Learning from Others

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By taky
Words 293
Pages 2
Children are often compared to scientists, but even a perfect scientist, using experiments alone, would struggle to rediscover all of human knowledge in the span of one lifetime. How then are children able to acquire a good fraction of this knowledge in just a few years? The answer must be that children do not rediscover everything—they use their ability to reason intuitively about other people to learn what others already know. It is the goal of this paper to sketch a formal analysis of learning from knowledgeable others, by using the tools of Bayesian inference and a careful examination of the kinds of goals that give rise to human actions. We begin by motivating the need of a learner to consider the particular goals of people in their environment. Imagine, while living in Paris, you decide to search for the best cup of coffee in the city. As you wander, you find yourself a good distance away from your neighborhood. You observe three different pieces of evidence: first, a man wearing a baseball cap and an “I heart Paris” t-shirt
(obviously a tourist) turns into cafe #1, buys a coffee, and looks down at his cup. Second,
Véronique, a woman from your neighborhood, enters cafe #2 to get a coffee, and looks down at her cup. Third, Madeleine, another woman from your neighborhood, goes into cafe #3 and buys a cup. Madeleine sees you, and she nods at the coffee.
Which cafe would you think has the best coffee? You know very little about the coffee at cafe #1, because the tourist likely chose the cafe at random. Cafe #2 was visited by a local, but maybe Véronique was just strapped for time and grabbing a cuppa wherever she could.…...

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