Psychology and syllogistic reasoning: Further considerations

Philosophical Psychology 6 (4):423 – 440 (1993)
Following an earlier paper (Wetherick, 1989), the analysis of syllogistic reasoning via the medieval doctrine of “distribution of terms” is pursued and completed. The doctrine was not originally presented as an explanation of syllogistic reasoning but turns out to furnish one. It is shown that: It is impossible to assert two propositions having a distributed middle term in common without, at the same time, tacitly asserting the valid conclusion, if any. When the middle term is distributed but no valid conclusion follows, this is a consequence of the distributional status of the subject and predicate terms. When the middle term is not distributed the propositions have nothing but a name in common. The logic of Spencer Brown (1969) is employed to show that logic is implicit in the behaviour of any organism that survives by making distinctions (e.g. between prey/non-prey; predator/non-predator). It is suggested that animal organisms answer this description by definition. Cognitive structures have evolved in the human organism so as to permit the conversion of habitual associations into universal propositions thus allowing formal logic and mathematics. This view appears to require a reversion to psychologism in logic, the consequences are considered and judged acceptable.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089308573102
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,813
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
Unified Theories of Cognition.Allen Newell - 1990 - Harvard University Press.
Formal and Transcendental Logic.Edmund Husserl - 1969 - The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
Psychology and Syllogistic Reasoning.N. E. Wetherick - 1989 - Philosophical Psychology 2 (1):111 – 124.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Is Aristotle's Syllogistic a Logic?Phil Corkum - forthcoming - History and Philosophy of Logic.
Reasoning with Quantifiers.Bart Geurts - 2003 - Cognition 86 (3):223--251.
Non-Standard Categorical Syllogisms: Four That Leibniz Forgot.Don Emil Herget - 1987 - History and Philosophy of Logic 8 (1):1-13.
Psychology and Syllogistic Reasoning.N. E. Wetherick - 1989 - Philosophical Psychology 2 (1):111 – 124.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
8 ( #506,316 of 2,202,698 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #301,722 of 2,202,698 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature