 2004, Ermer et al. 2006, Grèzes et al. 2004, Ganis et al. 2009, Litoiu 2015). From now on, it is essential to clarify that the benefit should be understood in a broader sense, i.e., as receiving any compensation, or atonement, in terms of resources, dividends, social recognition, advantages, etc. Another flip of the discussion is deceiving behaviors. In cognitive sciences, a classic definition of deception was offered by Zuckerman et al. (1981, p. 3). According to them, deceiving is “a deliberate act that is intended to foster in another person a belief or understanding which the deceiver considers false.” Henceforth, deception is generally defined as a generalized social behavior that takes place when someone attempts to persuade others to accept as truthful information that the deceiver knows is false with the purpose of obtaining a benefit or avoiding a punishment (Ganis et al., 2009, Grèzes et al., 2004). More often than not, persuading others implies breaking a rule or a social contract (Grèzes et al., 2004, Ermer et al., 2006).

Thereupon, we have the essential ingredients of the conventional formulation I will be using. Corruption lies in the inability to detect that there is a cheating/deceiving situation, as well as it rests on an explicit violation of a social norm. A very minimal definition of corruption can be portrayed as a situation where an agent or a group of agents obtain a personal benefit (in terms of attaining an asset, remuneration, expiation, or overcompensation), in addition to a conspicuous recognition that a cheating, a deception, or a transgression of a social rule taking place.
This work starts explaining why there is not yet an encompassing account of the phenomenon of corruption. The purpose is to redress that trend elaborating on the subtle emotional components involved in detecting cheating and deceiving behaviors. I will stress out how the level of emotional commitment boosters or detaches the corruption detection since it also boosters or detaches cheating detection.

Section 1 presents the state of the art on cheating and deceiving literature. Additionally, some distinctions are elaborated to differentiate between producing and identifying cheating and deception. Section 2 spells out the central hypothesis, i.e., that identifying deception changes dramatically depending on the level of emotional proximity to the case. For example, when there is a detriment to the first person, the cheating/deception situation will be easier to identify. This contrasts with cases where there is a detriment to an impersonal subject, as an institution, or to a third person. A significant difference will be noticed when the situation entails a benefit to the first person. To test my hypothesis, I will offer a cognitive-behavioral experiment. Five contrasting scenarios involving different levels of emotional proximity during cheating/deceiving situations are analyzed. This last will be presented in section III. Cases range from those where the aggravated subject is: i) an undefined entity (as an institution), ii) a third person (perhaps not directly but somehow of a familiar reference), iii) yourself. I describe the instructions, the shaping of the presented sentences, the content of the stimuli, and further information in that section. Section IV deploys the results obtained for each of the 5 categories of stimuli. A summary of the results will be presented in Section V. A compilation of whither cheating-deceiving is offered in Section VI as
provisional conclusions. The future directions of the study are sketched in section VII, profiling our experiment towards an fMRI protocol.
The central thesis is that the level of emotional proximity bolsters or suppresses the capability for detecting cheating/deception situations, and thus the capacity for detecting corruption.


The American Reception of Logical Positivism
Sander Verhaegh, Center Visiting Fellow, Tilburg U.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
12:05 pm, 1117 Cathedral of Learning

ABSTRACT: In the late-1930s, a small number of European logicians and philosophers of science sought refuge in the United States, escaping the quickly deteriorating political situation on the continent. Within a few years, these logical positivists significantly reshaped the American philosophical landscape. Where US philosophy had been dominated by pragmatism, realism, and naturalism in the first decades of the twentieth-century, American philosophers began to develop positivist views about meaning, method, and metaphysics in the years before and after the Second World War.

Although the positivist turn in American philosophy has been thoroughly documented and studied, surprisingly little is known about the years that immediately preceded the great intellectual migration. Still, there are many signs that this period played a formative role in the positivist turn. In this paper, I will reconstruct the early development of logical positivism in American philosophy by reconstructing the first encounters between US academics and members of the Vienna Circle (most notably Feigl’s and Schlick’s research visits to the United States and Quine’s and Nagel’s visits to Europe). Building on archive material from the personal and academic archives of Feigl, Quine, and Schlick, I aim to shed new light on the development of philosophy of science in the United States in the decade immediately preceding the Second World War.





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