LaTeX editor 73

Paragraph about LaTeX editor

Recall that, according to Kitcher, causal knowledge derives from our efforts at unification. However, as Kitcher also recognizes, it is highly implausible that most individuals deliberately and self-consciously go through the process of comparing competing deductive systemizations with respect to number and stringency of patterns and number of conclusions in order to determine which is most unifying. His response to this observation is to hold that most people acquire causal knowledge by absorbing the “lore” of their communities, where this lore does reflect previous systematic efforts at unification. He writes that “our everyday causal knowledge is based on our early absorption of the theoretical picture of mathlab the world bequeathed to us by our scientific tradition” (1989, p. 469)

How exactly is this suggestion supposed to work? While it is surely true that individual human beings acquire a substantial amount of causal knowledge by cultural transmission, it is also obvious that not all causal knowledge is acquired in this way. Some causal knowledge that individuals acquire involves learning from experience. Moreover, unless we are willing to make extremely implausible assumptions about the innateness of a large number of specific causal beliefs, the stock of socially transmitted causal knowledge must itself have been initially acquired in a way in which learning from experience played an important role. The question that then arises is how this process of learning from experience is supposed to work on a view like Kitcher's about the source of our causal knowledge. If, as Kitcher claims, “the idea that any one individual LaTeX editor justifies the causal judgments that he/she makes by recognizing the patterns of argument that best unify his/her beliefs is clearly absurd” (1989, p. 436), just what is it that is going on at the individual level when people learn form experience? One possibility is that although individuals do not knowingly go through the process of comparing the degree of unification achieved by alternative systemizations when they acquire new causal knowledge by learning from experience, they go through this process tacitly or unconsciously, perhaps because of some general disposition of the mind to seek unification. However, Kitcher does not seem to endorse this idea and it does not fit very well with his emphasis on the social transmission of causal information. Moreover, it looks as though even unconscious unification requires very sophisticated cognitive abilities (construction and comparison of different deductive systemizations etc.) that it is implausible to attribute to many causal learners, such as small children.

Chemical equation software
Scientific software

Hosted by uCoz