Reason Relations, Argumentation, and Conditionals: Applying Ranking Theory to Psychology of Reasoning
The project consists of a mixture of theoretical and empirical work. An important goal of the project is to establish a connection between ranking theory and experimental psychology. One subgoal of the project consists in finding a way of deriving quantitative predictions from the ranking theoretic approach to conditionals, which, in contrast to the suppositional theory of conditionals, emphasizes the central role played by the epistemic relevance of the antecedent for the consequent in the semantics of natural language conditionals. A further subgoal consist in running exploratory experiments that use established experimental paradigms from the psychology of reasoning, but introduce a manipulation with respect to that epistemic relevance. This is an attempt to motivate a general reorientation towards the relevance of the antecedent for the consequent in the empirical study of conditionals. A final subgoal of the project will consist in work on transposing the normative foundation of ranking theory to the scorekeeping practice described in the works of Robert Brandom. This final part of the project is motivated by an attempt to rethink the normative basis of ranking theory in light of the rationality debates in psychology of reasoning. The idea is that the normative model of the pragmatics of giving and asking for reasons in the work of Brandom can be explicated by using the epistemological tools of ranking theory for the purpose of formulating an experimental task that can contribute to the recent orientation towards psychology of argumentation in cognitive psychology. At various points, the project has systematic connections to the existing project 'Testing and extending a dual-source model of everyday conditional reasoning' within the DFG priority program New Frameworks of Rationality as well as to other project proposals, which will be explored.