David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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North Holland (2003)
Agenda Relevance is the first volume in the authors' omnibus investigation of the logic of practical reasoning, under the collective title, A Practical Logic of Cognitive Systems. In this highly original approach, practical reasoning is identified as reasoning performed with comparatively few cognitive assets, including resources such as information, time and computational capacity. Unlike what is proposed in optimization models of human cognition, a practical reasoner lacks perfect information, boundless time and unconstrained access to computational complexity. The practical reasoner is therefore obliged to be a cognitive economizer and to achieve his cognitive ends with considerable efficiency. Accordingly, the practical reasoner avails himself of various scarce-resource compensation strategies. He also possesses neurocognitive traits that abet him in his reasoning tasks. Prominent among these is the practical agent's striking (though not perfect) adeptness at evading irrelevant information and staying on task. On the approach taken here, irrelevancies are impediments to the attainment of cognitive ends. Thus, in its most basic sense, relevant information is cognitively helpful information. Information can then be said to be relevant for a practical reasoner to the extent that it advances or closes some cognitive agenda of his. The book explores this idea with a conceptual detail and nuance not seen the standard semantic, probabilistic and pragmatic approaches to relevance; but wherever possible, the authors seek to integrate alternative conceptions rather than reject them outright. A further attraction of the agenda-relevance approach is the extent to which its principal conceptual findings lend themselves to technically sophisticated re-expression in formal models that marshal the resources of time and action logics and label led deductive systems. Agenda Relevance is necessary reading for researchers in logic, belief dynamics, computer science, AI, psychology and neuroscience, linguistics, argumentation theory, and legal reasoning and forensic science, and will repay study by graduate students and senior undergraduates in these same fields. Key features: relevance action and agendas practical reasoning belief dynamics non-classical logics labelled deductive systems.
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