Human reasoning with imprecise probabilities: Modus ponens and Denying the antecedent

The modus ponens (A -> B, A :. B) is, along with modus tollens and the two logically not valid counterparts denying the antecedent (A -> B, ¬A :. ¬B) and affirming the consequent, the argument form that was most often investigated in the psychology of human reasoning. The present contribution reports the results of three experiments on the probabilistic versions of modus ponens and denying the antecedent. In probability logic these arguments lead to conclusions with imprecise probabilities. In the modus ponens tasks the participants inferred probabilities that agreed much better with the coherent normative values than in the denying the antecedent tasks, a result that mirrors results found with the classical argument versions. For modus ponens a surprisingly high number of lower and upper probabilities agreed perfectly with the conjugacy property (upper probabilities equal one complements of the lower probabilities). When the probabilities of the premises are imprecise the participants do not ignore irrelevant (“silent”) boundary probabilities. The results show that human mental probability logic is close to predictions derived from probability logic for the most elementary argument form, but has considerable difficulties with the more complex forms involving negations.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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 Translate to english
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
Chapters BETA
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Carl G. Wagner (2004). Modus Tollens Probabilized. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):747-753.
Niki Pfeifer (2006). On Mental Probability Logic. Dissertation, Department of Psychology
Colin Howson (2009). Sorites is No Threat to Modus Ponens: A Reply to Kochan. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):209-212.
Seth Yalcin (2012). A Counterexample to Modus Tollens. Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (6):1001-1024.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #128,632 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #61,095 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.