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Making Ranking Theory Useful for Psychology of Reasoning

Dissertation, University of Konstanz (2014)

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  1. Relevance and Conditionals: A Synopsis of Open Pragmatic and Semantic Issues.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - forthcoming - In S. Elqayam, Igor Douven, J. Evans & N. Cruz (eds.), Festschrift for David Over. Routledge.
    Recently several papers have reported relevance effects on the cognitive assessments of indicative conditionals, which pose an explanatory challenge to the Suppositional Theory of conditionals advanced by David Over, which is influential in the psychology of reasoning. Some of these results concern the “Equation” (P(if A, then C) = P(C|A)), others the de Finetti truth table, and yet others the uncertain and-to-inference task. The purpose of this chapter is to take a Birdseye view on the debate and investigate some of (...)
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  • Cancellation, Negation, and Rejection.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Peter Collins, Karolina Krzyżanowska, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Cognitive Psychology 108:42-71.
    In this paper, new evidence is presented for the assumption that the reason-relation reading of indicative conditionals ('if A, then C') reflects a conventional implicature. In four experiments, it is investigated whether relevance effects found for the probability assessment of indicative conditionals (Skovgaard-Olsen, Singmann, and Klauer, 2016a) can be classified as being produced by a) a conversational implicature, b) a (probabilistic) presupposition failure, or c) a conventional implicature. After considering several alternative hypotheses and the accumulating evidence from other studies as (...)
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  • Norm Conflicts and Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Psychological Review.
    Suppose that two competing norms, N1 and N2, can be identified such that a given person’s response can be interpreted as correct according to N1 but incorrect according to N2. Which of these two norms, if any, should one use to interpret such a response? In this paper we seek to address this fundamental problem by studying individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their case judgments and reflective attitudes. To investigate (...)
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  • Relevance Differently Affects the Truth, Acceptability, and Probability Evaluations of ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘Therefore’, and ‘If Then’.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Hannes Krahl & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):449-482.
    In this study we investigate the influence of reason-relation readings of indicative conditionals and ‘and’/‘but’/‘therefore’ sentences on various cognitive assessments. According to the Frege-Grice tradition, a dissociation is expected. Specifically, differences in the reason-relation reading of these sentences should affect participants’ evaluations of their acceptability but not of their truth value. In two experiments we tested this assumption by introducing a relevance manipulation into the truth-table task as well as in other tasks assessing the participants’ acceptability and probability evaluations. Across (...)
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  • The Relevance Effect and Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Henrik Singmann & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2016 - Cognition 150:26-36.
    More than a decade of research has found strong evidence for P(if A, then C) = P(C|A) (“the Equation”). We argue, however, that this hypothesis provides an overly simplified picture due to its inability to account for relevance. We manipulated relevance in the evaluation of the probability and acceptability of indicative conditionals and found that relevance moderates the effect of P(C|A). This corroborates the Default and Penalty Hypothesis put forward in this paper. Finally, the probability and acceptability of concessive conditionals (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Indicative Conditionals: Formal and Empirical Approaches.Igor Douven - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    Conditionals are sentences of the form 'If A, then B', and they play a central role in scientific, logical, and everyday reasoning. They have been in the philosophical limelight for centuries, and more recently, they have been receiving attention from psychologists, linguists, and computer scientists. In spite of this, many key questions concerning conditionals remain unanswered. While most of the work on conditionals has addressed semantical questions - questions about the truth conditions of conditionals - this book focuses on the (...)
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  • Sellars and His Legacy Ed. By James R. O'Shea. [REVIEW]Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):358-359.
    Wilfred Sellars's deeply original and systematic thought continues to inspire into the twenty-first century. Part of the explanation must be that Sellars's struggle to integrate a Kantian-Wittgensteinian normative view of meaning and intentionality with a naturalistic outlook remains at the forefront of philosophical inquiry. To acknowledge the deep impact that Sellars has had on their work, a list of prominent, contemporary philosophers honor Sellars's legacy in a volume craftily edited by James R. O'Shea with a superb introduction. Like Sellars's own (...)
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  • Putting Inferentialism and the Suppositional Theory of Conditionals to the Test (Second Dissertation, Psychology).Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Freiburg
    This dissertation is devoted to empirically contrasting the Suppositional Theory of conditionals, which holds that indicative conditionals serve the purpose of engaging in hypothetical thought, and Inferentialism, which holds that indicative conditionals express reason relations. Throughout a series of experiments, probabilistic and truth-conditional variants of Inferentialism are investigated using new stimulus materials, which manipulate previously overlooked relevance conditions. These studies are some of the first published studies to directly investigate the central claims of Inferentialism empirically. In contrast, the Suppositional Theory (...)
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  • The Problem of Logical Omniscience, the Preface Paradox, and Doxastic Commitments.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Synthese 194 (3):917-939.
    The main goal of this paper is to investigate what explanatory resources Robert Brandom’s distinction between acknowledged and consequential commitments affords in relation to the problem of logical omniscience. With this distinction the importance of the doxastic perspective under consideration for the relationship between logic and norms of reasoning is emphasized, and it becomes possible to handle a number of problematic cases discussed in the literature without thereby incurring a commitment to revisionism about logic. One such case in particular is (...)
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  • Conditionals: A Unifying Ranking-Theoretic Perspective.Wolfgang Spohn - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    The paper takes an expressivistic perspective, i.e., it takes conditionals of all sorts to primarily express conditional beliefs. Therefore it is based on what it takes to be the best account of conditional belief, namely ranking theory. It proposes not to start looking at the bewildering linguistic phenomenology, but first to systematically study the various options of expressing features of conditional belief. Those options by far transcend the Ramsey test and include relevancies of various kinds and in particular the so-called (...)
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  • Ranking Theory and Conditional Reasoning.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (4):848-880.
    Ranking theory is a formal epistemology that has been developed in over 600 pages in Spohn's recent book The Laws of Belief, which aims to provide a normative account of the dynamics of beliefs that presents an alternative to current probabilistic approaches. It has long been received in the AI community, but it has not yet found application in experimental psychology. The purpose of this paper is to derive clear, quantitative predictions by exploiting a parallel between ranking theory and a (...)
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