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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, I articulate a category of rational intuitive inference that stands between the simplest forms of association and the most complex forms of deductive reasoning. I focus especially on how intuitive inferences can be scaffolded up through successive levels of abstraction to more stimulus-independent forms of judgment that look (from the outside, at least) like paradigm instances of reasoning. Such abstraction can, I argue, lead to thoughts that are “unsaturated” in the Fregean sense, with abstract “slots” into which individuals must be fit for the thought to be complete. Finally, I consider whether such abstraction can achieve the formal, validity-preserving forms of inference familiar from symbolic logic, arguing that the psychology of intuitive judgment should respect older Fregean lessons about the border between psychology and logic.

Keywords: rationality, reasoning, inference, scaffolding, intuition, deduction, abstraction, deep learning, animal cognition, psychologism

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