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AIC Seminar Series

The Wason Task(s) and The Paradox of Confirmation

Branden FitelsonUniversity of California Berkeley[Home Page]

Notice:  hosted by Richard Waldinger

Date:  2008-10-07 at 16:00

Location:  EJ228 (SRI E building)  (Directions)

   Abstract

The Wason task is a simple experiment, which seems to reveal a "blindspot" in human reasoning, when it comes to inferences that involve contraposition. I will sketch out an analogy between the Wason Task(s) and the Paradox of Confirmation. This will mainly involve going through some existing historical discussions concerning the analogy, and developing a precise framework for refining and critiquing the analogy. I will explain what I think is right about the existing literature, and also what I think is wrong with it (i.e., what I think the disanalogies are). Along the way, I will make various historical observations about confirmation theory and some of the contemporary evaluative assessments of the behavior of subjects faced with Wason Task(s).

   Bio for Branden Fitelson

Branden Fitelson is an Associate Professor in the philosophy department at UC-Berkeley. He also is a member of the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science and the Cognitive Science Core Faculty at Berkeley. Branden has held non-teaching positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and (more recently) at Argonne National Laboratory. Before joining the philosophy department at Berkeley, Branden held teaching positions (in Philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, and San Jose State University. His current research interests include the foundations of inductive logic and probability, automated reasoning (what used to be called automated theorem proving), and the psychology of inference. For more information about Branden’s research and teaching, see his website, at http://fitelson.org/.

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