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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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Being economical with the evidence: collecting data and testing hypotheses

Being economical with the evidence: collecting data and testing hypotheses

Chapter:
(p.167) Chapter 6 Being economical with the evidence: collecting data and testing hypotheses
Source:
Bayesian Rationality
Author(s):

Mike Oaksford

Nick Chater

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524496.003.0006

This chapter shows how the probabilistic treatment of the conditional, introduced in Chapter 5, can be used to explain people’s behaviour on the Wason selection task. This task, the most discussed task in philosophical debates about rationality, is a laboratory version of the problem of choosing the best experiments to test scientific laws. Popper’s (1959) method of falsification suggested that, logically, experiments can only falsify general laws. Accordingly, the rational strategy is to seek counter-examples to our hypotheses. On finding such a counter-example, or falsifying instance, then we at least know that our putative rule is false.

Keywords:   conditionals, Wason selection task, rationality, probabilistic treatment

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