Naturalism, tractability and the adaptive toolbox
Number of pages
SourceSynthese, 198, 6, (2021), pp. 5749-5784
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Intention & Action
SW OZ DCC CO
SW OZ DCC AI
Subject111 000 Intention & Action; Action, intention, and motor control; Cognitive artificial intelligence; Language in Interaction
Many compelling examples have recently been provided in which people can achieve impressive epistemic success, e.g. draw highly accurate inferences, by using simple heuristics and very little information. This is possible by taking advantage of the features of the environment. The examples suggest an easy and appealing naturalization of rationality: on the one hand, people clearly can apply simple heuristics, and on the other hand, they intuitively ought do so when this brings them high accuracy at little cost. The 'ought-can' principle is satisfied, and rationality is meaningfully normative. We show, however, that this naturalization program is endangered by a computational wrinkle in the adaptation process taken to be responsible for this heuristics-based ('ecological') rationality: for the adaptation process to guarantee even minimal rationality, it requires astronomical computational resources, making the problem intractable. We consider various plausible auxiliary assumptions in attempt to remove this obstacle, and show that they do not succeed; intractability is a robust property of adaptation. We discuss the implications of our findings for the project of naturalizing rationality.
NWO (Grant code:info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/NWO/Gravitation/024.001.006)
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