, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 103–111 | Cite as

Contextual Debiasing and Critical Thinking: Reasons for Optimism

  • Vasco CorreiaEmail author


In this article I argue that most biases in argumentation and decision-making can and should be counteracted. Although biases can prove beneficial in certain contexts, I contend that they are generally maladaptive and need correction. Yet critical thinking alone seems insufficient to mitigate biases in everyday contexts. I develop a contextualist approach, according to which cognitive debiasing strategies need to be supplemented by extra-psychic devices that rely on social and environmental constraints in order to promote rational reasoning. Finally, I examine several examples of contextual debiasing strategies and show how they can contribute to enhance critical thinking at a cognitive level.


Biases Contextualism Critical thinking Debiasing Meliorism Rationality 



I would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Work on this article was conducted under the grant SFRH/BPD/101744/2014 by the “Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology” (FCT), as part of the project “Values in argumentative discourse” (PTDC/MHC-FIL/0521/2014).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ArgLab, IFILNOVA, Nova Institute of PhilosophyUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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