Reasoning about Reasoning
I need to read the book referenced in this comment over on Slashdot. There are clearly implications about the way we make decisions.
“The book Probability Theory: The Logic of Science is about a lot more than just Bayes theorem. Jaynes starts out with a list of basic desiderata for a plausible reasoner:
(I) Degrees of plausibility are represented by real numbers.
(II) Qualitative correspondence with common sense.
(IIIa) If a conclusion can be reasoned out in more than one way, then every possible way must lead to the same result.
(IIIb) The [reasoner] takes into account all of the evidence it has relevant to a question.
(IIIc) The [reasoner] always represents equivalent states of knowlege by equivalent plausibility assignments.
He then shows that these desiderata lead to a unique set of quantitative rules for plausible reasoning.
But the part I find most interesting is the comment sections at the end of each chapter. For example, after listing his desiderata, his comments begin:
As politicians, advertisers, salesmen, and propagandists for various political, economic, moral, religious, psychic, envrionmental, dietary, and artistic doctrinaire positions know only too well, fallible human minds are easily tricked, by clever verbiage, into committing violations of the above desiderata. We shall try to ensure that they do not suceed with our [reasoner].”