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An interdisciplinary conference on reasoning and rationality, organized by the Department of Philosophy at the Open University, in association with the University’s Mind, Meaning and Rationality research group. The conference was held at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge.

The conference has now taken place, but this website will stay live as a record of the event and a home for resources related to it, including abstracts, draft papers, and PowerPoint presentations.

There has been growing interest recently in so-called ‘dual-process’ theories of reasoning and rationality. Such theories postulate two distinct systems (or sets of systems) underlying human reasoning – typically distinguishing an evolutionarily old system ('System 1') that is associative, automatic, unconscious, parallel, and fast, and a more recent, distinctively human system ('System 2') that is rule-based, controlled, conscious, serial, and slow. On some views, System 1 processes are held to be innate and to employ heuristics which evolved to solve specific adaptive problems, whereas System 2 processes are taken to be learned, flexible, and responsive to rational norms. Widespread cognitive illusions, such as the conjunction fallacy, can be ascribed to System 1, while superior individual performances can be explained as the result of System 2 processes overriding System 1 responses. Some writers also suggest that the two systems are associated with different conceptions of rationality.

This three-day interdisciplinary conference will for the first time bring together the leading researchers on dual-processes theory in order explore the motivations for different dual-process theories, the connections and contrasts between them, and their implications for various disciplines. The focus will be on theoretical aspects of dual-process theory, rather than purely experimental work, and there will be special emphasis on the philosophical applications of work in this area.

We invite submissions on conference themes for 45-minute presentations (30 minutes’ talk + 15 minutes’ discussion). Submissions should not have been previously published.

Papers should address theoretical issues rather than only reporting experimental data. Possible topics include, though are not limited to:

  • New versions of dual-process theory and comparisons between existing ones.
  • Critiques of dual-process theory.
  • Historical perspectives on dual-process theory.
  • Implications of dual-process theory for debates about rationality.
  • Applications of dual-process theory to issues in psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology.
  • Philosophical applications of dual-process theory, including applications in the areas of philosophy of mind, epistemology, philosophy of language, ethics, political philosophy, and legal theory.
  • Applications of dual-process theory to other disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, and economics.

Follow this link for a list of speakers and poster presenters.


Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge