Isn't Everyone an Optimist? The Case of Complex Reasoning

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI:
Isn't Everyone an Optimist? The Case of Complex Reasoning

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This chapter examines how models can be used to make inferences about relations among sets. The model theory predicts that the inferences that depend on a repeated use of a premise — a recursion — should be harder than immediate inferences. It also looks at whether the inferences occur anywhere outside the psychological laboratory. As soon as three quantified sets occur in a single relation, where each set has infinitely many possibilities, no guarantee exists that an inference is invalid. And sentences can soon be created that neither can be understood nor reason about correctly. Psychologists have barely peeped into this abyss.

Keywords: complex reasoning; model theory; inferences; single relation

Chapter.  3539 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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