Logical fallacies as informational shortcuts

Synthese 167 (2):317 - 325 (2009)
The paper argues that the two best known formal logical fallacies, namely denying the antecedent (DA) and affirming the consequent (AC) are not just basic and simple errors, which prove human irrationality, but rather informational shortcuts, which may provide a quick and dirty way of extracting useful information from the environment. DA and AC are shown to be degraded versions of Bayes’ theorem, once this is stripped of some of its probabilities. The less the probabilities count, the closer these fallacies become to a reasoning that is not only informationally useful but also logically valid.
Keywords Affirming the consequent  Bayes’ theorem  Denying the antecedent  Formal fallacies  Rationality
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DOI 10.2307/40271193
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