Lines of Thought: Central Concepts in Cognitive Psychology

Hardcover | January 28, 2011

byLance Rips

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Lines of Thought addresses how we are able to think about abstract possibilities: How can we think about math, despite the immateriality of numbers, sets, and other mathematical entities? How are we able to think about what might have happened if history had taken a different turn? Questionslike these turn up in nearly every part of cognitive science, and they are central to our human position of having only limited knowledge concerning what is or might be true. Because we cannot experience hypothetical or future events or abstract concepts, we cannot use our ordinary sense ofperception or memory to think about these subjects, so what underlies our ability to make these assumptions?Lance Rips explores people's beliefs about possibilities as they arise in the context of basic concepts, including numbers, causality, and reasons. He argues that beliefs about these concepts cannot be meaningfully reduced to perceptual information, remembered instances, or probabilities. He alsoclaims that analogies to cognitive perception models are equally unhelpful in understanding what makes thinking of possibilities possible. Instead, he makes the case that our abilities here depend on the intrinsic hardwiring of the human mind.Lines of Thought provides an overview and a point of view on research in higher-level cognitive science, integrating theories from psychology, philosophy, and linguistics. The book is written in an accessible style that will provide students with essential background for their own thoughts aboutthis domain.

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Lines of Thought addresses how we are able to think about abstract possibilities: How can we think about math, despite the immateriality of numbers, sets, and other mathematical entities? How are we able to think about what might have happened if history had taken a different turn? Questionslike these turn up in nearly every part of co...

Lance Rips has taught at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, where he is currently Professor of Psychology. His research focuses on cognitive issues, including people's knowledge of number, causality, categories, and identity over time. His previous books take up the topics of reasoning, similarity and symbols, and ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:480 pages, 6.42 × 9.29 × 1.3 inPublished:January 28, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195183053

ISBN - 13:9780195183054

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction0.1 Modalities and Commonalities0.2 Modal Thinking in Cognitive Domains0.3 Psychological Approaches to Modal Thinking1. Individuals1.1 Object Concepts and Object Identity1.2 Theories of Object Concepts1.3 A Causal Continuer Theory of Object Identity1.4 Fission and Fusion1.5 Extensions and LimitationsAppendix: A Mathematical Version of the Causal Continuer Theory2. Numbers2.1 Words and Numbers2.2 Possible Precursors of Natural Numbers2.3 The Route to Concepts of Number2.4 Knowledge of Mathematical Principles2.5 Math Schemas2.6 Concluding Comments3. Causes3.1 How are Causal Relations Given to Us?3.2 Reasoning from Causal Theories3.3 Concluding CommentsAppendix: Reasoning with Conditional and Causal Sentences4. Kinds4.1 Modal Characteristics of Natural Categories: Psychological Evidence4.2 What Explains Natural Categories' Modal Status?4.3 Summary and Concluding CommentsAppendix: The Gap Model5. Thoughts5.1 Psychological Theories of Concepts and Concept Combination5.2 Dual versus Unitary Models of Concept Combination5.3 Concept Combination and Mental Theories5.4 Is Concept Combination Possible?6. Reasons6.1 Reasoning's Natural Kinds6.2 The Reasoner's Toolkit6.3 Unitary Theories6.4 Partitioning Theories6.5 Concluding Comments7. Conclusions: Cognitive Structure7.1 Origins of Deduction and Mathematics7.2 Origins of Causal Knowledge7.3 A Role for Non-perceptual Structure in CognitionReferencesSubject IndexAuthor Index