Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Rational Analyses and Approximation in Cognitive Science
David Danks, Department of Philosophy,
Carnegie Mellon University
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: Rational models aim to understand human cognition in terms of optimal behavior for a given task and environment. However, many rational models are arguably not psychologically plausible (at least, as models of conscious cognition). One common response is to argue that people are closely approximating the behavior of the rational model using various heuristics, and these approximations are "good enough" (in some vague sense). In this talk, I will focus more closely on the relationship between rational models and proposed heuristic approximations. In particular, what types of “approximation” relations can hold between two different theories? And when does the explanatory power of a rational model (i.e., providing an explanation for why cognition has the form it does) transfer to the heuristic approximation?