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Reasoning and Regress

Mind 123 (489):101-127 (2014)

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  1. 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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  • Inference as Consciousness of Necessity.Eric Marcus - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Consider the following three claims. (i) There are no truths of the form ‘p and ~p’. (ii) No one holds a belief of the form ‘p and ~p’. (iii) No one holds any pairs of beliefs of the form {p, ~p}. Irad Kimhi has recently argued, in effect, that each of these claims holds and holds with metaphysical necessity. Furthermore, he maintains that they are ultimately not distinct claims at all, but the same claim formulated in different ways. I find (...)
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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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  • Supposition and Blindness.Markos Valaris - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):895-901.
    In ‘Reasoning and Regress’ I argued that inferring a conclusion from a set of propositions may simply consist in taking it that the conclusion follows from these propositions—thereby defusing familiar regress arguments. Sinan Dogramaci challenges the generality of this view, on the grounds that sometimes you may draw conclusions from no premisses that you believe. I respond by clarifying a distinction between the premisses of an argument from the reasons your conclusion is based upon. While suppositional reasoning may involve no (...)
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  • Reasoning Without Blinders: A Reply to Valaris.Sinan Dogramaci - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):889-893.
    I object to Markos Valaris’s thesis that reasoning requires a belief that your conclusion follows from your premisses. My counter-examples highlight the important but neglected role of suppositional reasoning in the basis of so much of what we know.
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  • Recognizing Argument Types and Adding Missing Reasons.Christoph Lumer - 2019 - In Bart J. Garssen, David Godden, Gordon Mitchell & Jean Wagemans (eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (ISSA). [Amsterdam, July 3-6, 2018.]. Amsterdam (Netherlands): pp. 769-777.
    The article develops and justifies, on the basis of the epistemological argumentation theory, two central pieces of the theory of evaluative argumentation interpretation: 1. criteria for recognizing argument types and 2. rules for adding reasons to create ideal arguments. Ad 1: The criteria for identifying argument types are a selection of essential elements from the definitions of the respective argument types. Ad 2: After presenting the general principles for adding reasons (benevolence, authenticity, immanence, optimization), heuristics are proposed for finding missing (...)
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  • Inferential Transitions.Jake Quilty-Dunn & Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):532-547.
    ABSTRACTThis paper provides a naturalistic account of inference. We posit that the core of inference is constituted by bare inferential transitions, transitions between discursive mental representations guided by rules built into the architecture of cognitive systems. In further developing the concept of BITs, we provide an account of what Boghossian [2014] calls ‘taking’—that is, the appreciation of the rule that guides an inferential transition. We argue that BITs are sufficient for implicit taking, and then, to analyse explicit taking, we posit (...)
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  • Against the Taking Condition.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):314-331.
    According to Paul Boghossian and others, inference is subject to the taking condition: it necessarily involves the thinker taking his premises to support his conclusion, and drawing the conclusion because of that fact. Boghossian argues that this condition vindicates the idea that inference is an expression of agency, and that it has several other important implications too. However, we argue in this paper that the taking condition should be rejected. The condition gives rise to several serious prima facie problems and (...)
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  • Two Arguments for Evidentialism.Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):805-818.
    Evidentialism is the thesis that all reasons to believe p are evidence for p. Pragmatists hold that pragmatic considerations – incentives for believing – can also be reasons to believe. Nishi Shah, Thomas Kelly and others have argued for evidentialism on the grounds that incentives for belief fail a ‘reasoning constraint’ on reasons: roughly, reasons must be considerations we can reason from, but we cannot reason from incentives to belief. In the first half of the paper, I show that this (...)
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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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  • What Reasoning Might Be.Markos Valaris - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    The philosophical literature on reasoning is dominated by the assumption that reasoning is essentially a matter of following rules. This paper challenges this view, by arguing that it misrepresents the nature of reasoning as a personal level activity. Reasoning must reflect the reasoner’s take on her evidence. The rule-following model seems ill-suited to accommodate this fact. Accordingly, this paper suggests replacing the rule-following model with a different, semantic approach to reasoning.
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  • Reasoning and Normative Beliefs: Not Too Sophisticated.Andreas Müller - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (1):2-15.
    Does reasoning to a certain conclusion necessarily involve a normative belief in support of that conclusion? In many recent discussions of the nature of reasoning, such a normative belief condition is rejected. One main objection is that it requires too much conceptual sophistication and thereby excludes certain reasoners, such as small children. I argue that this objection is mistaken. Its advocates overestimate what is necessary for grasping the normative concepts required by the condition, while seriously underestimating the importance of such (...)
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  • The Basing Relation.Ram Neta - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (2):179-217.
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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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  • How Reasoning Aims at Truth.David Horst - forthcoming - Noûs.
    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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  • Reasoning Without Regress.Luis Rosa - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2263-2278.
    In this paper I explore alternative ways of addressing the infinite regress problem of inference, as it was depicted in Lewis Carroll’s ‘What the Tortoise said to Achilles’. Roughly put, the problem is that if a claim to the effect that one’s premises give support to one’s conclusion must itself be part of one’s premises, then an infinite regress of reasons ensues. I discuss some recent attempts to solve that problem, but I find all of them to be wanting. Those (...)
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  • Inference and the Taking Condition.Christian Kietzmann - 2018 - Ratio 31 (3):294-302.
    It has recently been argued that inference essentially involves the thinker taking his premises to support his conclusion and drawing his conclusion because of this fact. However, this Taking Condition has also been criticized: If taking is interpreted as believing, it seems to lead to a vicious regress and to overintellectualize the act of inferring. In this paper, I examine and reject various attempts to salvage the Taking Condition, either by interpreting inferring as a kind of rule-following, or by finding (...)
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  • Inferring as a Way of Knowing.Nicholas Koziolek - 2017 - Synthese.
    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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  • What The Tortoise Has To Say About Diachronic Rationality.Markos Valaris - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):293-307.
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