Are there Reasons to Challenge a Symbolic Computationalist Approach in Explaining Deductive Reasoning?

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Abstract

The majority of the existing theories explaining deductive reasoning could be included in a classic computationalist approach of the cognitive processes. In fact, deductive reasoning could be seen to be the pinnacle of the symbolic computationalism, its last fortress to be defended in the face of new, dynamic, and ecological perspectives over cognition. But are there weak points in that position regarding deductive reasoning? What would be the reasons for which new perspectives could gain in credibility? What could be their most important tenets? The answers given to those questions in the paper include two main points. The first one is that the present empirical data could not sustain unambiguously one view over the other, that they are obtained in artificial experimental conditions, and that there are data that are not easily explainable using the traditional computationalist paradigm. The second one is that approaching the deductive reasoning from dynamic and ecological perspectives could have significant advantages. The most obvious one is the possibility to integrate more easily the research regarding the deductive reasoning with the results obtained in other domains of the psychology (especially in what respects the lower cognitive processes), in artificial intelligence or in neurophysiology. The reasons for that would be that such perspectives, as they are sketched in the paper, would imply, essentially, processes of second-order pattern formation and recognition (as it is the case for perception), embodied cognition, and dynamic processes as the brain ones are.

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