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From Is to Ought: The Place of Normative Models in the Study of Human Thought

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198962 Year: Pages: 187 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-896-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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In the study of human thinking, two main research questions can be asked: “Descriptive Q: What is human thinking like? Normative Q: What ought human thinking be like?” For decades, these two questions have dominated the field, and the relationship between them generated many a controversy. Empirical normativist approaches regard the answers to these questions as positively correlated – in essence, human thinking is what it ought to be (although what counts as the ‘ought’ standard is moot). In contemporary theories of reasoning and decision making, this is often associated with a Panglossian framework, an adaptationist approach which regards human thinking as a priori rational. In contrast, prescriptive normativism sees the answers to these two questions as negatively correlated. Normative models are still relevant to human thought, but human behaviour deviates from them quite markedly (with the invited conclusion that humans are often irrational). Prescriptive normativism often results in a Meliorist agenda, which sees rationality as amenable to education. Both empirical and prescriptive normativism can be contrasted with a descriptivist framework for psychology of human thinking. Following Hume’s strict divide between the ‘is’ and the ‘ought’, descriptivism regards the descriptive and normative research questions as uncorrelated, or dissociated, with only the former question suitable for psychological study of human behaviour. This basic division carries over to the relation between normative (‘ought’) rationality, based on conforming to normative standards; and instrumental (‘is’) rationality, based on achieving one’s goals. Descriptivist approaches regard the two as dissociated, whereas normativist approaches tend to see them as closely linked, with normative arguments defining and justifying instrumental rationality. This research topic brings together diverse contributions to the continuing debate. Featuring contributions from leading researchers in the field, the e-book covers a wide range of subjects, arranged by six sections: The standard picture: Normativist perspectivesIn defence of soft normativismExploring normative modelsDescriptivist perspectivesEvolutionary and ecological accountsEmpirical reports With a total of some 24 articles from 55 authors, this comprehensive treatment includes theoretical analyses, meta-theoretical critiques, commentaries, and a range of empirical reports. The contents of the Research Topic should appeal to psychologists, linguists, philosophers and cognitive scientists, with research interests in a wide range of domains, from language, through reasoning, judgment and decision making, and moral judgment, to epistemology and theory of mind, philosophical logic, and meta-ethics.

Dishonest Behavior: From Theory to Practice

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450275 Year: Pages: 160 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-027-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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The rapidly growing field of behavioral ethics shows that dishonest acts are highly prevalent in all walks of life, from corruption among politicians through flagrant cases of doping in sports, to everyday slips and misdemeanors of ordinary people who nevertheless perceive themselves as highly moral. When considered cumulatively, these seemingly innocuous and ordinary unethical behaviors cause considerable societal damage and add up to billions of dollars annually. Research in behavioral ethics has made tremendous advances in characterizing many contextual and social factors that promote or hinder dishonesty. These findings have prompted the development of interventions to curb dishonesty and to help individuals become more committed to ethical standards. The current e-book includes studies that test and advance current theory and deepen our understanding of the cognitive and physiological processes underlying dishonest behavior, discuss possible implications of findings in behavioral ethics research for real life situations, document dishonest behavior in the field and/or directly examines interventions to reduce it.

Decision-Making Experiments under Philosophical Analysis: Human Choice as a Challenge for Neuroscience

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196685 Year: Pages: 123 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-668-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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This introduction just aims to be a fast foreword to the special topic now turned into an e-book. The Editorial "Decision-Making Experiments under a Philosophical Analysis: Human Choice as a Challenge for Neuroscience" alongside with my opinion article "Neurophilosophical considerations on decision making: Pushing-up the frontiers without disregarding their foundations" play the real role of considering in more details the articles and the whole purpose of this e-book. What I must highlight in this foreword is that our intention with such a project was to deepen into the very foundations of our current paradigms in decision neuroscience and to philosophically moot its foundations and repercussions. Normal Science (a term coined by Philosopher Thomas Kuhn) works under a research consensus among a scientific community: A shared paradigm, consolidated methods, widespread convictions. Pragmatically, winning formulas must be kept, although, not at any cost. What differentiates a gifted and revolutionary scientist from a more bureaucratic colleague is the capacity and willingness of constantly reevaluating, depurating and refining his/her own paradigm. That is best strategy to avoid that a paradigm itself would gradually come under challenge. In my view, some achievements, in this sense, were brought about in our project. The e-book will be inspiring and informative for both neuroscientists that are concerned with the very foundations of their works and for philosophers that are not blind to empirical evidence. Kant once said: “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind”. Paraphrasing Kant we could say: Philosophy without science is empty, science without philosophy is blind.

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