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Dutilh Novaes, Catarina

Dutilh Novaes, Catarina


Catarina Dutilh Novaes, born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1976. Ph.D. from Leiden University. Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Groningen.

Fellow (1 Sept – 31 Dec 2016)

The Roots of Deduction

Research Question

What exactly is going on when we conclude that Fido must be an animal solely from the information that Fido is a dog and all dogs are animals? Such inferences are known as deductive inferences, and despite their apparent simplicity raise a range of philosophical and cognitive issues.

Project Description

The goal of the project is to investigate the ‘roots’ of deductive reasoning: the historical development of this kind of reasoning, how it is implemented within human cognition, and what grounds the correctness of deductive reasoning. The main hypothesis of the project is that deductive reasoning is best understood from a dialogical perspective. A deductive argument would correspond to a dialogue between two fictitious characters: the person wishing to establish the conclusion, given the presumed truth of the premises, and an interlocutor who will not be easily convinced and will bring up objections, counterexamples, and requests for further clarification. This approach is in contrast with most other conceptions of deduction, which view deductive reasoning as a solitary, inner mental process.

Selected Publications

1. C. Dutilh Novaes 2007, Formalizing Medieval Logical Theories – Suppositio, Consequentia and Obligationes. Berlin, Springer.

2. C. Dutilh Novaes 2012, Formal Languages in Logic – A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis. Cambridge University Press.

3. C. Dutilh Novaes 2013, “A dialogical account of deductive reasoning as a case study for how culture shapes cognition”. Journal of Cognition and Culture 13, 453-476.

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