Argumentation, rationality, and psychology of reasoning

David Godden


This paper explicates an account of argumentative rationality by articulating the common, basic idea of its nature, and then identifying a collection of assumptions inherent in it. Argumentative rationality is then contrasted with dual-process theories of reasoning and rationality prevalent in the psychology of reasoning. It is argued that argumentative rationality properly corresponds only with system-2 reasoning in dual-process theories. This result challenges the prescriptive force of argumentative norms derives if they derive at all from their descriptive accuracy of our cognitive capacities. In response, I propose an activity-based account of reasoning which retains the assumptions of argumentative rationality while recontextualizing the relationship between reasoning as a justificatory activity and the psychological states and processes underlying that activity.


argumentation, basing relations, bounded rationality, dual–process theory, justification, psychology of reasoning, rationality, reasoning, spectatorial conception

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ISSN: 0824-2577