Guidance on Reasoning

It seems to me that many of our biggest problems are due to failures of reasoning:

  • Even when we realise that there might be a problem, we reason that there will not be, and carry on.
  • Even when there is a problem, we carry on reasoning as we have done, regardless of the contribution that our reason has had to contributing to the problem.

Much of our reasoning can be regarded as broadly ‘scientific’. My experience has been that it is scientistic, in the sense that it is concerned about the appearance of ‘being sound’ without showing any obvious concern for appropriateness or validity. Most people who think like me tend to put this down to some ulterior motives, but perhaps not.

Reviewing the literature, both basic and advanced, it seems obvious to me that much ‘scientific’ reasoning is scientistic and fallacious. But maybe not to most people? Is there a ‘core failure’ to be identified? Could we all agree on some more powerful guidance?

My first attempt is on induction and pragmatism: all applications of empirical reasoning contain an element of induction, and many failures seem to be because a simplistic approach to induction has been regarded as pragmatic.

Dave Marsay

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