Prof. Dr. Stephen Butterfill (University of Warwick) will give a talk at CogSci Colloquium on Tuesday, Sept. 12th , at 2 PM (CET).
Title: Inferential Isolation Is a Barrier to Understanding Cognitive Development
Abstract: Inferential Isolation is a basic principle of cognitive architecture, or so much evidence concerning both physical and social cognition indicates. Fast, relatively automatic processes implicitly arrive at conclusions about the movements and causal interactions of objects, and about the thoughts, feelings and actions of agents. But these conclusions are neither informed by culturally acquired knowledge nor reflected in verbal judgements. This inferential isolation is a barrier to understanding cognitive development. Much research indicates that infants, even in the first year of life, already benefit from those fast processes, which are sometimes called ‘systems of core knowledge’. The problem is to understand how core knowledge systems enable humans to learn about the physical and social world. One leading view is that the outputs of core knowledge systems ‘give rise to the concepts and beliefs that populate our thoughts’ (Spelke, 2022, p. 199). But this is incompatible with the evidence for inferential isolation. Indeed, the influence of core knowledge systems seems remarkably limited. This talk introduces some alternative ideas about how core knowledge may contribute to later developing forms of understanding. The main ideas are that we should embrace limits on core knowledge systems; and that we can overcome the barrier posed by inferential isolation by taking inspiration from discoveries from comparative and cognitive psychology, which provide a potentially rich source of novel developmental predictions.
Venue: Waldweg 26, Room 2.111
Please contact me until Thursday, Sept.7th , if you would like to meet with Stephen before or after his talk on Tuesday.
Thank you very much.
Saba Amirhaftehran, PhD student
Department of Cognitive Developmental Psychology