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Karenleigh A. Overmann and Thomas Wynn

Abstract

Using a model of cognition as extended and enactive, we examine the role of materiality in making minds as exemplified by lithics and writing, forms associated with conceptual thought and meta-awareness of conceptual domains. We address ways in which brain functions may change in response to interactions with material forms, the attributes of material forms that may cause such change, and the spans of time required for neurofunctional reorganization. We also offer three hypotheses for investigating co-influence and change in cognition and material culture.

Tanehisa Otabe

Abstract

In section 2 of Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790) Immanuel Kant refers to the Iroquois sachem declaring that what pleased him in Paris were cook-shops, not palaces. For Kant the sachem seems to be a barbarian ensnared by his appetite and incapable of disinterested pleasure. This essay, however, argues first that Kant, extracting this episode from “The History of New France” (1744) written by French Jesuit missionary Charlevoix, tacitly advocates the idea of the noble savage, thereby giving the Iroquois sachem the function of criticizing a luxurious civilization. Second, the essay shows that in the “General Remark on the Exposition of Aesthetic Reflective Judgments” Kant evaluates positively a castaway Crusoe as a person who withdraws from civilized society, conscious of the fact that society is far from being a moral ideal. The Iroquois sachem and the castaway Crusoe are examples that anticipate section 83 in the second part of his Critique of the Power of Judgment, which focuses on the role of the faculty of taste in the process of civilization, thereby incorporating into his whole system the theory of taste as expounded in the first part.

Hatice Karaslaan, Annette Hohenberger, Hilmi Demir, Simon Hall and Mike Oaksford

Abstract

Cross-cultural differences in argumentation may be explained by the use of different norms of reasoning. However, some norms derive from, presumably universal, mathematical laws. This inconsistency can be resolved, by considering that some norms of argumentation, like Bayes theorem, are mathematical functions. Systematic variation in the inputs may produce culture-dependent inductive biases although the function remains invariant. This hypothesis was tested by fitting a Bayesian model to data on informal argumentation from Turkish and English cultures, which linguistically mark evidence quality differently. The experiment varied evidential marking and informant reliability in argumentative dialogues and revealed cross-cultural differences for both independent variables. The Bayesian model fitted the data from both cultures well but there were differences in the parameters consistent with culture-specific inductive biases. These findings are related to current controversies over the universality of the norms of reasoning and the role of normative theories in the psychology of reasoning.

Why Was the Color Violet Rarely Used by Artists before the 1860s?

A Descriptive Summary and Potential Explanation

Allen Tager

Abstract

Although the color violet is now used in a wide variety of everyday products, ranging from toys to clothing to cars, and although it now appears commonly in artistic works, violet was rarely used in fine art before the early 1860s. The color violet only became an integral part of modern culture and life with the rise of the French Impressionists. I investigated the use of violet in over 130,000 artworks prior to 1863 and found that it appeared in about .06 percent of the paintings. Violet was used substantially more frequently in Impressionist works, and remains popular in fine art and in popular culture today. I examine several explanations for the explosion of the use of violet in the art world during the Impressionist era, and conclude that a cognitive-perceptual explanation, based on the heightened sensitivity of the Impressionists to short wavelengths, may account for it. The findings fit with a new understanding about evolutionary changes in planetary light and human adaptation to light.