Donnerstag, 22. März 2018


"The great difference, in fact, between [a] simpler kind of rational thinking which consists in the concrete objects of past experience merely suggesting each other, and reasoning distinctively so called, is this, that whilst the empirical thinking is only reproductive, reasoning is productive. An empirical, or 'rule-of-thumb,' thinker can deduce nothing from data with whose behavior and associates in the concrete he is unfamiliar. But put a reasoner amongst a set of concrete objects which he has neither seen or heard before, and with a little time, if he is a good reasoner, he will make such inferences from them as will quite atone for his ignorance. Reasoning helps us out of unprecedented situations - situations for which all our associative wisdom, all the 'education' which we share in common with the beasts, leaves us without resource.
Let us make this ability to deal with novel data the technical differentia of reasoning."

William James, Principles of Psychology

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