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Without Good ReasonThe Rationality Debate in Philosophy and Cognitive Science$
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Edward Stein

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237730

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237730.001.0001

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(p.111) 4 Charity
Without Good Reason

Edward Stein

Oxford University Press

The previous chapter considered a general strategy for interpreting the results of the reasoning experiments whereby all reasoning behaviours that diverged from the normative principles of reasoning are interpreted as performance errors. It argued that, unless special considerations could be offered in favour of it, this strategy amounts to an immunization strategy for the rationality thesis. In this chapter, one type of consideration in favour of interpreting all divergences from the normative principles as performance errors, namely charity, is discussed. This principle, developed by W. V. O. Quine as a guide for language translation, is discussed, and the chapter examines how it might be extended to reasoning competence. It also considers an alternative to the principle of charity known as the principle of humanity, as well as the so-called finitary predicament.

Keywords:   reasoning, performance errors, rationality thesis, charity, humanity, normative principles, reasoning competence, Quine, finitary predicament

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