Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):1-28 (2022)
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In this paper, I analyse the nature of a particular form of theoretical reasoning—ratiocination. Ratiocination is purposeful, self-conscious, deliberatively controlled reasoning. I will argue that ratiocination concludes when the ratiocinator believes that she ought to believe p. In Section 1, I suggest that the way a reasoner’s mind moves in ratiocination is different from the way her mind moves in non-ratiocinative reasoning. Such a difference should motivate an analysis that focuses just on ratiocination. In Section 2, I provide a general characterisation of ratiocination and distinguish it from non-ratiocinative reasoning. I draw a distinction between non-deliberative rational control and deliberative rational control. I then argue that the ratiocinator always exercises the latter. Since theoretical reasoning is a norm-governed activity and since ratiocination involves deliberatively controlled reasoning, the ratiocinator necessarily tries to control her mental movements in a way that is in line with the normative requirements of this activity. In Section 3, I argue that ratiocination ends when the ratiocinator believes that she ought to believe p. I further explain the nature of the ‘ought’ in the ratiocinator’s belief that she ought to believe p. In Section 4, I address possible objections to the account on offer and explain why my account does not undermine our general understanding of the nature of theoretical reasoning. I explain that my claim is compatible with the claim that reasons to be rational are transparent to reasons to believe p. I also discuss why the ratiocinator’s belief that she ought to believe p is not an intermediate stage in ratiocination. Finally, I argue that ratiocination, as described, is compatible with the claim that belief is truth-governed.



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H. C. Winnie Sung
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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References found in this work

Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Why be rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
What is inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.

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