Reasoning, Necessity, and Logic: Developmental Perspectives

Reasoning, Necessity, and Logic: Developmental Perspectives

Reasoning, Necessity, and Logic: Developmental Perspectives

Reasoning, Necessity, and Logic: Developmental Perspectives

Synopsis

A presentation of current work that systematically explores and articulates the nature, origin and development of reasoning, this volume's primary aim is to describe and examine contemporary theory and research findings on the topic of deductive reasoning.

Many contributors believe concepts such as "structure," "competence," and "mental logic" are necessary features for a complete understanding of reasoning.

As the book emanates from a Jean Piaget Symposium, his theory of intellectual development as the standard contemporary treatment of deductive reasoning is used as the context in which the contributors elaborate on their own perceptions.

Excerpt

The primary aim of this book is to describe and examine contemporary theory and research findings on the topic of the nature, origin, and development of deductive reasoning. The field of cognitive psychology is dedicated to the investigation of a broad array of processes including perception, representation, thinking, language, and memory. Reasoning is a particular type of thinking. It is thinking that involves inference. In deductive reasoning the inference process proceeds from the general to the specific. This distinguishes deductive reasoning from inductive reasoning where the process proceeds from the specific to the general. Deductive is also distinguished from inductive reasoning by the fact that deduction yields absolute certainty or necessity, whereas induction yields probability.

Perhaps the issue that most radically divides investigators in this area concerns the role of systems of logic in human deductive reasoning. Those who approach their investigations from the perspective of philosophical rationalism or interpretationism introduce logic systems as models of the underlying deductive capacity of the reasoner. This capacity is often referred to as logical competence, logical structure, or mental logic. Those who favor the approach of philosophical realism and empiricism, oppose the introduction of models of an internalized mental logic. The empiricist argues that knowledge of antecedents and consequences will prove sufficient to explain the behavior that is called reasoning. This argument is taken up more fully in Chapter 1. In this book virtually all of the authors incorporate some form of mental logic into their understanding of the nature of reasoning. The reader is referred to Evans (1982, 1983) for a presentation of views that favor the empiricist perspective. Critiques of several of the empiricist positions are found in Chapters 1, 6, 7, and 8 of the present volume.

Although the authors of this volume tend to demonstrate a unanimity . . .

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