Illusory inferences with quantifiers

Thinking and Reasoning 23 (1):33-48 (2017)
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Abstract

The psychological study of reasoning with quantifiers has predominantly focused on inference patterns studied by Aristotle about two millennia ago. Modern logic has shown a wealth of inference patterns involving quantifiers that are far beyond the expressive power of Aristotelian syllogisms, and whose psychology should be explored. We bring to light a novel class of fallacious inference patterns, some of which are so attractive that they are tantamount to cognitive illusions. In tandem with recent insights from linguistics that quantifiers like “some” are treated as wh-questions, these illusory inferences are predicted by the erotetic theory of reasoning, which postulates that a process akin to question asking and answering is behind human inference making.

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Author's Profile

Salvador Mascarenhas
Institut Jean Nicod