Causal Learning - Psychology, Philosophy and Computation by Alison Gopnik, Laura Schulz

By Alison Gopnik, Laura Schulz

Realizing causal constitution is a crucial job of human cognition. Causal studying underpins the advance of our innovations and different types, our intuitive theories, and our capacities for making plans, mind's eye and inference. over the last few years, there was an interdisciplinary revolution in our figuring out of studying and reasoning: Researchers in philosophy, psychology, and computation have found new mechanisms for studying the causal constitution of the area. This new paintings presents a rigorous, formal foundation for idea theories of options and cognitive improvement, and additionally, the causal studying mechanisms it has exposed move dramatically past the normal mechanisms of either nativist theories, similar to modularity theories, and empiricist ones, comparable to organization or connectionism.

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A large majority gave correct answers (that is, answers that respect the intuitive connection between causal and counterfactual claims). They were also able to discriminate correctly between counterfactual alterations in the scenario that would have led to the same and to different outcomes, that is, which alterations in behavior would have avoided mud on the floor and which would not. Children not only connect causal and counterfactual claims when explicitly prompted to do so by a question about what would happen under a counterfactual possibility, but also when asked why an outcome occurred or how it might have been prevented.

I suggest that both claims are true. 12 This is not surprising: Presumably, it is important for humans and other animals to have some way of distinguishing those cases in which a change occurs in their environments or in their bodies that results from their voluntary actions from those cases in which the change comes about in some other way—not as a result of a movement of their bodies at all or as a result of a movement that is nonvoluntary. It is plausible that one role for the feeling of ownership of one’s action is to provide information that helps organisms to monitor this distinction.

First, subjects must have some way of determining (some signal that tells them) when they have performed a voluntary action, and this signal must be somewhat reliable, at least in ordinary circumstances. Second, voluntary actions (again in ordinary, ecologically realistic circumstances) must—not always, but often enough—have the characteristics of an intervention. I suggest that both claims are true. 12 This is not surprising: Presumably, it is important for humans and other animals to have some way of distinguishing those cases in which a change occurs in their environments or in their bodies that results from their voluntary actions from those cases in which the change comes about in some other way—not as a result of a movement of their bodies at all or as a result of a movement that is nonvoluntary.

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