Institut Jean Nicod

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APIC 2011 - Dual-Process views of mental architecture

Pavillon Jardin, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 29 rue d’Ulm

2ème et 4ème vendredis du mois, 14h30-16h30

This year, the APIC Seminar will focus on the philosophical significance of dual views of the mind, which are now blooming in the cognitive literature. A common feature of dual views is that cognitive processes or procedures underlying judgments and decisions, but also emotions, memory and learning, split into two kinds. Automatic, largely non-conscious processes belong to so-called “System 1”, whereas more controlled, conscious processes belong to so-called “System 2”. In the current understanding of dual views, System 1 is in fact a heterogeneous class of cognitive processes, procedures and capacities, which include various kinds of heuristics and rules of thumb, innate as well as acquired modules, contextualized strategies, internalized shortcuts and complex recognitional abilities. System 2 appears to be a more coherent concept, linked to general intelligence and working memory abilities. System 2 is supposed to represent a higher form of rationality, being the locus of abstract, decontextualized, analytic and hypothetical reasoning.

In the seminar we are interested in questions such as the following: Is it really possible to unify the various local dual views into a substantial theory of cognitive architecture? How unique is System 2? Is it tied to language and unique to humans, as some have argued? How should we interpret the contextualized/decontextualized distinction, as it is often applied to System 1 and System 2? Does this distinction have to do with different representational formats, or merely with different representational systems? There are also crucial issues about the extent to which each of these systems is modular or not. System 2 is sometimes linked to Fodor’s notion of a central system, but other authors disagree. In addition, the extent to which System 1 is cognitively penetrable is a live issue.

Another set of questions concerns the relationship between System 1 and System 2, which is not always easy to understand from the present state of the cognitive and philosophical literature. For instance, are the outputs of System 1 intuitions or feelings, that can be premises for System 2 reasoning? If so, what is the nature (mode, content) of these intuitions or feelings? Are System 1 and System 2 parallel systems, or does the first operate by default, in the absence of error signals that might initiate System 2 reasoning? Do we have to postulate a third system – System 3 – in order to explain the interactions between the two initial systems, as recent work suggests?

Voir en ligne : Site du séminaire