Cognition and Conditionals: Probability and Logic in Human Thinking

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9780199233298: Cognition and Conditionals: Probability and Logic in Human Thinking
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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 had things 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 of reasoning 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 how the 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 an integrative 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 logic and 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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About the Author:


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 Cardiff University in 1996 as Professor of Experimental Psychology, a post he held until 2005 when he moved to Birkbeck College, University of London. He has authored or edited seven books (four with OUP) and over 100 articles. His research interests are in the area of human reasoning and argumentation. In particular, with Nick Chater and Ulrike Hahn, he has been developing a Bayesian probabilistic approach to classical deductive reasoning tasks and to the classical fallacies of informal argumentation. He also studies the way the emotions interact with reasoning and decision making processes. Nick Chater is Professor of Cognitive and Decision Sciences at University College London. He was a PhD student at the Centre for Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh. He was then a lecturer at University of College London, before moving to lectureships at Edinburgh and then at Oxford. In 1996 he moved to Warwick University as Professor of Psychology, a post he held until 2005 when he moved back to University College London. He has authored or edited seven books (three with OUP) and over one hundred and fifty scientific publications in psychology, philosophy, psycholinguistics, and cognitive science. His research explores formal models of inference, choice, and language.

Review:

Review from other book by this author:
"Oaksford and Chater make a very strong case in favour of a probabilistic view of human reasoning. This publication in therefore highly recommended to any cognitive psychologists, and particularly to master's or doctoral students doing research in this field."

--The Psychologist

"Oaksford and Chater have been at the center of a major reconceptualization of how humans reason. This book explains the deep reasons for this new approach and provides an excellent summary of their work."

--Professor John R. Anderson, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

"Oaksford and Chater convincingly argue that rationality in the real world cannot be reduced to logical thinking and demonstrate how apparently logical problems can instead be reconstructed in a probabilistic way. This is an important step towards the ultimate goal of understanding the
heuristic mechanisms underlying behavior. An excellent book on a Bayesian approach to cognition."

--Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany

"For years, Oaksford and Chater have taken a maverick approach to the analysis of human reasoning, applying probabilistic ideas to construct radically new interpretations of what people are doing when they reason and whether or not those actions are rational. The field has started to follow
Oaksford and Chater's lead; probabilistic concepts are becoming central to all areas of cognitive science. In this book, Oaksford and Chater offer an exceptionally lucid and compelling introduction to their own work and in the process provide an accessible introduction to a number of technical
issues in reasoning. This book is a must for those interested in the latest theoretical ideas in the study of human reasoning."

--Professor Steve Sloman, Brown University, USA

"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 of
deductive 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

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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; toregulate behaviour, e.g., if you are drinking beer, you must be over 18 years of age; to suggest what would have happened had things 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 ofmost 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 of reasoning 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 behaviourmore as succesful probabilistic reasoning rather than as errorful logical reasoning. It shows how the 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 probabilisticapproaches-have responded to these insights. Its organisation reflects the view that an integrative 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 logic and 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. Seller Inventory # BZE9780199233298

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