Chapter

PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF THEORETICAL REASONING

Gilbert Harman

in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145397
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199752393 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195145399.003.0003
 PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF THEORETICAL REASONING

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Harman distinguishes between two uses of the term “logic”: as referring either to the theory of implication or to the theory of reasoning, which are quite distinct. His interest here is reasoning: a process that can modify intentions and beliefs. To a first approximation, theoretical reasoning is concerned with what to believe and practical reasoning is concerned with what to intend to do, although it is possible to have practical reasons to believe something. Practical considerations are relevant to whether to engage in theoretical inquiry into a given question, the extent of time and other resources to devote to such inquiry, and whether and when to end such inquiry. Simplicity and conservatism play a role in theoretical reasoning that can be given a practical justification without allowing wishful thinking into theoretical reasoning, a justification that can also be given a non-practical interpretation.

Keywords: belief; conservatism; inquiry; intention; logic; practical; reasoning; simplicity; theoretical

Chapter.  4962 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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