Article

Normative Systems: Logic, Probability, and Rational Choice

Nick Chater and Mike Oaksford

in The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199734689
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734689.013.0002

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Normative Systems: Logic, Probability, and Rational Choice

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Normative theories of how people should reason have been central to the development of the cognitive science of thinking and reasoning, both as standards against which how thought is assessed and as sources of hypotheses about how thought might operate. This chapter sketches three particularly important types of normative system: logic, probability, and rational choice theory, stressing that these can each be viewed as providing consistency conditions on thought. From the perspective of understanding thought, logic can be viewed as providing consistency conditions on beliefs; probability provides consistency conditions on degrees of beliefs; and rational choice provides consistency conditions on choices. Limitations of current normative approaches are discussed. Throughout this chapter, we provide pointers concerning how these ideas link with the empirical study of thinking and reasoning, as described in this book.

Keywords: logic; probability; rational choice; decision theory; consistency; normative explanation

Article.  8092 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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