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# Formal Reasoning

1-Algorithm
• A rule that guarantees
the right solution to a
problem.
• Usually by using a formula.
• Example:
• To solve a problem in long
division you just apply a
series of operations that
you have learned.
• They work but are
sometimes impractical
and take too much time.
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Formal Reasoning
1-Algorithm
Algorithms, which are very time consuming,
exhaust all possibilities before arriving at a
solution. Computers use algorithms.

S P L O Y O C H Y G
If we were to unscramble these letters to form a word
using an algorithmic approach, we would face
907,208 possibilities.

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Formal Reasoning -2- Logic
• Deductive Reasoning • Inductive Reasoning
• Drawing conclusions from • Draw conclusions but
a set of observations or could conceivably be
premises. wrong.
• If the premises are true, • You draw specific
the conclusion must also conclusions from
be true. general premises.
• Example: • Example:
• All human beings are • Most people with
mortal. I am a human season tickets must
being. love music. John has
season tickets.
• If the premises are true
• Then, John probably
• Then, I am mortal. loves music.
Formal Reasoning – 2- Logic
• Deductive Reasoning • Inductive Reasoning
Examples: Example:
• 1. All oranges are fruits • All the tigers observed
2. All fruits grow on trees in a particular region
3. Therefore, all oranges have yellow black
grow on trees
stripes, therefore all
• The soccer game is on the tigers native to this
either Thursday or Friday. region have yellow
I just found out that the
game is not on Thursday, stripes.
so the game must be on • My dog has never bitten
Friday. me, so dogs don’t bite.
• If the two premises really • Even if all the premises
are true, then there is no are true, it is still
possible way that the possible that the
conclusion could be false. conclusion is false.
January has always been cold here
in Siberia. Today is January 14, so it
is going to be another cold day in
Siberia.
• This argument is inductive. The premises makes the
conclusion likely, but they do not guarantee that the
conclusion is true.
• To put the point another way, it is possible that the
premises of this argument could be true and the
conclusion could still be false.
• One can, for example, imagine a freak warm day
in Siberia on January 14.
Sherlock Holmes and inductive reasoning.
Informal Reasoning
• In informal reasoning problems, there
may be no clearly correct solutions.
• Disagreement may exist about basic
premises.
• Information may be incomplete.
• Many view points may compete.

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Informal Reasoning
Heuristics
• A rule-of-thumb strategy
that often allows us to make
judgments and solve problems
efficiently. Who would you trust to
• A short cut (that can be baby-sit your child?
prone to errors).
• Examples:
• A doctor who wants to
determine the best kind of
treatment.
• A factory owner who wants to
boost production.
Heuristics
S P L O Y O C H Y G
SS
P P Y
L O Y O C
C H H G Y
L O
Put a Y at the end, and see if the word
begins to make sense.

## We use heuristics everyday, and they help us process our

environment and make decisions quickly.

## However, they set us up for mistakes…

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Problem Solving Strategies

Barriers to Reasoning
What are some obstacles faced
when using reason and problem
solving?

Cognitive Biases
Cognitive biases impact decision-making.

## • Cognitive biases are mental

mechanisms that:
systematically influence
judgment and decision-
making.
• Cognitive biases occur without our
conscious awareness.
• (They help us make decisions
quickly, but can impair our ability
to make rational judgments.)

## • Note: we’re not going to focus on why we

have cognitive biases, but instead on their
effects.
Cognitive Biases - Barriers to Reasoning
• 1- Availability Heuristic
Exaggerating the Improbable

## ➢ Estimating the likelihood of events based on

their availability in memory. We assume
such events are common.
➢ Vivid cases in the news often cause an
availability heuristic.
➢ “If it happened in the past, then it will
happen again/now.”

Example:
winners, you start to overestimate your own
likelihood of winning the jackpot.
Availability Heuristic
Does this look good?
Well, at least
moderately P
acceptable?
R
O
T
O
T
Wait,
what??? ? Y
P
E

This is an
example
of….
Cognitive Biases - Barriers to Reasoning
• 2- Representativeness Heuristic
Who went to Harvard? • Judging a situation
My friend Dan is a based on how similar
smart dude, but did the aspects are to the
not go to Harvard (but
he looks like he did). prototypes the person
holds in her mind.
• Like thinking everyone
from Decatur is
preppy, or someone
with glasses is nerdy,
•If I tell you that Sonia Dara was a Sports
or a blonde is not
Illustrated swimsuit model, you would most likely smart.
make certain quick judgments (heuristics) about
her…such as her interests or intelligence.
•Sonia was a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model AND she graduated with an
economics / human evolutionary biology degree with honors from Harvard University.
Representativeness Heuristic
Linda is 31, single, outspoken and very bright.
She majored in philosophy in college. As a
student, she was deeply concerned with
discrimination and other social issues, and she
participated in antinuclear demonstrations.
Which statement is more likely?
a. Linda is a bank teller
b. Linda is a bank teller and a feminist
activist.

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Representativeness fallacy
• Judging the conjunction of two events
to be more probable than one of the
individual elements.

Bank tellers

Feminists
The Availability and
Representativeness Heuristics