- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 23, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195162293
- ISBN-13: 978-0195162295
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,563,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment 1st Edition
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...extremely engaging. The authors are clever and passionate ... I highly recommend Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment. Students will enjoy it and find it challenging. * K. Brad Wray, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science *
About the Author
Michael Bishop is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University. His work has appeared in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Noûs, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, and Synthese.
J. D. Trout is Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor at the Parmly Hearing Institute, Loyola University Chicago. He has authored an award-winning book, Measuring the Intentional World (Oxford 1998), and has co-authored or co-edited three other books. His work has appeared in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Noûs, Psychological Review, and Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Top customer reviews
Bishop & Trout's argument for a reorientation of epistemology is based in the "Aristotelian Principle" that in the long run, poor reasoning tends to lead to worse outcomes than good reasoning. That simple assertion licenses empirical testing of the relative goodness of competing reasoning strategies. It is also "a necessary precondition for the practical relevance of epistemology," because if better reasoning doesn't lead to better outcomes than bad reasoning does, then it wouldn't matter how we arrive at our beliefs, and epistemology in any form would be a pointless enterprise.
Reliabilism is the theory of epistemology that holds a belief to be justified if it results from some process of demonstrated reliability, one that has been shown to yield true beliefs. The purpose of this book is to make the case for something the authors call Strategic Reliabilism. SR is an epistemological theory that defines epistemic excellence as (1) efficient allocation of cognitive (reasoning, problem-solving) resources (2) to robustly reliable strategies, (3) applied to significant problems.
The goal is a more prescriptive, reason-guided epistemology, relevant to problem solving in the real world by offering practical recommendations about how to reason better and thus achieve better outcomes. It would be based in empirical research on the limitations and foibles of human reasoning and how to avoid or compensate for them. Strategic Reliabilism is not a theory of justification; its focus is on comparing reasoning strategies to identify the better ones so they can be used instead of ones that are less good. The importance of this effort can be seen in the enormous costs connected with poor reasoning. A patient with a positive result on a diagnostic test for cancer or AIDs needs good information about the likelihood that he actually has the disease. In fact, one study showed that only 18% of faculty and staff at Harvard Medical School were able to reason to the correct interpretation of a positive diagnostic test; the average estimated likelihood was 28 times too high.
"Ameliorative Psychology" is Bishop & Trout's term for the empirical discipline that searches for better reasoning strategies and, from the results of empirical tests, makes normative recommendations about how to reason better. The specific techniques described that have so far been found to improve reasoning include: Statistical Prediction Rules; thinking in terms of frequencies vs. probabilities in Bayesian problems; and recognition of common sources of bias and error (overconfidence, the interview effect, the generalized attribution error, lack of comparison in causal attribution, regression effects, leaping to plausible but ungrounded causal fictions for rare events). The many examples of these common problems in reasoning are highly interesting and troubling, especially as they show up in professionals who you assume would know better.
Traditional epistemology (referred to SAE: Standard Analytic Epistemology) emphasizes knowledge defined as justified true belief. But it provides no guidance about how to arrive at that worthy goal. SAE emphasizes a priori intuition as the method of evaluating clever examples involving strange hypothetical situations. B&T argue that these word games make little contact with real-world problems, that such intuitions are not, in fact, a priori, and that there is no evidence that the intuitions of philosophers produce trustworthy judgments about epistemic matters. SAE has failed to deliver.
This is a terrific book, one that offers a meaningful future for epistemology, joining it with scientific psychology to create a specialty with something of real value to offer the world. Whether it will be received that way by philosophers is another question entirely, although one can always dream.
They offer fine critical judgments on a variety of epistemic approaches and if one doesn't guard one's pre-commitments too closely, one will be converted to their view.
This is an enjoyable read, even for non-philosophers, and it will expand anyone's epistemic horizons even if one disagrees with their rational (empirical) approach.