How We Reason

Paperback | October 29, 2008

byPhilip Johnson-Laird

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Good reasoning can lead to success; bad reasoning can lead to catastrophe. Yet, it's not obvious how we reason, and why we make mistakes - so much of our mental life goes on outside our awareness. In recent years huge strides have been made into developing a scientific understanding ofreasoning. This book by one of the pioneers of the field, Philip Johnson-Laird, looks at the mental processes that underlie our reasoning. It provides the most accessible account yet of the science of reasoning. We can all reason from our childhood onwards - but how? 'How We Reason' outlines a bold approach to understanding reasoning. According to this approach, we don't rely on the laws of logic or probability - we reason by thinking about what's possible, we reason by seeing what is common to thepossibilities. As the book shows, this approach can answer many of the questions about how we reason, and what causes mistakes in our reasoning that can lead to disasters such as Chernobyl. It shows why our irrational fears may become psychological illnesses, why terrorists develop 'crazy'ideologies, and how we can act in order to improve our reasoning. The book ends by looking at the role of reasoning in three extraordinary case histories: the Wright brothers' use of analogies in inventing their flyer, the cryptanalysts' deductions in breaking the German's Enigma code in World WarII, and Dr. John Snow's inductive reasoning in discovering how cholera spread from one person to another. Accessible, stimulating, and controversial, 'How We Reason' presents a bold new approach to understanding one of the most intriguing facets of being human.

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From the Publisher

Good reasoning can lead to success; bad reasoning can lead to catastrophe. Yet, it's not obvious how we reason, and why we make mistakes - so much of our mental life goes on outside our awareness. In recent years huge strides have been made into developing a scientific understanding ofreasoning. This book by one of the pioneers of the ...

Phil Johnson-Laird was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1936. He left school at the age of 15 and spent ten years in a variety of occupations until he went to University College, London to read psychology. He later gained his Ph.D. there under the supervision of Peter Wason, and he joined the faculty in 1966. In 1971, he was a visiting ...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:584 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.3 inPublished:October 29, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199551332

ISBN - 13:9780199551330

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I - The World in our Conscious Minds2. Icons and Images3. Models of Possibilities: From Conjuring Tricks to DisastersPart II - The World in our Unconscious Minds4. Mental Architecture and the Unconscious5. Intuitions and Unconscious Reasoning6. Emotions as Inferences7. Reasoning in Psychological IllnessesPart III - How We Make Deductions8. Only Connections9. I'm my own Grandpa: Reasoning About Identities and Other Relations10. Syllogisms and Reasoning about Properties11. Isn't Everyone an Optimist? The Case of Complex ReasoningPart IV - How We Make Inductions12. Modulation: A Step Towards Induction13. Knowledge and Inductions14. Sherlock Holmes's Method: Abduction15. The Balance of ProbabilitiesPart V - What Makes us Rational16. Counterexamples17. Truths, Lies, and the Higher ReasoningPart VI - How We Develop our Ability to Reason18. On Development19. Strategies and Cultures20. How We can Improve our ReasoningPart VII - Knowledge, Beliefs, and Problems21. The Puzzles of If22. Causes and Obligations23. Beliefs, Heresies, and Changes in Mind24. How we Solve ProblemsPart VIII - Expert Reasoning in Technology, Logic, and Science25. Flying Bicycles: How the Wright Brothers Invented the Airplane26. Unwrapping an Enigma27. On the Mode of the Communication of Cholera28. How we Reason

Editorial Reviews

`Philip Johnson-Laird's Mental Model Theory owes its outstanding impact on the psychology of reasoning to its unique breadth, insightfulness, and creativity. In 'How we Reason', Johnson-Laird has achieved the feat of presenting this challenging view of human thinking in a simple and yetcomprehensive way, with concrete examples and elegant explanations. This highly readable book deserves a wide audience. 'Dan Sperber, Director of Research, CNRS, Paris