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Humans do not reason from contradictory premises. The psychological aspects of paraconsistency.

Rudnicki, Konrad (2020) Humans do not reason from contradictory premises. The psychological aspects of paraconsistency. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The creation of paraconsistent logics have expanded the boundaries of formal logic by introducing coherent systems that tolerate contradictions without triviality. Thanks to their novel approach and rigorous formalization they have already found many applications in computer science, linguistics and mathematics. As a natural next step, some philosophers have also tried to answer the question if human everyday reasoning could be accurately modelled with paraconsistent logics. The purpose of this article is to argue against the notion that human reasoning is paraconsistent. Numerous findings in the area of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience go against the hypothesis that humans tolerate contradictions in their inferences. Humans experience severe stress and confusion when confronted with contradictions (i.e., the so-called cognitive dissonance). Experiments on the ways in which humans process contradictions point out that the first thing humans do is remove or modify one of the contradictory statements. From an evolutionary perspective, contradiction is useless and even more dangerous than lack of information because it takes up resources to process. Furthermore, it appears that when logicians, anthropologists or psychologists provide examples of contradictions in human culture and behaviour, their examples very rarely take the form of: (p and ¬p). Instead, they are often conditional statements, probabilistic judgments, metaphors or seemingly incompatible beliefs. At different points in time humans are definitely able to hold contradictory beliefs, but within one reasoning leading to a particular behaviour, contradiction is never tolerated.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Rudnicki, Konradkonrad.rudnicki@uantwerpen.be0000-0002-5419-7457
Keywords: Contradiction, inconsistency, paraconsistency, dialetheism, reasoning, psychologism, cognitive dissonance
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
Depositing User: Dr. Konrad Rudnicki
Date Deposited: 08 May 2020 23:02
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 23:02
Item ID: 17154
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17154

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