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Colin Allen
University of Pittsburgh
  1. Engineered Wisdom for Learning Machines.Brett Karlan & Colin Allen - 2022 - Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence.
    We argue that the concept of practical wisdom is particularly useful for organizing, understanding, and improving human-machine interactions. We consider the relationship between philosophical analysis of wisdom and psychological research into the development of wisdom. We adopt a practical orientation that suggests a conceptual engineering approach is needed, where philosophical work involves refinement of the concept in response to contributions by engineers and behavioral scientists. The former are tasked with encoding as much wise design as possible into machines themselves, as (...)
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  2. Exploration and exploitation of Victorian science in Darwin’s reading notebooks.Jaimie Murdock, Colin Allen & Simon DeDeo - 2017 - Cognition 159:117-126.
    Search in an environment with an uncertain distribution of resources involves a trade-off between exploitation of past discoveries and further exploration. This extends to information foraging, where a knowledge-seeker shifts between reading in depth and studying new domains. To study this decision-making process, we examine the reading choices made by one of the most celebrated scientists of the modern era: Charles Darwin. From the full-text of books listed in his chronologically-organized reading journals, we generate topic models to quantify his local (...)
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  3. 14. Real Traits, Real Functions?Colin Allen - 2002 - In Andre Ariew, Robert Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.), Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press. pp. 373.
    Discussions of the functions of biological traits generally take the notion of a trait for granted. Defining this notion is a non-trivial problem. Different approaches to function place different constraints on adequate accounts of the notion of a trait. Accounts of function based on engineering-style analyses allow trait boundaries to be a matter of human interest. Accounts of function based on natural selection have typically been taken to require trait boundaries that are objectively real. After canvassing problems raised by each (...)
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  4. Mining Arguments From 19th Century Philosophical Texts Using Topic Based Modelling.John Lawrence, Chris Reed, Simon McAlister, Andrew Ravenscroft, Colin Allen & David Bourget - 2014 - In Proceedings of the First Workshop on Argumentation Mining. Baltimore, USA: pp. 79-87.
    In this paper we look at the manual analysis of arguments and how this compares to the current state of automatic argument analysis. These considerations are used to develop a new approach combining a machine learning algorithm to extract propositions from text, with a topic model to determine argument structure. The results of this method are compared to a manual analysis.
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  5. Mirror, Mirror in the Brain, What's the Monkey Stand to Gain?Colin Allen - 2010 - Noûs 44 (2):372 - 391.
    Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called "mirror neurons" in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionahty, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behavioral studies of humans and monkeys. A decisive resolution to the paradox requires substantial additional empirical (...)
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  6.  63
    Quantum of Wisdom.Brett Karlan & Colin Allen - forthcoming - In Greg Viggiano (ed.), Quantum Computing and AI: Social, Ethical, and Geo-Political Implications. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 1-6.
    Practical quantum computing devices and their applications to AI in particular are presently mostly speculative. Nevertheless, questions about whether this future technology, if achieved, presents any special ethical issues are beginning to take shape. As with any novel technology, one can be reasonably confident that the challenges presented by "quantum AI" will be a mixture of something new and something old. Other commentators (Sevilla & Moreno 2019), have emphasized continuity, arguing that quantum computing does not substantially affect approaches to value (...)
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  7. Multi-level computational methods for interdisciplinary research in the HathiTrust Digital Library.Jaimie Murdock, Colin Allen, Katy Börner, Robert Light, Simon McAlister, Andrew Ravenscroft, Robert Rose, Doori Rose, Jun Otsuka, David Bourget, John Lawrence & Chris Reed - 2017 - PLoS ONE 12 (9).
    We show how faceted search using a combination of traditional classification systems and mixed-membership topic models can go beyond keyword search to inform resource discovery, hypothesis formulation, and argument extraction for interdisciplinary research. Our test domain is the history and philosophy of scientific work on animal mind and cognition. The methods can be generalized to other research areas and ultimately support a system for semi-automatic identification of argument structures. We provide a case study for the application of the methods to (...)
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  8. A Tale of Two Froggies.Colin Allen - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (sup1):104-115.
    In this paper I argue that selection of the best theory of content is not a matter for mere philosophical reflection on the consequences of each theory for our intuitive judgments about content. Rather, the theories must be judged in a different way that is based on the putative roles of content attribution in the behavioural sciences. The ultimate test of any theory of content will be the success of the sciences that adopt it. Furthermore, alternative semantic theories may be (...)
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