Domain-Specific Reasoning

Gerd Gigerenzer

in Adaptive Thinking

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153729
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849222 | DOI:

Series: Evolution and Cognition Series

Domain-Specific Reasoning

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This chapter first introduces the challenge of domain specificity and then applies a domain-specific theory for a specific adaptive problem, social exchange, to a reasoning task that has puzzled researchers for several decades. It describes a domain-specific theory of cognition that relates reasoning to the evolutionary theory of reciprocal altruism. This theory turns the traditional approach upside down. It does not start out with a general-purpose principle from logic or probability theory or a variant thereof: it takes social objectives as fundamental, which in turn makes content fundamental, because social objectives have specific contents. Traditional formal principles of rationality are not imposed; they can be entailed or not, depending on the social objectives.

Keywords: domain-specific reasoning; social exchange; cognition; cheating detection; social contracts; social objectives

Chapter.  6071 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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