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Comparative Decision Making$
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Thomas R. Zentall and Philip H. Crowley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856800.001.0001

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Using Evolutionary Thinking to Cut Across Disciplines

Using Evolutionary Thinking to Cut Across Disciplines

The Example of the Argumentative Theory of Reasoning

(p.279) Chapter 10 Using Evolutionary Thinking to Cut Across Disciplines
Comparative Decision Making

Hugo Mercier

Oxford University Press

The frequent flaws in human reasoning are well documented. This chapter seeks to provide a general explanation based on the role of argumentation both in contemporary society and during the evolutionary emergence of the species. The author invokes the dual process framework that distinguishes between automatic or intuitive mental processes and memory-based, reflective processes, arguing that their functional relationship undermines the effectiveness of classical reasoning. The hyper-communicative social environment of humans has magnified the importance of argumentation, proposed here as the main driving force for the evolutionary development of reasoning. This view leads to new interpretations of phenomena like the confirmation bias—strengthening one’s argument in response to those of rivals—which may prove beneficial in decision making at the group level. Moral reasoning is mainly thought to be post-hoc rationalizing of intuitions, but here too views can be altered through argumentation.

Keywords:   human reasoning, argumentation, dual process framework, automatic mental processes, intuitive mental processes, reflective mental processes, confirmation bias, moral reasoning

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