Chapter

How we Reason

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/9780199551330.003.0028
How we Reason

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This chapter explains the heart of a human's reasoning. Mental models of possibilities are at the heart of this reasoning. The theory confronts two challenges that pull in opposite directions. It must account for the nature of the errors that are made in reasoning; and it must explain the potential for rationality. At the heart of human rationality are some simple principles that are recognized: a conclusion must be the case if it holds in all the possibilities compatible with the premises. The models that have been argued for here underlie deduction, induction, and abduction. The argument of this book is that reasoning depends on mental models, and that a conclusion can be comprehended which follows from premises if it holds for every model of the premises.

Keywords: reasoning; human rationality; mental models of possibilities; deduction; induction; abduction

Chapter.  4208 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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