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Bayesian RationalityThe probabilistic approach to human reasoning$
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Mike Oaksford and Nick Chater

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524496

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524496.001.0001

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The probabilistic turn

The probabilistic turn

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 4 The probabilistic turn
Source:
Bayesian Rationality
Author(s):

Mike Oaksford

Nick Chater

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524496.003.0004

This chapter aims to outline the so-called ‘probabilistic turn’: a move from using logic to using probability theory as a framework for understanding human thought. This probabilistic turn has occurred primarily over the last ten to fifteen years across a range of disciplines. The chapter begins by considering the probabilistic turn in the semantics of natural language, i.e. the project of specifying a formal theory of meaning for natural language statements, and thus specifying which inferences follow from such statements. It considers how probabilistic approaches have become prevalent in the three areas that were considered in relation to logic-based methods. In each of these areas — theories of scientific inference, artificial intelligence, and psychology — the discussion will be broadened to consider relevant research across related disciplines. The chapter thus provides historical and technical background for the development of the specific probabilistic theories of performance on the three key areas of human reasoning: conditional reasoning, the selection task, and syllogistic reasoning.

Keywords:   natural language, probabilistic turn, probability, human reasoning, semantics, scientific interference, artificial intelligence, psychology

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