How Human Reasoning Works
Human reasoning is a fascinating process but a very complex one as well! For most of us the process involves thinking in ways that give us 'reasons' for why we have the beliefs and answers we do to virtually anything in life. It's a quest to understand why we act and feel as we do.
Other Animals and ReasoningIn fact, we used to think that reasoning was something special and exclusive to humans but we now know that many other animals take part in reasoning as well. However, human reasoning remains the biggest mystery that most of us would like to understand.
Improving Human ReasoningIt's complicated by questions about which parts might be inherited and which aspects are learned. Better still, we want to know how we can change the ways in which we reason, helping us to gain advanced reasoning skills and more success in life.
Different Fields of Study and ReasoningIronically, any discussion on human reasoning means we have to participate in 'reasoning about our own reasoning.' To reflect on how we reason takes us into different fields of study. From a philosophical perspective, reasoning is usually about good and bad or what is right or wrong.
To do this, a philosopher would look at the structure of reasoning in an argument or the ways in which people attain a goal of reasoning. But for other fields such as the psychological sciences, studies of human reasoning will be more about cultural factors that influence reasoning. Or, the cognitive processes that contribute to human reasoning.
Types of Human ReasoningHow we make sense of things can actually be classified in a number of different ways. With abductive reasoning, we would try to choose the best answer to a question by showing its merits while basically falsifying the others.
Ever argued with someone whose argument just seems completely flawed? This is known as fallacious reasoning, where the reasoning in an argument makes no sense and has no logical basis.
There are also formal and informal fallacies, where the argument structure is incorrect or something is awry with the content, which then leads to an incorrect form of reasoning. While the reasoning might accurately reflect the content – if the content is wrong, the reasoning ends up being wrong as well.