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Rationality, Reasoning Well, and Extramental Props

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Abstract

Recently, a cottage industry has formed with the expressed intent of analyzing the nature of personal-level reasoning and inference. The dominant position in the extant philosophical literature is that reasoning consists in rule-governed operations over propositional attitudes. In addition, it is widely assumed that our attitude updating procedures are purely cognitive. Any non-cognitive activity performed in service of updating our attitudes is external to the updating process-at least in terms of rational evaluation. In this paper, I argue that whether one has rationally updated one's attitudes and whether the resultant attitudes are rational can (at least partially) depend on one's interactions with one's environment and body to scaffold one's ability to arrive at attitudes that are rationally appropriate given one's evidence.

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... For instance, we can draw Venn Diagrams in service of determining the validity of a syllogism as opposed to undertaking the cognitively costly task of generating a mental model in visuospatial working memory. As I argue elsewhere (Munroe 2019) embracing the lessons of situated cognition requires that we further expand our theory of reasoning and our evaluative framework for assessing a person's attitude updating practices. ...
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Content Preservation
  • Tyler Burge
Burge, Tyler. 1993. "Content Preservation." Philosophical Review 102 (4): 457-488. https://doi.org/10.2307/2185680.