Hitherto I had stuck to my Resolution of not eating animal Food; and on this Occasion, I consider'd with my Master Tryon, the taking every Fish as a kind of unprovoked Murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any Injury that might justify the Slaughter. — All this seem'd very reasonable. — But I had formerly been a great Lover of Fish, & when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between Principle & inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: — Then, thought I, if you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you. So I din'd upon Cod very heartily and continu'd to eat with other People, returning only now & then occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.
Prediction #1. If reasoning evolved so that we can argue with others, then we should be reasonably good at arguing.
What did a pre-reason debate consist of? Wild assertions of non-sequiturs?
R1. Different deﬁnitions of reasoning
In the target article, we deﬁned reasoning as the mental act of constructing or evaluating an argument that is at least partly explicit. In particular, it must contain both a conclusion and reasons to accept this conclusion, even if some of the steps leading from these reasons to the conclusions are left implicit. In this sense, reasoning is in contrast with ordinary intuitive inference, a process that yields a conclusion without articulating the reasons to accept it. So far, our deﬁnition is close enough to philosophical and commonsense use of the term reasoning and at odds with the now widespread use in psychology of “reasoning” as a mere synonym of inference. Needless to say, several deﬁnitions of reasoning may each target a phenomenon worth studying.
Humans are immersed in a ﬂow of socially transmitted information
and are highly dependent on it. For communication to have evolved, it had to be advantageous to both communicators and receivers (who are, of course, the same individuals but acting in two different capacities). What makes communication advantageous to receivers is that it provides them with rich information that they could not, or not easily, have obtained on their own. For this, the information they receive has to be genuine information; that is, close enough to truth. What makes communication advantageous to communicators is that it allows them to achieve some desirable effect in the receivers. For this, the information they emit has to be conducive to this effect, whether it is true or false.
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