Mittwoch, 21. Februar 2018

Umstände und Entscheidungen:

"Umstände und Entscheidung sind die beiden grundlegenden Elemente, aus denen sich das Leben aufbaut."

Ortega y Gasset

Dienstag, 20. Februar 2018

Epistemic Rationality:

"Epistemic rationality describes a truth- and search for knowledge-orientated attitude in thinking guided by logicality, empiricity and argumentativity. It starts with an orientation in thinking (Kant, 1786). That is to say, the willingness and ability to align one's thinking to truth; to direct it towards correctness, justification and argumentation; an attitude to admit objective problems for one's own thinking and to consider them as problems that are solvable by thinking; to avoid solving problems by intuition, tradition, majority opinion, zeitgeist, compulsion or violence; to choose an attitude based on arguments in interaction with oneself, with others and problems; to accept only logic, empirical evidence and good reasons; not to accept persuasion by others, reputation or power or other criteria not based on arguments; to use in epistemic communication an appropriately precise and comprehensible language, including the language of mathematics.
This also includes trying to rationally reconstruct the statements of others. The ideas of others are apprehended in a productive way as valuable ideas for epistemic purposes. Truth is in single statements, not in the characteristics of the proponents of statements (even where they are empirically correlated). Statements in their logical, empirical and argumentative substance are important, not what a person as an individual thinks or has mentioned at other places. Theories are developed based on observations and thinking, and observations and thinking serve as criteria of theories. Inductive and deductive reasoning work together.
Epistemic rationality can also be used as the landmark for navigating through scientific thunderstorms: science sometimes creates tensions between research findings and society. It becomes quite difficult to overcome the dominance of the political within research. Epistemic-scientific principles can be in conflict with, in their frame, legitimate economic, cultural and ideological interests, usually represented by the political class, media, church or intellectuals. However, in hotly debated areas of research, fundamental principles of scientific thinking should be maintained. Here, too, the aim is to find knowledge: true and new knowledge. Scientists write for a rational reader who can be convinced (a willingness and an ability) through argumentation using logic, empirical facts and systematic reasoning. Freedom of research and respect for others in their scientific endeavour are helpful for the scientific community to progress in this direction (e.g. Mill, 1859; Flynn, 2007).
Other orientations, which may be legitimate in their fields, can be empirically relevant as catalysers or obstacles, but not for science as an endeavour to pursue truth. In science, from an epistemic view, only the truth or falseness of statements matter and an angel's truth is as true as a devil's truth. It is irrelevant if a statement is blue or red, progressive or conservative, up or down, right or left, politically correct or not, morally superior or not, published here or there, welcomed  and repeated by the right or wrong people. Of importance is if it is correctly describing the world and explaining it, and secondly, if it is new and helpful for the development of inspiring theoretical approaches. Statements, developed by Marxists, burghers or reactionists, men or women, Christians or atheists, Westerners or marginalised, of people we like or not, can be true. If Hitler (or Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein) would have said on Friday 'tomorrow is Saturday', this is more true than if Jesus (or Marx, Buddha, Nobel laureates) would have said on Friday 'tomorrow is Thursday'.
Not all of those acting and arguing in science and the media dealing with science have always observed such principles. Some participants of past conflicts have suffered from offensive treatment, including violent attacks. However, intellectual conflicts are not new in the history of thought, as the fate of scholars like Thomas Aquinas, Galilei, Spinoza or Darwin showed. From  today's perspective many past disputes sound quite ridiculous and their formerly not questionable 'arguments' are today scientifically and ethically disapproved. But those conflicts have been important in developing in the  long run a climate of legitimate argumentation and thinking. The frequently difficult process of enlightenment would not been strengthened if people shied away from such conflicts.
Today, due to its increased 'embeddedness' in society, research on disputed subjects is becoming even more difficult. The influence of media, political interest groups, politics and economic pressures is stronger than around one century ago. It becomes difficult to imagine an independent person such as Max Weber for today's science. A scientific orientation needs not only to be established in society, but in science and among scientists themselves, in science as institutions (universities, journals, publishers) and in science as individual researchers.
An obvious problem of an epistemic rationality approach is that it does not provide researchers with an operating manual describing in detail what to do. But researchers cannot delegate their task to deal with questions of how to do research. Research only implementing given standards is less science than a routine carried out in a quasi-authoritarian manner. A further problem is that many people in scientific institutions, including those in leading positions, are strongly interested in non-scientific aims. They are occupied with keeping things running; papers and presentations have to be produced, funds raised, success of oneself and one's staff to be promoted. Success in these measures is more important than any reflective approach towards science. Not uncommonly, practised science lacks a scientific orientation.
The aims of research cannot be to repeat zeitgeist. Science is not the Vuvuzela of currently dominating views. But science also does not have the task of provoking those views. It simply pursues epistemic aims, whether there is an overlap with the zeitgeist or not. This includes overlaps with what is known as 'Mokita' or 'stereotypes'. 'Mokita' or 'Elephant in the room', is the term for the truth that everybody knows but no one expresses and all agree about not expressing. Statements that are known as 'stereotypes' or 'prejudices' are usually considered to be essentially wrong; however, they can also be true and empirically they are among the most correct existing statements (Ashton & Esses, 1999, Jussim, 2012): according to self assessment and measured objective data and including meta-analyses, the average correlation between stereotypes and criteria as group averages is about r=.81. This correlation is much higher than the average effects and replication rates in social psychology. And it is of similar size to the correlation between two measures of an identical construct on the country level - of GDP Maddison and Penn with r=.87."

Heiner Rindermann - Cognitive Capitalism


Ein wichtiger Aspekt der "Selbstfindung" besteht im Suchen und Finden von Zielen, für die es sich zu leben lohnt. Ein weiterer Aspekt besteht darin, über ein ausreichendes Maß an Selbstkontrolle zu verfügen, um gefundene Ziele auch effektiv anstreben zu können.

[Siehe auch: Personality traits and their cybernetic functions]

Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018


Warum findet sich bei manchen Menschen so ein außergewöhnlich hohes Maß an Motivation, das Verhalten und die Meinungen anderer Personen auf Konformität hin zu überwachen? Es ergibt sich der Eindruck, als ob der eigentliche Konformitätsdruck innerhalb einer Gesellschaft meist nur von einem kleinen Bruchteil an Personen dieser Gesellschaft hochenthusiastisch ausgeübt wird.

Samstag, 17. Februar 2018

Sexual Signal Loss

Sexual Signal Loss: The Link between Behavior and Rapid Evolutionary Dynamics in a Field Cricket
Marlene Zuk, Nathan W. Bailey, Brian Gray, John T. Rotenberry; 2018


1. Sexual signals may be acquired or lost over evolutionary time, and are tempered in their exaggeration by natural selection.

2. In the Pacific field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus, a mutation (“flatwing”) causing loss of the sexual signal, the song, spread in < 20 generations in two of three Hawaiian islands where the crickets have been introduced. Flatwing (as well as some normal-wing) males behave as satellites, moving towards and settling near calling males to intercept phonotactic females.

3. From 2005-2012, we surveyed crickets and their responses to conspecific song, noting the morph and number of males and females before and after experimental playbacks. The three Hawaiian islands consistently contained different proportions of flatwing crickets, ranging from about 90% of males on Kauai to 50% on Oahu to rare on the Big Island of Hawaii.

4. Flatwing and normal-wing males do not appear to differ in responsiveness to playback, a behavior that should influence the likelihood of a male encountering a phonotactic female. Instead, male and female crickets from populations in which little to no calling song is perceptible during development tended to seek out callers more readily than crickets that developed in noisier environments. Such increased phonotaxis makes females more likely to find either the caller to which they are responding or to encounter a flatwing (or normal male satellite) that has also been attracted to the song.

5. Our evidence suggests that pre-existing behavioral plasticity (manifest as flexible responses to social – particularly acoustic – information in the environment) is associated with the rapid spread of the flatwing trait. Different social environments select for differential success of flatwing or normal-wing males, which in turn alters the social environment itself.

Mittwoch, 14. Februar 2018

Disziplin & Interesse:

Was vermögen Disziplin und Selbstkasteiung beim Lernen? Wie viel vermag das Interesse? Manches scheint durch Disziplin erreichbar, was bloßem Interesse unerreichbar scheint. Zu manchem Wissenserwerb leistet wohl Interesse einen Beitrag, wie ihn Disziplin kaum leisten kann. Vermutlich haftet beiden Herangehensweisen ein jeweils eigener Vorzug an. Besser ist es, sich keiner Herangehensweise exklusiv zu verschreiben.


Verbale Stoffe sind in der Regel nicht sonderlich schwer verständlich, anders verhält es sich mit  Stoffen aus der Mathematik oder den Computerwissenschaften: Hier kann man sich zwar vorübergehend Zeit nehmen und den subjektiv besonders interessanten Aspekten des Lernstoffs Aufmerksamkeit widmen. Darauf macht es aber Sinn, systematisch vorzugehen, und gerade mühsame und schwer verständliche Aspekte des Lernstoffs hochkonzentriert durchzukauen.