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What reasoning might be

Synthese 194 (6) (2017)

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  1. Lewis Carroll’s regress and the presuppositional structure of arguments.Carlotta Pavese - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):1-38.
    This essay argues that the main lesson of Lewis Carroll's Regress is that arguments are constitutively presuppositional.
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  • Rational Inference: The Lowest Bounds.Cameron Buckner - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-28.
    A surge of empirical research demonstrating flexible cognition in animals and young infants has raised interest in the possibility of rational decision-making in the absence of language. A venerable position, which I here call “Classical Inferentialism”, holds that nonlinguistic agents are incapable of rational inferences. Against this position, I defend a model of nonlinguistic inferences that shows how they could be practically rational. This model vindicates the Lockean idea that we can intuitively grasp rational connections between thoughts by developing the (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Rational Inference: The Lowest Bounds.Cameron Buckner - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):697-724.
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  • Kant on Method.Karl Schafer - forthcoming - In Andrew Stephenson & Anil Gomes (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Kant. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    In this article I offer an opinionated overview of the central elements of Kant’s philosophical methodology during the critical period. I begin with a brief characterization of how Kant conceives of the aims of human inquiry – focusing on the idea that inquiry ideally aims at not just cognition (Erkenntnis), but also the more demanding cognitive achievements that Kant labels insight (Einsehen) and comprehension (Begreifen). Then I explore the implications of this picture for philosophy — emphasizing Kant’s distinction between critical (...)
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  • Inference as Consciousness of Necessity.Eric Marcus - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (4):304-322.
    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Changes in Attitude.Daniel Drucker - 2021 - Wiley: Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):151-169.
    I formulate and tentatively defend the view that we cannot be rationally required to have one type of doxastic attitude (e.g., beliefs, credences, imprecise credences, etc.) because we have another type; in other words, we can only be required to have, say, given credences because we have some other credences already. I explore an argument that appeals to the idea that there is no good reasoning from one type to the other type. I consider some important possible responses, and conclude (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Logical Form and the Limits of Thought.Manish Oza - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    What is the relation of logic to thinking? My dissertation offers a new argument for the claim that logic is constitutive of thinking in the following sense: representational activity counts as thinking only if it manifests sensitivity to logical rules. In short, thinking has to be minimally logical. An account of thinking has to allow for our freedom to question or revise our commitments – even seemingly obvious conceptual connections – without loss of understanding. This freedom, I argue, requires that (...)
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  • Reasoning, Rationality, and Representation.Wade Munroe - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8323-8345.
    Recently, a cottage industry has formed with the goal of analyzing reasoning. The relevant notion of reasoning in which philosophers are expressly interested is fixed through an epistemic functional description: reasoning—whatever it is—is our personal-level, rationally evaluable means of meeting our rational requirements through managing and updating our attitudes. Roughly, the dominant view in the extant literature as developed by Paul Boghossian, John Broome, and others is that reasoning is a rule-governed operation over propositional attitudes that results in a change (...)
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  • Unconscious Inference Theories of Cognitive Acheivement.Kirk Ludwig & Wade Munroe - 2020 - In Anders Nes & Timothy Chan (eds.), Inference and Consciousness. New York: Routledge. pp. 15-39.
    This chapter argues that the only tenable unconscious inferences theories of cognitive achievement are ones that employ a theory internal technical notion of representation, but that once we give cash-value definitions of the relevant notions of representation and inference, there is little left of the ordinary notion of representation. We suggest that the real value of talk of unconscious inferences lies in (a) their heuristic utility in helping us to make fruitful predictions, such as about illusions, and (b) their providing (...)
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  • Reasoning and its Limits.David Jenkins - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9479-9495.
    Reasoning is naturally understood as something which we actively do—as a kind of action. However, reflection on the supposed limits to the extent to which it is up to us how our reasoning unfolds is often taken to cast doubt on this idea. I argue that, once articulated with care, challenges to the idea that reasoning is a kind of action can be seen to trade on problematic assumptions. In particular, they trade on assumptions which could be used to rule (...)
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  • Seeing and Hearing Meanings. A Non-Inferential Approach to Utterance Comprehension.Berit Brogaard - 2020 - In Anders Nes & Timothy Chan (eds.), Inference and Consciousness. Routledge. pp. 99-124.
    In this paper I provide empirical and theoretical considerations in favor of a non-inferential view of speech comprehension. On the view defended, we typically comprehend speech by perceiving or grasping apparently conveyed meanings directly rather than by inferring them from, say, linguistic principles and perceived phonemes. “Speech” is here used in the broad sense to refer not only to verbal expression, but also written messages, including Braille, and conventional signs and symbols, like emojis, a stop sign or a swastika. Along (...)
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  • Inference and the Structure of Concepts.Matías Osta Vélez - 2020 - Dissertation, Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
    This thesis studies the role of conceptual content in inference and reasoning. The first two chapters offer a theoretical and historical overview of the relation between inference and meaning in philosophy and psychology. In particular, a critical analysis of the formality thesis, i.e., the idea that rational inference is a rule-based and topic-neutral mechanism, is advanced. The origins of this idea in logic and its influence in philosophy and cognitive psychology are discussed. Chapter 3 consists of an analysis of the (...)
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  • The Value of Thinking and the Normativity of Logic.Manish Oza - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (25):1-23.
    (1) This paper is about how to build an account of the normativity of logic around the claim that logic is constitutive of thinking. I take the claim that logic is constitutive of thinking to mean that representational activity must tend to conform to logic to count as thinking. (2) I develop a natural line of thought about how to develop the constitutive position into an account of logical normativity by drawing on constitutivism in metaethics. (3) I argue that, while (...)
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  • Meditation and the Scope of Mental Action.Michael Brent & Candace Upton - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):52-71.
    While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this paper, (...)
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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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  • What is Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):167-196.
    Reasoning is a certain kind of attitude-revision. What kind? The aim of this paper is to introduce and defend a new answer to this question, based on the idea that reasoning is a goodness-fixing kind. Our central claim is that reasoning is a functional kind: it has a constitutive point or aim that fixes the standards for good reasoning. We claim, further, that this aim is to get fitting attitudes. We start by considering recent accounts of reasoning due to Ralph (...)
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  • No Epistemic Norm or Aim Needed.Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini - 2020 - Episteme:1-16.
    Many agree that one cannot consciously form a belief just because one wants to. And many also agree this is a puzzling component of our conscious belief-forming processes. I will look at three views on how to make sense of this puzzle and show that they all fail in some way. I then offer a simpler explanation that avoids all the pitfalls of those views, which is based instead on an analysis of our conscious reasoning combined with a commonly accepted (...)
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