25 January 2018

Colloquium 1 – 2017/2018

What is reasoning?


  • When: 25 January 2018, 15:15-17:00
  • Location: JKH 15A, 0.04
  • Speaker: Annemarie Kalis (Ethics Institute / Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies UU)

About the talk:

Reason sets us apart from other animals. Or does it? During the last fifty years, there has been enormous progress in the field of 'automated reasoning'. On the other hand, philosophical and psychological research on reasoning suggests that everyday human reasoning is flawed, causally inefficacious and rare. The conclusion often drawn from this is that reasoning is anything but a unique and essential human capacity, a conclusion with radical implications for how we think about our own actions and decisions. However, significant lacunas remain in our understanding of reasoning. Most studies employ tasks that require abstract problem solving and intellectual skills such as doing geometry or assessing probabilities. At the same time, it is often suggested that everyday reasoning is usually much more informal and interactive. More importantly, what seems to be lacking is a general account of what counts as an instance of reasoning, and how to distinguish reasoning from other processes. In the talk I will propose a minimal definition of reasoning as 'transitions in thinking', and argue how one could use this definition to develop a more overarching understanding of reasoning, based on ideas developed by Wittgenstein and Ryle.