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Summary Reasoning is the reasoned change of belief (and related mental states). Reasoning differs, for example, from daydreaming and from spontaneous changes of belief. A central issue in the study of reasoning is to characterize reasoning: Just what is it to reason as opposed to change one's beliefs in some other way? A second issue in the study of reasoning is normative. Some reasoning counts as good reasoning. Other counts as bad reasoning. Which forms of reasoning are good -- that is, are rational, or preserve justification or knowledge? What makes it the case that those kinds of reasoning are good? Reasoning is typically divided into two kinds -- deductive and inductive (or ampliative). In a good deductive inference, the premises of the reasoning logically entail the conclusion. In a good inductive inference, the premises of the reasoning do not entail the conclusion though they do support it. Part of the philosophical study of reasoning involves the study of these kinds of reasoning (and various further sub-kinds).
Key works Reasoning is a highly heterogenous topic. It is recommended that the key works of the sub-categories be consulted.
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  1. Natasha Alechina, Brian Logan, Hoang Nga Nguyen & Abdur Rakib (2009). Verifying Time, Memory and Communication Bounds in Systems of Reasoning Agents. Synthese 169 (2):385 - 403.
    We present a framework for verifying systems composed of heterogeneous reasoning agents, in which each agent may have differing knowledge and inferential capabilities, and where the resources each agent is prepared to commit to a goal (time, memory and communication bandwidth) are bounded. The framework allows us to investigate, for example, whether a goal can be achieved if a particular agent, perhaps possessing key information or inferential capabilities, is unable (or unwilling) to contribute more than a given portion of its (...)
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  2. A. P. Alekseev (2006). Filosofskiĭ Tekst: Idei, Argumentat͡sii͡a, Obrazy. Progress-Tradit͡sii͡a.
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  3. Catherine Allamel-Raffin (2007). La Raison Et le Réel. Ellipses.
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  4. Ian H. Angus (1984). Technique and Enlightenment: Limits of Instrumental Reason. University Press of America.
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  5. Dan Ariely (2010). The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home. Harper.
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  6. Justin D. Arms & Daniel Jacobson (2009). Regret and Irrational Action. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press.
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  7. Alberto Artosi (2005). Breve Storia Della Ragione: Dai Presocratici Alle Multinazionali. Liguori.
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  8. Michael Bacharach (1992). Backward Induction and Beliefs About Oneself. Synthese 91 (3):247 - 284.
    According to decision theory, the rational initial action in a sequential decision-problem may be found by backward induction or folding back. But the reasoning which underwrites this claim appeals to the agent's beliefs about what she will later believe, about what she will later believe she will still later believe, and so forth. There are limits to the depth of people's beliefs. Do these limits pose a threat to the standard theory of rational sequential choice? It is argued, first, that (...)
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  9. Julian Baggini (2008). The Duck That Won the Lottery: 100 New Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher. Plume.
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  10. Julian Baggini (2008). The Duck That Won the Lottery: And 99 Other Bad Arguments. Granta.
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  11. Julian Baggini & Peter S. Fosl (2010). The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods. Wiley-Blackwell.
    This second edition of "The Philosopher's Toolkit" provides readers with the essential tools -- the intellectual equipment - necessary for participating in thoughtful philosophical argument, reading and reflection.
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  12. Julian Baggini & Peter S. Fosl (2003). The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods. Blackwell Publishers.
    Basic tools for arguments -- More advanced tools -- Tools for assessment -- Tools for conceptual distinctions -- Tools of historical schools and philosophers -- Tools for radical critique -- Tools at the limit.
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  13. Linden J. Ball & Edward J. N. Stupple (2008). Belief-Logic Conflict Resolution in Syllogistic Reasoning: Inspection-Time Evidence for a Parallel-Process Model. Thinking and Reasoning 14 (2):168-181.
    An experiment is reported examining dual-process models of belief bias in syllogistic reasoning using a problem complexity manipulation and an inspection-time method to monitor processing latencies for premises and conclusions. Endorsement rates indicated increased belief bias on complex problems, a finding that runs counter to the “belief-first” selective scrutiny model, but which is consistent with other theories, including “reasoning-first” and “parallel-process” models. Inspection-time data revealed a number of effects that, again, arbitrated against the selective scrutiny model. The most striking inspection-time (...)
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  14. Renford Bambrough (1974). Conflict and the Scope of Reason. Hull,University of Hull.
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  15. Sylvan Barnet (2011). Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings. Bedford/St Martin's.
    The unique collaborative effort of a professor of English and a professor of philosophy, Current Issues and Enduring Questions is a balanced and flexible book that provides the benefits of the authors’ dual expertise in effective persuasive writing and rigorous critical thinking. Refined through eight widely adopted editions, it has been revised to address current student interests and trends in argument, research, and writing. Its comprehensive coverage of classic and contemporary approaches to argument includes Aristotle, Toulmin, and a range of (...)
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  16. Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.) (2004). Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge.
    Practical conflicts pervade human life. Agents have many different desires, goals, and commitments, all of which can come into conflict with each other. How can practical reasoning help to resolve these practical conflicts? In this collection of new essays a distinguished roster of philosophers analyze the diverse forms of practical conflict. Their aim is to establish an understanding of the sources of these conflicts, to investigate the challenge they pose to an adequate conception of practical reasoning, and to assess the (...)
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  17. William L. Benoit, Dale Hample & Pamela J. Benoit (eds.) (1992). Readings in Argumentation. Foris Publications.
    Introduction: the Study of Argumentation Although our overall organization of the readings suggests one way of dividing our selected literature, ...
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  18. Cristina Bicchieri, Dalla Chiara & Maria Luisa (eds.) (1992). Knowledge, Belief, and Strategic Interaction. Cambridge University Press.
    In recent years there has been a great deal of interaction among game theorists, philosophers, and logicians in certain foundational problems concerning rationality, the formalization of knowledge and practical reasoning, and models of learning and deliberation. This unique volume brings together the work of some of the preeminent figures in their respective disciplines, all of whom are engaged in research at the forefront of their fields. Together they offer a conspectus of the interaction of game theory, logic, and epistemology in (...)
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  19. Nick Bostrom, Cortical Integration: Possible Solutions to the Binding and Linking Problems in Perception, Reasoning and Long Term Memory.
    The problem of cortical integration is described and various proposed solutions, including grandmother cells, cell assemblies, feed-forward structures, RAAM and synchronization, are reviewed. One method, involving complex attractors, that has received little attention in the literature, is explained and developed. I call this binding through annexation. A simulation study is then presented which suggests ways in which complex attractors could underlie our capacity to reason. The paper ends with a discussion of the efficiency and biological plausibility of the proposals as (...)
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  20. Raymond Boudon (1994). The Art of Self-Persuasion: The Social Explanation of False Beliefs. Polity.
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  21. Ed Brandon (1983). Argument Analysis. U.W.I. Mona.
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  22. Michael Bratman (2009). Intention, Belief, and Instrumental Rationality. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press. 13--36.
    Two approaches to instrumental rationality Suppose I intend end E, believe that a necessary means to E is M, and believe that M requires that I intend M. My attitudes concerning E and M engage a basic requirement of practical rationality, a requirement that, barring a change in my cited beliefs, I either intend M or give up intending E.2 Call this the Instrumental Rationality requirement – for short, the IR requirement.
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  23. Gerhard Brewka (1991). Nonmonotonic Reasoning: Logical Foundations of Commonsense. Cambridge University Press.
    In this book the author gives a broad overview of different areas of research in nonmonotonic reasoning, and presents some new results and ideas based on his research. The guiding principles are: clarification of the different research activities in the area, which have sometimes been undertaken independently of each other; and appreciation of the fact that these research activities often represent different means to the same ends, namely sound theoretical foundations and efficient computation. The book begins with a discussion of (...)
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  24. Grzegorz Bugajak & Jacek Tomczyk (eds.) (2009). Swoistość Człowieka?: Rozumność. Wydawn. Uniwersytetu Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego.
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  25. Joseph L. Camp (2002). Confusion: A Study in the Theory of Knowledge. Harvard University Press.
    To attribute confusion to someone is to take up a paternalistic stance in evaluating his reasoning.
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  26. S. Cannavo (1998). Think to Win: The Power of Logic in Everyday Life. Prometheus Books.
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  27. Nicholas Capaldi (2007). The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. Prometheus Books.
    Identifying arguments -- Formal analysis of arguments -- Presenting your case -- Attacking an argument -- Defending your case -- Cause-and-effect reasoning.
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  28. Adelino Cattani (ed.) (2009). La Svolta Argomentativa: 50 Anni Dopo Perelman E Toulmin. Loffredo University Press.
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  29. Nancy Cavender (1978/2010). Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life. Wadsworth Pub. Co..
    This logic book puts critical-thinking skills into a context that you'll remember and use throughout your life.
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  30. J. B. Cederblom (2012). Critical Reasoning: Understanding and Criticizing Arguments and Theories. Cengage.
    In this era of increased polarization of opinion and contentious disagreement, CRITICAL REASONING presents a cooperative approach to critical thinking and formation of beliefs. CRITICAL REASONING emphasizes the importance of developing and applying analytical skills in real life contexts. This book is unique in providing multiple, diverse examples of everyday arguments, both textual and visual, including hard to find long argument passages from real-life sources. The book provides clear, step-by-step procedures to help you decide for yourself what to believe--to be (...)
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  31. Ruth Chang (2009). Voluntarist Reasons and the Sources of Normativity. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press.
    In virtue of what does a consideration provide a practical reason? Suppose the fact that an experience is painful provides you with a reason to avoid it. In virtue of what does the fact that it’s painful have the normativity of a reason – where, in other words, does its normativity come from? As some philosophers put the question, what is the source of a reason’s normativity?
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  32. Philip Clark (2009). Mackie's Motivational Argument. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press.
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  33. Anthony Collins (1707/1984). An Essay Concerning the Use of Reasons in Propositions ; a Discourse of Free-Thinking. Garland.
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  34. Filippo Costa (2005). Logica E Verità. Ets.
    1. Ricerche informali -- 2. La verità trascendentale.
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  35. Franca D'Agostini (2010). Verità Avvelenata: Buoni E Cattivi Argomenti Nel Dibattito Pubblico. Bollati Boringhieri.
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  36. Stephen Darwall (2009). Authority and Second Personal Reasons for Acting. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press.
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  37. Donald Davidson (2004). Problems of Rationality. Oxford University Press.
    Problems of Rationality is the eagerly awaited fourth volume of Donald Davidson's philosophical writings. From the 1960s until his death in August 2003 Davidson was perhaps the most influential figure in English-language philosophy, and his work has had a profound effect upon the discipline. His unified theory of the interpretation of thought, meaning, and action holds that rationality is a necessary condition for both mind and interpretation. Davidson here develops this theory to illuminate value judgements and how we understand them; (...)
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  38. Jessica Davidson (1971). The Square Root of Tuesday. New York,Mccall Pub. Co..
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  39. P. S. Davies, J. Fetzer & T. Foster (1995). Domain Specificity a Social Exchange Reasoning: A Critique of the Social Exchange Theory of Reasoning. Biology and Philosophy 10:1-37.
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  40. Hank Davis (2009). Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking in a Modern World. Prometheus Books.
    Introduction -- The road to imperfection -- Cataloguing irrationality -- Some real life examples -- Science to the rescue -- A deeper look at what's wrong -- Assigning the blame -- Can it be fixed.
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  41. Christopher DiCarlo (2011). How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Questions. Prometheus Books.
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  42. James Dreier (2009). Practical Conditionals. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press. 116--133.
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  43. Renée Elio (ed.) (2002). Common Sense, Reasoning, & Rationality. Oxford University Press.
    As the eleventh volume in the New Directions in Cognitive Science series (formerly the Vancouver Studies in Cognitive Science series), this work promises superb scholarship and interdisciplinary appeal. It addresses three areas of current and varied interest: common sense, reasoning, and rationality. While common sense and rationality often have been viewed as two distinct features in a unified cognitive map, this volume offers novel, even paradoxical, views of the relationship. Comprised of outstanding essays from distinguished philosophers, it considers what constitutes (...)
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  44. Donald Evans (1986). Understanding Arguments. Distributed in the U.S.A. And Canada by Humanities Press.
    This book is for people who find themselves beset by arguments: persuasions open and hidden, put forward in books or on buses, blown up onto hoardings or piped right into the home by television and radio. Such arguments may need to be critically weighed and cautiously assessed, if the arguee is not to be taken for a ride. For such analysis, some introduction to logic is required. This book explains how to decide which arguments are sound and what makes the (...)
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  45. Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (2008). On Reason: Rationality in a World of Cultural Conflict and Racism. Duke University Press.
    Preface: What is rationality? -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction: Diversity and the social questions of reason -- Varieties of rational experience -- Ordinary historical reason -- Science, culture, and principles of rationality -- Languages of time in postcolonial memory -- Reason and unreason in politics.
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  46. Lester Faigley (2000). Good Reasons. Allyn and Bacon.
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  47. James H. Fetzer (ed.) (1984). Principles of Philosophical Reasoning. Rowman & Allanheld.
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  48. Kit Fine (1985). Reasoning with Arbitrary Objects. B. Blackwell.
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  49. Maurice A. Finocchiaro (2005). Arguments About Arguments: Systematic, Critical, and Historical Essays in Logical Theory. Cambridge University Press.
    Following an approach that is empirical but not psychological, and dialectical but not dialogical, Maurice Finocchiaro defines concepts such as reasoning, argument, argument analysis, critical reasoning, methodological reflection, judgment, critical thinking, and informal logic. Including extended critiques of the views of many contemporary scholars, he also integrates into the discussion Arnauld's Port-Royal Logic, Gramsci's theory of intellectuals, and case studies from the history of science, particularly the work of Galileo, Newton, Huygens, and Lavoisier.
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  50. Alec Fisher (2004). The Logic of Real Arguments. Cambridge Univeristy Press.
    This new and expanded edition of The Logic of Real Arguments explains a distinctive method for analysing and evaluating arguments. It discusses many examples, ranging from newspaper articles to extracts from classic texts, and from easy passages to much more difficult ones. It shows students how to use the question 'What argument or evidence would justify me in believing P?', and also how to deal with suppositional arguments beginning with the phrase 'Suppose that X were the case.' It aims to (...)
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