Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory

Short abstract (98 words). Reasoning is generally seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. However, much evidence shows that reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions. This suggests that the function of reasoning should be rethought. Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade. Reasoning so conceived is adaptive given humans’ exceptional dependence on communication and vulnerability to misinformation. A wide range of evidence in the psychology of reasoning and decision making can be reinterpreted and better explained in the light of this hypothesis.
Keywords argumentation   confirmation bias   decision making   dual process theory   evolutionary psychology   motivated reasoning   reason-based choice   reasoning
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0140525X10000968
 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 52 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

44 ( #77,024 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

15 ( #48,707 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.