Philip N. Johnson-Laird. How We Reason. Oxford University Press, 2006. (Hardback) 573 pages. ISBN 0-19-856976-9
Removing the Brackets from Context and Advanced Cognitive Processes
A Review by Joe Petrulionis
World shaking intellectual projects have rarelybeen contained within boundary lines of a solitary academic field. Nor did they all happen near the turn of the seventeenth century. From Copernicus, to Kant, Leibniz, Darwin, Husserl, and to Einstein, some of these ideas and their originators were overlooked in their first published editions. Among the ten thousand or so academic books published initially in 2006, there will certainly be a few that will prove instrumental to the preparation of future specialists within their respective fields, specialists who will do their part, in turn, to push back the edge of the unknown in their own incremental ways. Perhaps the true measure of a great book is not the number of copies sold, but the number of scholars–external to the author’s field–whose collective paradigm will be launched toward new productivity through the insights contained in that one book. Only time and future scholarship will tell if Philip N. Johnson-Laird has written “only” another book that will shake up the field of psychology, or if the insights he gleans from cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence, logic, and Philosophy’s “Theory of Knowledge” will be duly recognized as a founding document of something new, an experimental science of human understanding.