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What is Logical or Rational Thinking, and how does it relate to Reasoning, Heuristics, Biases and the Rationality Debate?

24 November, 2015 - 14:58
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There are two different types of intelligence - one type can be measured objectively (i.e. perceptual speed and memory), and the type of intellect is subjective and, although it can be measured, is still subjective. The subjective type of intellect consists of things like reasoning ability and verbal comprehension.

I stated that something like verbal comprehension is subjective; however that statement is actually a big idea (if you think about it). It is basically saying that every words definition is up for debate, or subject to opinion. That is true, however - for instance the meaning of each word for each person may be different. When someone says the word 'dog' maybe they mean to use the word as a metaphor and really mean, 'that person is like a dog' not 'that is a dog'. Maybe even when someone says 'that is a dog' they are making a subjective statement, even though it seems pretty objective. - I mean a dog has a strict definition and most people have the same thing in mind when they think of that word, therefore making its meaning rather straightforward.

My point is that different kinds of emotional understanding (which are largely things in life that are 'subjective') make up life, the words people use, and common human understanding. Therefore nothing is ever really 'objective' because it is subject to human biases. Mathematical equations are objective, however if an animal were to look at a math problem they might not understand it as being objective - they might interpret the problem to mean something else (since it wouldn't mean anything to them mathematically).

People have beliefs of various sorts. These beliefs influence their thinking and how they feel.

What else is to be said about subjective reasoning?

What else is to be said about what I have called 'subjective reasoning'? I am labeling reasoning ability as being biased and subjective in any case where emotional information is handled, which is all the time unless something is completely objective. However, nothing is completely objective because even a math problem is going to cause someone to be emotional or process it emotionally in some way. That is why I am saying that all reasoning ability is actually a sort of 'subjective reasoning'.

I mean, if you think about it, most if not all of life involves dealing with your own personal feelings - whether you are aware of it or not. Feelings are always present, they bias your decisions, and they motivate your behaviors and thoughts.

Feelings effect our lives

How is someone supposed to know when their feelings or other ideas they have (such as a belief about something) influence their decisions or thinking?

Is most of thinking emotional and biased? Or is most of the thinking people do fairly straightforward and not involve making complex (and potentially influenced by feeling) decisions?

the most emotionally relevant factor is the motivator

Goals can be changed by how motivated someone is to have that goal. Some goals can be brought into conscious awareness at various times for various reasons. Simon (1967) 1 reasoned that emotions are calls for reprioritization: that emotion regarding a goal that is out of awareness eventually induces people to give that goal a higher priority. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the claim for higher priority. Affect pulls the out-of-awareness into awareness.

Simons analysis was just referring to goals. However, if you think about it, all of someones thoughts might follow a similar logic - the logic being that the most emotionally relevant thought has the highest claim to priority.

So if someone wants something, then they are emotionally motivated to think certain things because thinking those things will generate more pleasurable emotions.

computational components underlying intelligence

What are the computational components underlying intelligence?

To begin, I ask the question - is thinking straightforward or is it complicated?

When people think, they are constantly making emotional assessments of various sorts. They think about their own motivations, i.e. how they feel about different things, and what their goals are going to be based on those motivations.

Individual thoughts also mean something emotionally. Anything someone thinks is going to be associated with different feelings and preferences.

Does this mean that thinking is simple and logical? People think all of the time, what guides their thoughts are emotional preferences that were formed from previous development or at birth.