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Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will$
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David Hodgson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199845309

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845309.001.0001

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Plausible Reasoning

Plausible Reasoning

(p.37) 3 Plausible Reasoning
Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will

David Hodgson

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 3, I consider one very important aspect of our rationality, namely our ability to engage in plausible reasoning; that is, reasoning in which the premises or data do not entail the conclusions by virtue of applicable rules, but rather support them as a matter of reasonable albeit fallible judgment. I argue that even the scientific method depends on plausible reasoning, and that plausible reasoning cannot be fully explained in terms of rules for good reasoning. I discuss Bayes’ theorem, and its merits and limitations. I conclude by introducing the possibility that underlying plausible reasoning there are physical structures and algorithmic processes selected by evolution, and foreshadowing my contention that this cannot fully account for plausible reasoning.

Keywords:   plausible reasoning, judgment, formal reasoning, algorithmic, induction, Bayes’ Theorem, levels of cognitive processes

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