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What is Reasoning?

Mind 127 (505):167-196 (2018)

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  1. Reasoning and Presuppositions.Carlotta Pavese - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    It is a platitude that when we reason, we often take things for granted, sometimes even justifiably so. The chemist might reason from the fact that a substance turns litmus paper red to that substance being an acid. In so doing, they take for granted, reasonably enough, that this test for acidity is valid. Although it is a platitude that we often take things for granted when we reason—whether justifiably or not—one might think that we do not have to. In (...)
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  • How Inference Isn’T Blind: Self-Conscious Inference and its Role in Doxastic Agency.David Jenkins - 2019 - Dissertation, King’s College London
    This thesis brings together two concerns. The first is the nature of inference—what it is to infer—where inference is understood as a distinctive kind of conscious and self-conscious occurrence. The second concern is the possibility of doxastic agency. To be capable of doxastic agency is to be such that one is capable of directly exercising agency over one’s beliefs. It is to be capable of exercising agency over one’s beliefs in a way which does not amount to mere self-manipulation. Subjects (...)
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  • Inferring as a Way of Knowing.Nicholas Koziolek - 2017 - Synthese (Suppl 7):1563-1582.
    Plausibly, an inference is an act of coming to believe something on the basis of something else you already believe. But what is it to come to believe some- thing on the basis of something else? I propose a disjunctive answer: it is either for some beliefs to rationally cause another—where rational causation is understood as causation that is either actually or potentially productive of knowledge—or for some beliefs to “deviantly” cause another, but for the believer mistakenly to come thereby (...)
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  • Reasoning and Grasping Objects.Rea Golan - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    There is a pervasive view that inference—as opposed, notably, to a grasp of objects—is an intralinguistic process that does not draw on extralinguistic resources. The present paper aims to show that this dichotomy between inferring and grasping objects can be resisted. Specifically, I offer an alternative view: a phenomenological account according to which our most basic inferences draw on our grasp of objects. I motivate this account on the grounds that, although it is restricted to such basic inferences, it has (...)
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  • The Epistemic Role of Core Cognition.Zoe Jenkin - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):251-298.
    According to a traditional picture, perception and belief have starkly different epistemic roles. Beliefs have epistemic statuses as justified or unjustified, depending on how they are formed and maintained. In contrast, perceptions are “unjustified justifiers.” Core cognition is a set of mental systems that stand at the border of perception and belief, and has been extensively studied in developmental psychology. Core cognition's borderline states do not fit neatly into the traditional epistemic picture. What is the epistemic role of these states? (...)
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  • Epistemology.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? (...)
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  • Infinite Reasoning.Jared Warren - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):385-407.
    Our relationship to the infinite is controversial. But it is widely agreed that our powers of reasoning are finite. I disagree with this consensus; I think that we can, and perhaps do, engage in infinite reasoning. Many think it is just obvious that we can't reason infinitely. This is mistaken. Infinite reasoning does not require constructing infinitely long proofs, nor would it gift us with non-recursive mental powers. To reason infinitely we only need an ability to perform infinite inferences. I (...)
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  • A Brief History of Rationality: Reason, Reasonableness, Rationality, and Reasons.Karl Schafer - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (4):501-529.
    In this paper, I present a brief (and more than a little potted) history of the concepts of reason, rationality, reasonableness, and reasons in modern European philosophy and consider whether this history might support the "Anscombean" conclusion that, "The concepts of rationality and reasons ought to jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of psychology and philosophy which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it.".
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  • How Reasoning Aims at Truth.David Horst - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):221-241.
    Many hold that theoretical reasoning aims at truth. In this paper, I ask what it is for reasoning to be thus aim-directed. Standard answers to this question explain reasoning’s aim-directedness in terms of intentions, dispositions, or rule-following. I argue that, while these views contain important insights, they are not satisfactory. As an alternative, I introduce and defend a novel account: reasoning aims at truth in virtue of being the exercise of a distinctive kind of cognitive power, one that, unlike ordinary (...)
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  • The Guise of Good Reason.Ulf Hlobil - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (2):204-224.
    The paper argues for a version of the Guise of the Good thesis, namely the claim that if someone acts as the result of practical reasoning, then she takes her premises to jointly provide a sufficient and undefeated reason for her action. I argue for this by showing, first, that it is an application of Boghossian's Taking Condition on inference to practical reasoning and, second, that the motivations for the Taking Condition for theoretical reasoning carry over to practical reasoning. I (...)
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  • Naturalizing the contributory.Philip Fox - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    This paper has two aims. First, I critically discuss Daniel Whiting’s :2191–2208, 2018) recent proposal that a reason to ϕ is evidence of a respect in which it is right to ϕ. I raise two objections against this view: it is subject to a modified version of Eva Schmidt’s :708–718, 2018) counterexample against the influential account of reasons in terms of evidence and ‘ought’, and—setting aside judgments about specific cases—, it is also in an important sense uninformative. Interestingly, it turns (...)
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  • The Conclusion of Practical Reasoning.John Brunero - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (1):13-37.
    According to the Aristotelian Thesis, the conclusion of practical reasoning is an action. Critics argue against it by pointing to cases in which some interference or inability prevents the production of action, yet in which that interference or inability doesn’t impugn the success of an agent’s reasoning. Some of those critics suggest instead that practical reasoning concludes in an intention, while others suggest it concludes in a belief with normative content, such as a belief about what one has conclusive, or (...)
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  • Reasoning's Relation to Bodily Action.David Jenkins - 2020 - Ratio 33 (2):87-96.
    Recent philosophical work on the relation between reasoning and bodily action is dominated by two views. It is orthodox to have it that bodily actions can be at most causally involved in reasoning. Others have it that reasoning can constitutively involve bodily actions, where this is understood as a matter of non‐mental bodily events featuring as constituents of practical reasoning. Reflection on cases of reasoning out‐loud suggests a neglected alternative on which both practical and theoretical reasoning can have bodily actions (...)
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  • Reasoning Beyond Belief Acquisition.Daniel Drucker - forthcoming - Noûs.
    I argue that we can reason not only to new beliefs but to basically any change in attitude we can think of, including the abandonment of belief (contra John Broome), the acquisition of non-belief attitudes like relief and admiration, and the elimination of the same. To argue for this position, which I call generalism, I defend a sufficient condition on reasoning, roughly that we can reason to any change in attitude that is expressed by the conclusion of an argument we (...)
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  • Is Reasoning Responding to Reasons?Franziska Poprawe - 2020 - Philosophical Explorations 23 (2):146-159.
    Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2020, Page 146-159.
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  • Unconscious Rationalization, Or: How (Not) to Think About Awfulness and Death.Jake Quilty-Dunn - manuscript
    Many contemporary epistemologists take rational inference to be a conscious action performed by the thinker (Boghossian 2014; 2018; Valaris 2014; Malmgren 2018). It is tempting to think that rational evaluability requires responsibility, which in turn requires conscious action. In that case, unconscious cognition involves merely associative or otherwise arational processing. This paper argues instead for deep rationalism: unconscious inference often exhibits the same rational status and richly structured logical character as conscious inference. The central case study is rationalization, in which (...)
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  • Perverse Reasons.Francesco Orsi - forthcoming - Philosophy:1-24.
    For an agent to be motivated by a normatively perverse reason is to be motivated by a normative or evaluative thought as such which, if true, would count as such against the action that it motivates the agent to perform, or against the attitude that it motivates the agent to take. For example, that an action is morally wrong or prudentially bad counts, as such, against performing the action. When the thought that an action is morally wrong or prudentially bad (...)
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  • Intuition, Hypothesis, and Reality.David K. Johnson - 1991 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Realism about the external, natural world is an overarching empirical hypothesis. The method of hypothetical realism rejects as an excessive concession to the skeptic these two assumptions of constructivist intuitionism: first, that everything real must be exhaustively inspectable; and second, that our beliefs are to be justified to the point of certainty. We prefer to say that nothing is ever known directly; that all of our contact with the world is mediated by thoughts, words, and percepts construed as signs having (...)
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  • Inferring by Attaching Force.Ulf Hlobil - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):701-714.
    The paper offers an account of inference. The account underwrites the idea that inference requires that the reasoner takes her premises to support her conclusion. I reject views according to which such ‘takings’ are intuitions or beliefs. I sketch an alternative view on which inferring consists in attaching what I call ‘inferential force’ to a structured collection of contents.
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  • Fittingness and Good Reasoning.John Brunero - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).
    Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way have defended a view of good reasoning according to which good reasoning is explained in terms of the preservation of fittingness. I argue that their Fittingness View is incorrect. Not all fittingness-preserving transitions in thought are instances of good reasoning.
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  • Goodness-Fixing Isn’T Good Enough: A Reply to McHugh and Way.Ulf Hlobil - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1309-1318.
    According to McHugh and Way reasoning is a person-level attitude revision that is regulated by its constitutive aim of getting fitting attitudes. They claim that this account offers an explanation of what is wrong with reasoning in ways one believes to be bad and that this explanation is an alternative to an explanation that appeals to the so-called Taking Condition. I argue that their explanation is unsatisfying.
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  • Reasoning and Deducing.Markos Valaris - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):861-885.
    What exactly is reasoning? While debate on this question is ongoing, most philosophers seem to agree on at least the following: reasoning is a mental process operating on contents, which consists in adopting or revising some of your attitudes in light of others. In this paper, I argue that this characterisation is mistaken: there is no single mental phenomenon that satisfies both of these conditions. Instead, I characterise two distinct mental phenomena, which I call ‘deducing’, on the one hand, and (...)
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  • We Cannot Infer by Accepting Testimony.Ulf Hlobil - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2589-2598.
    While we can judge and believe things by merely accepting testimony, we cannot make inferences by merely accepting testimony. A good theory of inference should explain this. The theories that are best suited to explain this fact seem to be theories that accept a so-called intuitional construal of Boghossian’s Taking Condition.
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  • Reasoning, Rational Requirements, and Occurrent Attitudes.Wooram Lee - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1343-1357.
    This paper explores the sense in which rational requirements govern our attitudes like belief and intention. I argue that there is a tension between the idea that rational requirements govern attitudes understood as standing states and the attractive idea that we can directly satisfy the requirements by performing reasoning. I identify the tension by (a) illustrating how a dispositional conception of belief can cause trouble for the idea that we can directly revise our attitudes through reasoning by considering John Broome's (...)
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