Cognition and Conditionals: Probability and Logic in Human Thinking

Hardcover | May 14, 2010

EditorMike Oaksford, Nick Chater

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The conditional, if...then, is probably the most important term in natural language and forms the core of systems of logic and mental representation. It occurs in all human languages and allows people to express their knowledge of the causal or law-like structure of the world and of others'behaviour, e.g., if you turn the key the car starts, if John walks the dog he stops for a pint of beer; to make promises, e.g., if you cook tonight, I'll wash up all week; to regulate behaviour, e.g., if you are drinking beer, you must be over 18 years of age; to suggest what would have happened hadthings been different, e.g., if the match had been dry it would have lit, among many other possible uses. The way in which the conditional is modelled also determines the core of most logical systems. Unsurprisingly, it is also the most researched expression in the psychology of human reasoning.Cognition and Conditionals is the first volume for over 20 years (On Conditionals, 1986, CUP) that brings together recent developments in the cognitive science and psychology of conditional reasoning. Over the last 10 to 15 years, research on conditionals has come to dominate the psychology ofreasoning providing a rich seam of results that have created new theoretical possibilities. This book shows how these developments have led researchers to view people's conditional reasoning behaviour more as succesful probabilistic reasoning rather than as errorful logical reasoning. It shows howthe multifarious, and apparently competing, theoretical positions developed over the last 50 years in this area - mental logics, mental models, heuristic approaches, dual process theory, and probabilistic approaches-have responded to these insights. Its organisation reflects the view that anintegrative approach is emerging that may need to exploit aspects of all these theoretical positions to explain the rich and complex phenomenon of reasoning with conditionals. It includes an introductory chapter relating the development of the psychology of reasoning to developments in the logicand semantics of the conditional. It also includes chapters by many of the leading figures in this field.Cognition and Conditionals will be a valuable resource for cognitive scientists, psychologists and philosophers interested how people actually reason with conditionals.

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The conditional, if...then, is probably the most important term in natural language and forms the core of systems of logic and mental representation. It occurs in all human languages and allows people to express their knowledge of the causal or law-like structure of the world and of others'behaviour, e.g., if you turn the key the car s...

Mike Oaksford is Professor of Psychology and Head of School at Birkbeck College London. He was a PhD student and subsequently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh. He was then a lecturer at the University of Wales, Bangor, and a senior lecturer at the University of Warwick, before moving to Ca...

other books by Mike Oaksford

Format:HardcoverDimensions:408 pagesPublished:May 14, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199233292

ISBN - 13:9780199233298

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Table of Contents

1. Mike Oaksford and Nick Chater: Cognition and conditionals: An IntroductionWorking Memory: Function, Representation, and ProcessLogic2. David O'Brien and Andrea Manfrinati: The mental logic theory of conditional propositions3. Ruth Byrne and Phil Johnson-Laird: Conditionals and possibilities4. Walter Schroyens: Logic and/in psychology: The paradoxes of material implication and psychologism in the cognitive science of human reasoning5. Keith Stenningand Michiel van Lambalgen: The logical response to a noisy worldProbability6. Vittorio Girotto and Phil Johnson-Laird: Conditionals and probability7. Nilufa Ali, Anne Schlottman, Abigail Shaw, Nick Chater, and Mike Oaksford: Causal discounting and conditional reasoning in children8. David Over, Jonathan Evans, and Shira Elqayam: Conditionals and non-constructive reasoning9. Niki Pfeifer and Gernot Kleiter: The conditional in mental probability logicLong Term Memory: Function, Representation, and ProcessLogic10. Henry Markovits: Semantic memory retrieval, mental models, and the development of conditional inferences in children11. Wim De Neys: Counterexample retrieval and inhibition during conditional reasoning: Direct evidence from memory probingProbability12. Denise Cummins: How semantic memory processes temper causal inferences13. In-mao Liu: A successive-conditionalization approach to conditional reasoning14. Jean-Francois Bonnefon and Guy Politzer: Pragmatic conditionals, conditional pragmatics, and the pragmatic component of conditional reasoningIntegrative Approaches15. Bob Kowalski: Reasoning with conditionals in artificial intelligence16. Sonja Geiger and Klaus Oberauer: Towards a reconciliation of mental model theory and probabilistic theories17. Mike Oaksford and Nick Chater: Conditional inference and constraint satisfaction: Reconciling mental models and the probabilistic approach?18. Valerie Thompson: Towards a metacognitive dual process theory of conditional reasoning19. Niki Verschueren and Walter Schaeken: A multi-layered dual-process approach to conditional reasoning20. Guy Politzer and Jean-Francois Bonnefon: Two aspects of reasoning competence: A challenge for current accounts and a call for new conceptual toolsEpilogue21. Nick Chater and Mike Oaksford: Open issues in the cognitive science of conditionals

Editorial Reviews

"This fascinating book is the capstone of one of the most important and original programs of research on reasoning in the last twenty years. Oaksford and Chater argue persuasively that human thinking is best understood not in terms of how poorly it approximates the philosopher's norms ofdeductive logic, but rather in terms of how well it captures the more powerful and subtle principles of Bayesian probability." --Professor Josh Tenenbaum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA