Models of embodied rationality.


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I present suggestion for reconciling rational decision-making with embodied cognition

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Models of embodied rationality.

  1. 1. Models of Embodied Rationality Benoit Hardy-Vallée, PhD. University of Waterloo/UQAM - | - [email_address]
  2. 2. Rationality ? <ul><li>Theoretical rationality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thoughts, beliefs, inferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal models: logics, probability theory, semantics, epistemology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Practical rationality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Actions, intentions, decisions, behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal models: decision theory , game theory, market theory. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Practical rationality <ul><li>Descriptive project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how people really act, choose, decide, behave </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychology, anthropology, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Normative project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How rational people should act, choose, decide, behave </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophy, economics, mathematics. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Decision theory <ul><li>A rational agent has preferences = </li></ul><ul><li>maximizes its expected utility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>he chooses the best possible action, according to what he knows (probabilities) and desires (utilities) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Decision theory Probability Utility from Coopper, 2001
  6. 6. Decision theory 0,5 x 60= 30 u 0,5 x 30= 15 u 0,5 x 0= 0 u 0,5 x 100= 50 u 50 u 45 u
  7. 7. <ul><li>Ex. Axiom of transitivity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(A > B) & (B > C) ⊃ A > C </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ex periments: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preferences are often circular </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>( May, 1954; Tversky, 1969) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Even for casino players (trained in probability assessment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Lichtenstein & Slovic, 1973) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Other irrational patterns: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk-aversion , ambigu ity-aversion, framing effect, weighed probability function, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>100$ for sure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Or a 10% chance of having 1000$ ? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Received view: <ul><li>We argue that the deviations of actual behavior from the normative models are too widespread to be ignored, too systematic to be dismissed as random error, and too fundamental to be accommodated by relaxing the normative system. (…) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tversky & Kahneman, 1986:252 </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 2 projects that follow the same lead <ul><li>Evolutionary psychology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>evolution may explain how modern irrationalities are past adaptations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Embodied cognition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the embodied mind does not rely on abstract, internally computed language-like </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal models of rationality describes disembodied thinkers </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Embodiment and rationality: incompatibility ? <ul><li>[formal models] are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ mathematics plus metaphor” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1999: 536) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ egoistic representation of human beings” (Varela et al., 1991: 245-246). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>real biological systems are not </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ rational agents that take inputs, compute logically, and produce output” (Brooks, 1991: 14). </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Received embodied view <ul><li>Cognition is situated - FM are general </li></ul><ul><li>Cognition is embodied - FM are “mental” </li></ul><ul><li>Cognition is distributed - FM are internal </li></ul><ul><li>“ Embodied rationalism”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These models are not models of reasonning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FM of practical rationality refers to situated agents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The received view has a bad epistemology of FM </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Received epistemology: nomothetic theory world (reasoning)
  13. 13. Embodied Rationalist epistemology: Theory (principles) (situated actions) World (mechanistic) Models
  14. 14. Mechanistic models From Craver, 2001
  15. 15. Example: behavioral ecology
  16. 16. Traveling salesman for animals You are here (Sih & Christensen, 2001): 73.8 % for non-moving prey
  17. 17. Dopaminergic systems <ul><li>Ecological niche </li></ul><ul><li>Physiology </li></ul><ul><li>Brain activity </li></ul><ul><li>Physical constraints </li></ul><ul><li>organs </li></ul>…
  18. 18. Dopaminergic systems <ul><li>Implied in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>probability and utility assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>learning </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Not enough </li></ul><ul><li>Parkingson </li></ul><ul><li>ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of desire/motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Too much </li></ul><ul><li>obsessive compulsive behavior </li></ul><ul><li>addiction </li></ul><ul><li>Autism </li></ul><ul><li>Schizophrenia </li></ul><ul><li>Tourette </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypic behaviors </li></ul>Local Focus Global Focus <ul><li>Normal </li></ul><ul><li>Maintains goals in working memory </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of information about utility predictors </li></ul>phasic activation - reward probability tonic activation - reward uncertainty ( Fiorillo, Tobler Schultz, 2003)
  20. 20. Embodied rationality <ul><li>Decision processes : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>supervene on body-environment interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>depend of the physiology of the animals: organs, nutrition, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are not necessarily high-level or localizable processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are formulated as mechanistic models , not nomothetic theories </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Conclusions <ul><ul><li>Instead of being description of rational thinking, FM (with other principles) describe behavioral processes by which situated agents guide their behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With a good epistemology, embodiment and rationality are compatible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You may be irrational when you answer questions but rational when you go shopping </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Suggested readings <ul><li>“ A Framework for the Unification the Behavioral Sciences” </li></ul><ul><li>Herbert Gintis, forthcoming BBS </li></ul>