Chapter

Syllogisms and Reasoning about Properties

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551330.003.0010
Syllogisms and Reasoning about Properties

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This chapter describes the syllogisms and reasoning about properties. A mental model represents a set of entities as an iconic set of referents. The underlying processes for reasoning about sets are straightforward and echo those for reasoning about identities and non-identities. Two sorts of inference are important. A general principle in building models is parsimony. It aims to represent as few distinct sorts of individual as possible. Most psychological studies of reasoning about properties have examined syllogisms. It is supposed that the reason behind this is the baleful influence of traditional logic. The simple ability to draw a correct conclusion does not discriminate among theories of reasoning.

Keywords: syllogisms; reasoning; properties; mental model

Chapter.  5529 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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