Date of Award

8-6-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Andrea Scarantino - Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Eddy Nahmias - Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Erin McClure

Abstract

The past 40 years have seen an enormous amount of research aimed at investigating human reasoning and decision-making abilities. This research has led to an extended debate about the extent to which humans meet the standards of normative theories of rationality. Recently, it has been proposed that dual-process theories, which posit that there are two distinct types of cognitive systems, offer a way to resolve this debate over human rationality. I will propose that the two systems of dual-process theories are best understood as investigative kinds. I will then examine recent empirical research from the cognitive neuroscience of decision-making that lends empirical support to the theoretical claims of dual-process theorists. I will lastly argue that dual-process theories not only offer an explanation for much of the conflicting data seen in decision-making and reasoning research, but that they ultimately offer reason to be optimistic about the prospects of human rationality.

Included in

Philosophy Commons

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