Treating conditionals as probabilistic statements has been referred to as a defining feature of the "new paradigm" in cognitive psychology. Doing so is attractive for several reasons, but it complicates the problem of assessing the merits of conditional arguments. We consider several variables that relate to judging the persuasiveness of conditional arguments with uncertain (probabilistic) premises. We also explore ways of judging the consistency of people's beliefs as represented by components of conditional arguments. Experimental results provide evidence that inconsistencies in beliefs are more prevalent if the arguments' components are spatially and temporally dispersed than if they are contiguous in space and time. This supports the idea that assuring the consistency among even a small number of beliefs is difficult to do, especially if the beliefs in question are not brought into consciousness at the same time; but consistency can be enhanced when beliefs are considered simultaneously or nearly so.
Evaluating conditional arguments with uncertain premises