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【報告】The 20th Tokyo Colloquium of Cognitive Philosophy (TCCP)

2010.07.09 筒井晴香

TCCP, or Tokyo colloquium of cognitive philosophy, is an English-only seminar which is held as a place for active discussions among UTCP fellows who are interested in neurophilosophy, neuroethics and various related areas.

The speaker of the 20th TCCP was Yoichi Kaniike (Kokugakuin University). The title of his presentation was “Against Certain Dualistic Conceptions of Human Decision Making”. The process of human decision making is often explicated as the conjunction of two different processes. The most popular conjunction might be reason and emotion. Such a dualistic conception is common in several disciplines. According to Kaniike, however, recent findings in neuroscience suggest that certain types of dualistic conception are not promising.

Dualistic conceptions of human decision making postulate two independent (often competitive) decision making systems or processes. We can find such conceptions in different fields, such as neuroscience, psychology, neuroeconomics etc. Here are examples: system 1 vs. system 2 psychology); reflective vs. impulsive systems (neuroscience); affective vs. deliberative processes (economics/neuroeconomics); dual-process theory (neuroethics); reason vs. emotion (philosophy).

According to Kaniike, the dualistic conception is not problematic--if it is used as an abstract explanatory model or a classificatory scheme. Examples of such a conception can be found in economics, neuroeconomics and psychology. As a descriptive model for the actual decision making process, however, the dualistic conception has several problems. Examples of this can be seen in traditional “natural philosophy” in the 17-19th centuries and in some neuroscientific theories.

The dualistic conception as a descriptive model has some difficulties. It is not clear how two distinct systems are integrated. Besides, postulating just two systems is a too simplified way of description. Furthermore, such a model is at odds with neurobiological data. Kaniike introduced neuroscientific theories of human decision making which are based on current findings. They postulate not reason and emotion, but valuation, learning and choice as basic processes (Cf. Kable, J. W., and P. W. Glimcher. 2009. The neurobiology of decision: consensus and controversy. Neuron 63 (6): 733-45). Thus Kaniike suggested that we need a new framework for a philosophical theory of decision making, which reflects the real machinery operating in our decision making.

(Written by Haruka Tsutsui)

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