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Niels Skovgaard-Olsen
Universität Göttingen
  1. Norm Conflicts and Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Psychological Review (5):611-633.
    Suppose that two competing norms, N1 and N2, can be identified such that a given person’s response can be interpreted as correct according to N1 but incorrect according to N2. Which of these two norms, if any, should one use to interpret such a response? In this paper we seek to address this fundamental problem by studying individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their case judgments and reflective attitudes. To investigate (...)
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  2.  30
    The Relevance Effect and Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Henrik Singmann & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2016 - Cognition 150:26-36.
    More than a decade of research has found strong evidence for P(if A, then C) = P(C|A) (“the Equation”). We argue, however, that this hypothesis provides an overly simplified picture due to its inability to account for relevance. We manipulated relevance in the evaluation of the probability and acceptability of indicative conditionals and found that relevance moderates the effect of P(C|A). This corroborates the Default and Penalty Hypothesis put forward in this paper. Finally, the probability and acceptability of concessive conditionals (...)
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  3. Cancellation, Negation, and Rejection.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Peter Collins, Karolina Krzyżanowska, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Cognitive Psychology 108:42-71.
    In this paper, new evidence is presented for the assumption that the reason-relation reading of indicative conditionals ('if A, then C') reflects a conventional implicature. In four experiments, it is investigated whether relevance effects found for the probability assessment of indicative conditionals (Skovgaard-Olsen, Singmann, and Klauer, 2016a) can be classified as being produced by a) a conversational implicature, b) a (probabilistic) presupposition failure, or c) a conventional implicature. After considering several alternative hypotheses and the accumulating evidence from other studies as (...)
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  4. Motivating the Relevance Approach to Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (5):555-579.
    The aim is to motivate theoretically a relevance approach to conditionals in a comparative discussion of the main alternatives. In particular, it will be argued that a relevance approach to conditionals is better motivated than the suppositional theory currently enjoying wide endorsement. In the course of this discussion, an argument will be presented for why failures of the epistemic relevance of the antecedent for the consequent should be counted as genuine semantic defects. Furthermore, strategies for dealing with compositionality and the (...)
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  5. Relevance Differently Affects the Truth, Acceptability, and Probability Evaluations of “and”, “but”, “Therefore”, and “If–Then”.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Hannes Krahl & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):449-482.
    In this study we investigate the influence of reason-relation readings of indicative conditionals and ‘and’/‘but’/‘therefore’ sentences on various cognitive assessments. According to the Frege-Grice tradition, a dissociation is expected. Specifically, differences in the reason-relation reading of these sentences should affect participants’ evaluations of their acceptability but not of their truth value. In two experiments we tested this assumption by introducing a relevance manipulation into the truth-table task as well as in other tasks assessing the participants’ acceptability and probability evaluations. Across (...)
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  6. Conditionals and the Hierarchy of Causal Queries.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Simon Stephan & Michael R. Waldmann - 2021 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 1 (12):2472-2505.
    Recent studies indicate that indicative conditionals like "If people wear masks, the spread of Covid-19 will be diminished" require a probabilistic dependency between their antecedents and consequents to be acceptable (Skovgaard-Olsen et al., 2016). But it is easy to make the slip from this claim to the thesis that indicative conditionals are acceptable only if this probabilistic dependency results from a causal relation between antecedent and consequent. According to Pearl (2009), understanding a causal relation involves multiple, hierarchically organized conceptual dimensions: (...)
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  7. Ranking Theory and Conditional Reasoning.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (4):848-880.
    Ranking theory is a formal epistemology that has been developed in over 600 pages in Spohn's recent book The Laws of Belief, which aims to provide a normative account of the dynamics of beliefs that presents an alternative to current probabilistic approaches. It has long been received in the AI community, but it has not yet found application in experimental psychology. The purpose of this paper is to derive clear, quantitative predictions by exploiting a parallel between ranking theory and a (...)
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  8. Ranking Theory.Gabriele Kern-Isberner, Niels Skovgaard-Olsen & Wolfgang Spohn - forthcoming - Knauff, M. & Spohn, W. (Eds). The Handbook of Rationality. MIT Press.
    Ranking theory is one of the salient formal representations of doxastic states. It differs from others in being able to represent belief in a proposition (= taking it to be true), to also represent degrees of belief (i.e. beliefs as more or less firm), and thus to generally account for the dynamics of these beliefs. It does so on the basis of fundamental and compelling rationality postulates and is hence one way of explicating the rational structure of doxastic states. Thereby (...)
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  9. The Dialogical Entailment Task.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2019 - Cognition:104010.
    In this paper, a critical discussion is made of the role of entailments in the so-called New Paradigm of psychology of reasoning based on Bayesian models of rationality (Elqayam & Over, 2013). It is argued that assessments of probabilistic coherence cannot stand on their own, but that they need to be integrated with empirical studies of intuitive entailment judgments. This need is motivated not just by the requirements of probability theory itself, but also by a need to enhance the interdisciplinary (...)
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  10. The Problem of Logical Omniscience, the Preface Paradox, and Doxastic Commitments.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Synthese 194 (3):917-939.
    The main goal of this paper is to investigate what explanatory resources Robert Brandom’s distinction between acknowledged and consequential commitments affords in relation to the problem of logical omniscience. With this distinction the importance of the doxastic perspective under consideration for the relationship between logic and norms of reasoning is emphasized, and it becomes possible to handle a number of problematic cases discussed in the literature without thereby incurring a commitment to revisionism about logic. One such case in particular is (...)
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  11.  45
    Bridging Ranking Theory and the Stability Theory of Belief.Eric Raidl & Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 46 (6):577-609.
    In this paper we compare Leitgeb’s stability theory of belief and Spohn’s ranking-theoretic account of belief. We discuss the two theories as solutions to the lottery paradox. To compare the two theories, we introduce a novel translation between ranking functions and probability functions. We draw some crucial consequences from this translation, in particular a new probabilistic belief notion. Based on this, we explore the logical relation between the two belief theories, showing that models of Leitgeb’s theory correspond to certain models (...)
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  12. Indicatives, Subjunctives, and the Falsity of the Antecedent.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen & Peter Collins - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (11):e13058.
    It is widely held that there are important differences between indicative conditionals (e.g. “If the authors are linguists, they have written a linguistics paper”) and subjunctive conditionals (e.g. “If the authors had been linguists, they would have written a linguistics paper”). A central difference is that indicatives and subjunctives convey different stances towards the truth of their antecedents. Indicatives (often) convey neutrality: for example, about whether the authors in question are linguists. Subjunctives (often) convey the falsity of the antecedent: for (...)
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  13. Putting Inferentialism and the Suppositional Theory of Conditionals to the Test.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Freiburg
    This dissertation is devoted to empirically contrasting the Suppositional Theory of conditionals, which holds that indicative conditionals serve the purpose of engaging in hypothetical thought, and Inferentialism, which holds that indicative conditionals express reason relations. Throughout a series of experiments, probabilistic and truth-conditional variants of Inferentialism are investigated using new stimulus materials, which manipulate previously overlooked relevance conditions. These studies are some of the first published studies to directly investigate the central claims of Inferentialism empirically. In contrast, the Suppositional Theory (...)
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  14. Sellars and His Legacy Ed. By James R. O'Shea. [REVIEW]Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):358-359.
    Wilfred Sellars's deeply original and systematic thought continues to inspire into the twenty-first century. Part of the explanation must be that Sellars's struggle to integrate a Kantian-Wittgensteinian normative view of meaning and intentionality with a naturalistic outlook remains at the forefront of philosophical inquiry. To acknowledge the deep impact that Sellars has had on their work, a list of prominent, contemporary philosophers honor Sellars's legacy in a volume craftily edited by James R. O'Shea with a superb introduction. Like Sellars's own (...)
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  15. Conditionals, Individual Variation, and the Scorekeeping Task.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2017 - Proceedings of Cognitive Science 39:xxx.
    In this manuscript we study individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their behavioral responses and reflective attitudes. To investigate the participants’ reflective attitudes we introduce a new experimental paradigm called the Scorekeeping Task, and a Bayesian mixture model tailored to analyze the data. The goal is thereby to identify the participants who follow the Suppositional Theory of conditionals and Inferentialism and to investigate their performance on the uncertain and-to-if inference task.
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  16. Relevance and Conditionals: A Synopsis of Open Pragmatic and Semantic Issues.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2020 - In S. Elqayam, Igor Douven, J. Evans & N. Cruz (eds.), Logic and Uncertainty in the Human Mind: A Tribute to David E. Over. Routledge.
    Recently several papers have reported relevance effects on the cognitive assessments of indicative conditionals, which pose an explanatory challenge to the Suppositional Theory of conditionals advanced by David Over, which is influential in the psychology of reasoning. Some of these results concern the “Equation” (P(if A, then C) = P(C|A)), others the de Finetti truth table, and yet others the uncertain and-to-inference task. The purpose of this chapter is to take a Birdseye view on the debate and investigate some of (...)
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  17.  15
    Corrigendum to “The Relevance Effect and Conditionals” [Cognition 150 26–36].Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Henrik Singmann & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2018 - Cognition 170:338.
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