Document Detail

The intersection between Descriptivism and Meliorism in reasoning research: further proposals in support of 'soft normativism'
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  25414687     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The rationality paradox centers on the observation that people are highly intelligent, yet show evidence of errors and biases in their thinking when measured against normative standards. Elqayam and Evans' (2011) reject normative standards in the psychological study of thinking, reasoning and deciding in favor of a 'value-free' descriptive approach to studying high-level cognition. In reviewing Elqayam and Evans' (2011) position, we defend an alternative to descriptivism in the form of 'soft normativism,' which allows for normative evaluations alongside the pursuit of descriptive research goals. We propose that normative theories have considerable value provided that researchers: (1) are alert to the philosophical quagmire of strong relativism; (2) are mindful of the biases that can arise from utilizing normative benchmarks; and (3) engage in a focused analysis of the processing approach adopted by individual reasoners. We address the controversial 'is-ought' inference in this context and appeal to a 'bridging solution' to this contested inference that is based on the concept of 'informal reflective equilibrium.' Furthermore, we draw on Elqayam and Evans' (2011) recognition of a role for normative benchmarks in research programs that are devised to enhance reasoning performance and we argue that such Meliorist research programs have a valuable reciprocal relationship with descriptivist accounts of reasoning. In sum, we believe that descriptions of reasoning processes are fundamentally enriched by evaluations of reasoning quality, and argue that if such standards are discarded altogether then our explanations and descriptions of reasoning processes are severely undermined.
Edward J N Stupple; Linden J Ball
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Publication Detail:
Type:  REVIEW     Date:  2014-11-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  Frontiers in psychology     Volume:  5     ISSN:  1664-1078     ISO Abbreviation:  Front Psychol     Publication Date:  2014  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-11-21     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  2014-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101550902     Medline TA:  Front Psychol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  1269     Citation Subset:  -    
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