A new proposal for integrating the employment of formal and empirical methods in the study of human reasoning.
In Human Reasoning and Cognitive Science, Keith Stenning and Michiel van Lambalgen-a cognitive scientist and a logician-argue for the indispensability of modern mathematical logic to the study of human reasoning. Logic and cognition were once closely connected, they write, but were "divorced" in the past century; the psychology of deduction went from being central to the cognitive revolution to being the subject of widespread skepticism about whether human reasoning really happens outside the academy. Stenning and van Lambalgen argue that logic and reasoning have been separated because of a series of unwarranted assumptions about logic.
Stenning and van Lambalgen contend that psychology cannot ignore processes of interpretation in which people, wittingly or unwittingly, frame problems for subsequent reasoning. The authors employ a neurally implementable defeasible logic for modeling part of this framing process, and show how it can be used to guide the design of experiments and interpret results.
Keith Stenning is Professor of Human Communication in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is author of Seeing Reason and coauthor of Introduction to Cognition and Communication (MIT Press, 2006). Michiel van Lambalgen is Professor of Logic and Cognitive Science at the University of Amsterdam and coauthor of The Proper Treatment of Events.