Mental Logic: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mental Logic

1st Edition

Edited by Martin D.S. Braine, David P. O'Brien, Martin Braine

Psychology Press

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Over the past decade, the question of whether there is a mental logic has become subject to considerable debate. There have been attacks by critics who believe that all reasoning uses mental models and return attacks on mental-models theory. This controversy has invaded various journals and has created issues between mental logic and the biases-and-heuristics approach to reasoning, and the content-dependent theorists. However, despite its pertinence to current issues in cognition, few cognitive scientists really know what the mental-logic theory is, and misapprehensions are prevalent. This volume is a comprehensive presentation of the theory of mental logic and its implications for cognition and development, including the acquisition of language.

The theory offered here has three parts. Part I is the mental logic per se that contains a set of inference schemas. Part II is a reasoning program that applies the schemas in lines of reasoning, including a direct-reasoning routine and more sophisticated indirect-reasoning strategies. Part III of the theory is pragmatic, proposing that the basic meaning of each logic particle is in the inferences that are sanctioned by its inference schemas.


"The richness of this enterprise is a legacy befitting the important and substantial contribution of Martin Braine and David O'Brien to our understanding the human mind."

Contemporary Psychology

"Researchers interested in higher-order reasoning processes should find valuable information in this volume."

Journal of Mathematical Psychology

Table of Contents

Contents: D.P. O'Brien, Introduction: Some Background to the Mental-Logic Theory and to the Book. L. Bonatti, Why It Took So Long to Bake the Mental-Logic Cake: Historical Analysis of the Recipe and Its Ingredients. D.P. O'Brien, Mental Logic and Irrationality: We Can Put a Man on the Moon So Why Can't We Solve Those Logical Reasoning Problems? M.D.S. Braine, D.P. O'Brien, How to Investigate Mental Logic and the Syntax of Thought. R.B. Lea, Logical Inferences and Comprehension: How-Mental Logic and Text Processing Theories Need Each Other. M.D.S. Braine, D.P. O'Brien, The Theory of Mental-Propositional Logic: Description and Illustration. M.D.S. Braine, B.J. Reiser, B. Rumain, Evidence for the Theory: Predicting the Difficulty of Propositional Logic Inference Problems. M.D.S. Braine, D.P. O'Brien, I.A. Noveck, M.C. Samuels, R.B. Lea, S.M. Fisch, Y. Yang, Further Evidence for the Theory: Predicting Intermediate and Multiple Conclusions in Propositional Logic Inference Problems M.D.S. Braine, D.P. O'Brien, A Theory of If: A Lexical Entry, Reasoning Program, and Pragmatic Principles. D.P. O'Brien, M.G. Dias, A. Roazzi, M.D.S. Braine, Conditional Reasoning: The Logic of Supposition and Children's Understanding of Pretense. M.D.S. Braine, Steps Toward a Mental-Predicate Logic. Y. Yang, M.D.S. Braine, D.P. O'Brien, Some Empirical Justification of the Mental-Predicate-Logic Model. I.A. Noveck, G. Politzer, Leveling the Playing Field: Investigating Competing Claims Concerning Relative Inference Difficulty. D.P. O'Brien, M.G. Dias, A. Roazzi, A Case Study in the Mental Models and Mental-Logic Debate: Condition Syllogisms. D.P. O'Brien, M.G. Dias, J.R. Hosie, A Dubious Premise: Suppressibility of Modus Ponens. L. Bonatti, What the Mental Logic-Mental Models Controversy Is Not About. D.P. O'Brien, M.G. Dias, A. Roazzi, J.B. Cantor, Pinocchio's Nose Knows: Preschool Children Recognize That a Pragmatic Rule Can Be Violated, an Indicative Conditional Can Be Falsified, and That a Broken Promise Is a False Promise.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology