The case for psychologism in default and inheritance reasoning

Synthese 146 (1-2):7 - 35 (2005)
Default reasoning occurs whenever the truth of the evidence available to the reasoner does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion being drawn. Despite this, one is entitled to draw the conclusion “by default” on the grounds that we have no information which would make us doubt that the inference should be drawn. It is the type of conclusion we draw in the ordinary world and ordinary situations in which we find ourselves. Formally speaking, ‘nonmonotonic reasoning’ refers to argumentation in which one uses certain information to reach a conclusion, but where it is possible that adding some further information to those very same premises could make one want to retract the original conclusion. It is easily seen that the informal notion of default reasoning manifests a type of nonmonotonic reasoning. Generally speaking, default statements are said to be true about the class of objects they describe, despite the acknowledged existence of “exceptional instances” of the class. In the absence of explicit information that an object is one of the exceptions we are enjoined to apply the default statement to the object. But further information may later tell us that the object is in fact one of the exceptions. So this is one of the points where nonmonotonicity resides in default reasoning.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/20118614
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 39 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

18 ( #153,723 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #118,705 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.