Coherence in Thought and Action

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This book is an essay on how people make sense of each other and the world they live in. Making sense is the activity of fitting something puzzling into a coherent pattern of mental representations that include concepts, beliefs, goals, and actions. Paul Thagard proposes a general theory of coherence as the satisfaction of multiple interacting constraints, and discusses the theory's numerous psychological and philosophical applications. Much of human cognition can be understood in terms of coherence as constraint satisfaction, and many of the central problems of philosophy can be given coherence-based solutions. Thagard shows how coherence can help to unify psychology and philosophy, particularly when addressing questions of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. He also shows how coherence can integrate cognition and emotion.
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Editorial Reviews

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"...this book is certainly a competing, and capable, candidate."Metapsychology

" Coherence in Thought and Action is certainly a competing, and capable, candidate." Metapsychology

Coherence in Thought and Action is certainly a competing, and capable, candidate.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul Thagard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of The Cognitive Science of Science (MIT Press,2012) and many other books.

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Table of Contents


1 Coherence in Philosophy and Psychology
1 Coherence in Psychology
2 Coherence in Philosophy
3 Why Philosophy Abandoned Psychology
4 Cognitive Naturalism
5 Summary
2 Coherence as Constraint Satisfaction
1 Constraint Satisfaction
2 Coherence Problems
3 Computing Coherence
4 Measuring Coherence
5 Summary
3 Knowledge
1 Haack's "Foundherentism" and Explanatory Coherence
2 Analogical Coherence
3 Deductive Coherence
4 Perceptual Coherence
5 Conceptual Coherence
6 Unifying Coherence
7 Objections to Coherene Theories
8 Language
9 Summary
4 Reality
1 Truth and the World
2 Correspondence and Approximate Truth
3 Mind and Body
4 Other Minds
5 God
6 Summary
7 Appendix' The Comparative Coherence of Materialism, Dualism, and
5 Ethics and Politics
1 Deliberative Coherence
2 Deductive Coherence
3 Explanatory Coherence
4 Analogical Coherence
5 Making Sense of Ethics
6 Putting It All Together
7 The Coherence of Abortion
8 Normative Issues
9 Politics' Justifying the State
10 What Kind of State?
11 Conclusion
12 Summary
6 Emotion
1 The Importance of Trust
2 Coherence-Based Inference
3 Emotional Coherence' Theory
4 Emotional Coherence' Model
5 Emotional Coherence and Trust
6 Empathy
7 Nationalism
8 Metacoherence
9 Beauty and Symmetry
10 Humor
11 Cognitive Therapy
12 Evidence for Emotional Coherence Theory
13 Normative Considerations
14 Summary
7 Consensus
1 Consensus in Science and Medicine
2 A Model of Consensus
3Consensus and the Causes of Ulcers
4 Consensus and the Origin of the Moon
5 Benefits of Consensus Conferences
6 Consensus in Value Judgments
7 Summary
8 Probability
1 Two Traditions in Causal Reasoning
2 Probabilistic Networks
3 Translating ECHO into Probabilistic Networks
4 Tracking Probabilistic Problems with ECHO
5 Conclusion
6 Summary
9 The Future of Coherence
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