Reasoning Competence

Knowles, Jonathan Reasoning Competence. In: Pre-Proceedings of the 26th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, Kirchberg am Wechsel, pp. 180-182.


Download (128kB)


In the 1970s, various experiments were carried out on ordinary people"s reasoning powers suggesting our natural ability to reason does not match up to the normative standards endorsed in logic and probability theory. The two most famous of these have come to be termed the selection experiment, and the conjunction experiment (or Linda experiment). In the first, Peter Wason asked subjects to test a rule for cards with numbers on one side and letters on the other, such as "If the card has a vowel on one side, it has an odd number on the other" (Wason 1971). Wason"s basic finding was that very few subjects selected the two cards that are necessary to test such a rule, suggesting that they do not understand the logic of conditionals (that they are false just if the antecedent is true and the consequent false). In the second experiment, Kahneman and Tversky told subjects a story about a woman called Linda, and then gave them a list of statements about Linda concerning what kind of occupation she has and/or what she does in her free time, and asked them to rank the statements from most to least likely. Nearly all subjects ranked the statement Linda is a bank teller and active in the feminist movement as more likely than Linda is a bank teller, which contravenes a fundamental theorem of statistics to the effect that the probability of any single event A can never be lower than the probability of both A and some other event B. (Cf. Tversky & Kahneman 1983.)

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: conjunction experiment; selection experiment; Linda experiment; Chomsky, N.; Davidson, D.
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Epistemologie, Wissenschaftstheorie, Naturphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg, Pre-Proceedings > Kirchberg 2003
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Logik, analytische Philosophie
Depositing User: Stefan Köstenbauer
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2008 09:29
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:52

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year