chapter  4
Logical and Causal Reasoning
Pages 14

Reasoning is perhaps best defined in relation to thinking and inference (Moshman, 2011, 2015). Inference, the broadest of these three terms, typically refers to the generation of new knowledge through a variety of processes, often without the intent or awareness of the knower. Thinking involves the metacognitive self-regulation of inferences. In thinking, one deliberately controls one’s inferences on the basis of one’s knowledge about inference in general and awareness of one’s own inferences. Nevertheless, thinking is often more concerned with success than with generating new knowledge or better understanding. Faced with a problem, for example, one tries to think of a solution. If the problem is solved, the thinking is successful. Similarly, in making decisions, rendering judgments, or formulating plans, people make and coordinate inferences in order to serve their purposes. Thinking, in other words, is deliberate but often just pragmatic.