A theory of bouletic reasoning

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Description: No present theory explains or models the inferences people draw about the real world when reasoning about “bouletic” relations, i.e., predicates that express desires, such as want in Lee wants an espresso. Linguistic accounts of such bouletic relations define them in terms of their relation to a desirer’s beliefs, and how its complement is deemed to be desirable (cf. Heim, 1992; Villalta, 2008; Rubinstein 2012). In contrast, we describe a new model-based theory (cf. Johnson-Laird, 2006; Khemlani, Byrne, & Johnson-Laird, 2018) that posits that such predicates are fundamentally counterfactual in nature. In particular, X wants P should imply that P is not the case, because you cannot want what is already true. The theory makes empirical predictions about how people assess the consistency of bouletic relations as well as how they use such relations to eliminate disjunctive possibilities. Two experiments tested and validated the theory’s central predictions. We assess the theory in light of alternative accounts of human reasoning.

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What is "BR1"? And "BR2"? The names of the folders below (e.g., "Experiment 1") correspond to the descriptions in Harner and Khemlani (preprint). The code, data, and analysis scripts also reflect a separate abbreviation system used for tracking experiments. Hence, "Experiment 1" corresponds to "BR1", i.e., the 1st experiment conducted for studying Bouletic Reasoning. How do you run an experiment f...

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