Phil/Psych 447

Office hours (HH368): M 1:00-2:00; F 12:30-1:30, and by appointment.

Seminar in Cognitive Science

Week 6. Decisions and the Brain

Approaches to levels of explanation

Reductionism: molecular -> neural -> psychological -> social. Note: "->" means "causes"

Downward holism: social -> psychological.

Autonomy: neural / psychological / social

Interactionism: molecular <-> neural <-> psychological <-> social.

Changing multilevel systems

Intervene at all accessible levels

At each level, intervene by manipulating key parts, interactions.

Intervene to block interconnections between levels, e.g. feedback loops, e.g. economic panic.

Discussion Questions

  1. Does inference to the best plan work for decision making?
  2. What are goals? Are they brain states?
  3. How do people acquire goals as their lives develop?
  4. How can and should people change goals?
  5. What's wrong with not having goals?
  6. What is the major source of your friends' bad decisions?
  7. Should people make decisions unemotionally?
  8. Can you live without free will?

Phil/Psych 447

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Oct. 10, 2008