Coherence and nonmonotonicity in human reasoning

Synthese 146 (1-2):93 - 109 (2005)
Abstract
Nonmonotonic reasoning is often claimed to mimic human common sense reasoning. Only a few studies, though, have investigated this claim empirically. We report four experiments which investigate three rules of SYSTEMP, namely the AND, the LEFT LOGICAL EQUIVALENCE, and the OR rule. The actual inferences of the subjects are compared with the coherent normative upper and lower probability bounds derived from a non-infinitesimal probability semantics of SYSTEM P. We found a relatively good agreement of human reasoning and principles of nonmonotonic reasoning. Contrary to the results reported in the ‘heuristics and biases’ tradition, the subjects committed relatively few upper bound violations (conjunction fallacies).
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