Dual Models Argumentative Theory and Moral Reasoning

Dual Models Argumentative Theory and Moral Reasoning

Roger Fontaine (University of Tours, France) and Valérie Pennequin (University of Tours, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1811-3.ch001

Abstract

The idea of the existence of duality in the functioning of the human mind is very old: for some psychologists, this is due to the existence of two types of cognitive process, heuristic and analytic. The former is influenced by the individual's beliefs, and the latter analyzes the validity of arguments and justifications. This chapter examines this duality from a critical perspective by exploring its ecological validity. Thus, the duality will be examined in relation to the principles of the Darwinian theory of evolution and presented the advantages of the alternative model of argumentative theory. Authors present in more detail recent models of moral reasoning to illustrate what they believe are the limitations of the dual-process models of cognition.
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Introduction

The idea of the existence of duality in the functioning of the human mind is very old. Thus Plato (The Republic, Book VI) contrasted a human world that he described as relative, without absolute truth, corruptible (biased), in short natural, with the world of ideas and models that would be absolute and allow us to achieve truth and the universal. Through anamnesis human beings can step outside the physical world to attain the absolute truth of the world of ideas. It is remarkable how much this Platonic dualism has influenced and still influences philosophical and scientific thought. Dualism is closely associated with the thought of René Descartes (1641), which holds that the mind is a nonphysical substance. Mind–body dualism, is a view in the philosophy of mind that mental phenomena are non-physical or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Res extensa and res cogitans are mutually exclusive and this makes it possible to conceptualize the complete intellectual independence from the body. Res cogitans is also referred to as the soul and is related by thinkers such as Aristotle in his. On the other hand, res extensa, are entities described by the principles of logic and are considered in terms of definiteness. Due to the polarity of these two concepts, the natural science focused on res extensa.

The emergence of a scientific model of duality is associated with the development of probability theory by mathematicians in the 17th century. It was then considered as a way for gamblers to rid themselves of their illusions, beliefs and emotions and adopt rational strategies when making bets. One of the chapters in the philosophical essay on probability by Pierre-Simon de Laplace (1796), the great French mathematician, is entitled “Des illusions dans l'estimation des probabilités”, and it describes the famous “gambler’s fallacy”. This concerns the fact that, in the coin toss game, if the coin comes up tails several times in a row, many people think that the next throw is increasingly likely to come up tails. The reasoning is false but is very seductive, comparable to the effects of an optical illusion. Since then, this fallacy has been the subject of systematic research (Tversky & Kahneman, 1971; Ayton & Fisher, 2004). Kahneman suggested that perceptual biases (optical illusions) are to perception what cognitive biases are to reasoning.

In line with the Greek philosophers, this duality is fundamentally based on the conviction that the laws of thought respect the rules of formal logic. In 1854, one of the pioneers of modern logic, George Boole, published a book entitled “The laws of thought”, considered by some psychologists as a handbook of general cognitive functioning. For example, Piaget (1977-1985) considered the mathematical theory of Poincaré groups (1898) as a model of cognitive structures. But the full title of Boole's book is much more precise: “An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities”. Boole therefore confined his laws of thought to the mathematical field, without raising the question of whether these laws can be applied to non-mathematical tasks of daily life. But according to dual-process models, we are mathematicians whose skills are hindered by our beliefs and illusions.

In this chapter, we examine this duality from a critical perspective by exploring its ecological validity. Thus, we will examine it in relation to the principles of the Darwinian theory of evolution and present the advantages of the alternative model of argumentative theory. We present in more detail recent models of moral reasoning to illustrate what we believe are the limitations of the dual-process models of cognition.

Intuition Is Reason in a Hurry. – Holbrook Jackson

Researchers in the psychology of reasoning have developed many dual-process models to explain poor human performance in logical problem-solving tasks. One of the most famous is Wason’s selection task (1960, 1966), in which participants are asked to test the condition of the proposition that if a card has a vowel written on one side, then it has an even number written on the other side. To confirm the rule, participants must turn over as few cards as possible. It appears that only 10% of participants are successful, and even less when they are asked to justify their answer.

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