How our brains reason logically
Author: Knauff, Markus
Source: Topoi, Volume 26, Number 1, March 2007 , pp. 19-36(18)
Abstract:The aim of this article is to strengthen links between cognitive brain research and formal logic. The work covers three fundamental sorts of logical inferences: reasoning in the propositional calculus, i.e. inferences with the conditional “if...then”, reasoning in the predicate calculus, i.e. inferences based on quantifiers such as “all”, “some”, “none”, and reasoning with n-place relations. Studies with brain-damaged patients and neuroimaging experiments indicate that such logical inferences are implemented in overlapping but different bilateral cortical networks, including parts of the fronto-temporal cortex, the posterior parietal cortex, and the visual cortices. I argue that these findings show that we do not use a single deterministic strategy for solving logical reasoning problems. This account resolves many disputes about how humans reason logically and why we sometimes deviate from the norms of formal logic.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2007-03-01