New PDF release: Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008

By Mitchell Aboulafia

ISBN-10: 1435684907

ISBN-13: 9781435684904

ISBN-10: 9042024852

ISBN-13: 9789042024854

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Extra resources for Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008

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Peirce 1892; Hansen 1958; Heelan and Schulkin 1998; Gigerenzer and Selten 2001). That humans construct worlds of perception and experience does not mean that there is no “real” world. Within a biological context, problem solving is adaptive. If an animal cannot see an object, it compensates with another sense, such as hearing or smelling. The lenses from which the animal interprets the world are all theory-laden; nothing is given. But the theories that are part of the Cognitive Adaptation: Insights from a Pragmatist Perspective 43 adaptive specializations of animals create a world for action.

Our hypothesis-generating abilities exist in the specific culture in which we are immersed and that shapes our thinking (Mill 1843, 1870; Peirce 1898, 1992). But some of the categories reflect the cognitive machinations of the mind/brain and how it innately operates in problem solving. Abduction (hypothesis) is a term coined by Peirce (1878, 1899, 1992) for the genesis of a theory or idea that in turn guides the inference of conclusions, whether by induction or deduction (see also Dewey 1938; Hanson 1958; Heelan and Schulkin 1998).

We search for consistency and stability; we inquire and learn when our equilibrium is disrupted (Peirce 1878, 1992; Dewey 1925, 1989; Rescorla and Wagner 1972), but not only under those conditions. Pragmatists such as Dewey emphasize plasticity, the many diverse forms of adaptation and human expression (Margolis 2002). Amidst this uncertainty is the use of instrumental reason – reason devoted to coping with the lack of certainty in the search for the stable and somewhat secure. Dewey (1925, 1989, p.

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Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008 by Mitchell Aboulafia


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