Questions tagged [rationality]

Rationality is the use of reason to find the truth based on facts and to decide how to act to achieve desired goals. Also use this tag for questions regarding any view or intellectual movement which holds rationality in high regard and accepts it as the only legitimate way to get to the truth.

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22
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10answers
4k views

Is it a fallacy to say that a sane person cannot apply rational thought to the motivations of the insane?

A common argument in today's news is that: Someone commits a heinous crime by shooting a bunch of people. Anyone who commits a heinous crime must be insane. Sane people cannot apply rational thought ...
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7answers
6k views

Is immorality just irrationality?

If someone acts immorally - assuming some sort of free will - then they are doing so despite it being demonstrably wrong, i.e. it is a mistake as surely as 1+1=3 is a mistake. Doesn't this then give ...
15
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3answers
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What impact has Douglass Hofstadter's superrationality had in terms of philosophy?

Superrational decision making is a type of rational decision making in which the players cooperate in a one-shot prisoner's dilemma without coordination, punishment, or magical thinking. The idea is ...
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7answers
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When and why do we say that two things are the same?

In a preceeding question I have asked about the foundations of rational reasonning. It seems the concept of identity plays a key role. However "identity" is not observed in the real world: our mind ...
10
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1answer
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What is Kant's argument about the relationship between logic and reason?

At Wikipedia, I read: Logic arose (see below) from a concern with correctness of argumentation. Modern logicians usually wish to ensure that logic studies just those arguments that arise from ...
9
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2answers
112 views

Is there any prospect for a unified account of rationality?

It is a commonplace that philosophers, psychologists and economists often talk about rational belief or rational behavior, but they seem to mean different things by it. Is this because (a) there is ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Are there any differences between the Eastern and Western philosophical traditions on what constitutes rationality?

I am aware of the way Western philosophers define rationality but I do not know whether Eastern philosophers define it. Are there any differences between the Eastern and Western philosophical ...
8
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1answer
225 views

Why wouldn't a government be as tainted as ordinary people according to Hobbes?

I have been watching an episode of Total Philosophy, on Hobbes' theory on why we should be governed. I was now wondering how it could be possible to achieve a just and authoritative government, if ...
7
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1answer
473 views

Why does Aquinas argue that rationality of the universe points to a creator?

In the Summa, Aquinas, working from an Aristotelian philosophical position, argues that the rationality of the universe points to a creator. If I am correct in interpreting his work, he says that the ...
6
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4answers
650 views

Does philosophy shed any light on how parties can fruitfully debate without an agreed source of truth?

A hallmark of recent political developments is extreme partisanship, where each side has near total distrust of the other. To exacerbate this situation there has been a breakdown in agreement over ...
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6answers
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Are there any aspects of science which do not change over time?

I`ve read this artilce about Historicist Theories of Scientific Rationality. All the theories seem to state that the science is evolving over time, i.e. it changes in cumulative or revolutionary way (...
6
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1answer
412 views

Does rational choice theory stack up against reality?

Rational choice theory has been criticised on the grounds that "consumers are not rational, so doesn't make much sense because utility functions can't model consumer preferences." But is there actual ...
6
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2answers
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Can something be rational but not logical?

I'm having trouble understanding how something can be rational, logical, or both. I had understood up to this point that they could be used interchangeably, but now I've been told that that's not ...
6
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1answer
78 views

Is one rationally justified in assuming a dominant philosophical position that one has some reasons to doubt?

If one has insufficient reasons for rejecting a dominant philosophical position but sufficient reasons to doubt that the dominant philosophical position is unproblematic, to what extent is one ...
5
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3answers
257 views

Is it wrong to say something is X if it cannot not be X?

I'm having a discussion with someone who thinks that it's a non-sequitur to describe something as X if it's not possible for it to not be X. Here's an example: It's wrong to say a chair is amoral, ...
5
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10answers
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Is atheism or agnosticism more rational?

While there is still widespread disagreement regarding the existing definition of atheism, it is normally considered as the "Rejection of belief in the existence of deities". One accepted definition ...
5
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1answer
310 views

Why does Newcomb's paradox seem to have different solutions depending on when the choice is made despite determinism?

I believe the Newcomb's paradox is a significant problem in philosophy, since I regard it as a well formulated version of the lazy argument (under certain conditions) with real life implications. ...
5
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2answers
305 views

Understanding McDowell's Mind and World

In "Mind and World" John McDowell takes a Sellarsian approach, claiming that the given is a myth. Yet, he says, if I understand him correctly, the space of reasons is not a mere "spinning in the void",...
5
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2answers
314 views

What arguments have there been on the relative merits of praxeology vs rationality?

Suppose you know what someone's goals are, and how much they value each of their goals. Then if you observe their behavior in a given situation, how can you understand why they acted the way they did?...
5
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3answers
85 views

Are there writers on the topic of an inherent human bias towards the value of rational thinking?

Some people place humans as 'higher animals' because we are uniquely capable of rational thought, while most other animals are not. This assumes that the trait of rationality is superior to other ...
5
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2answers
274 views

Hiddenness of God

I have some questions regarding the argument of the Canadian philosopher John Schellenberg (Hiddenness of God) or (nonresistant nonbelief). See it here: The argument from nonresistant nonbelief My ...
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6answers
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Can playing lotteries be rational?

Suppose you have to choose between: a. getting 1$ b. getting a ticket of the lottery L(p) which gives you 1'000'000'000$ with probability p and 0 with probability (1-p), with p such that the expected ...
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3answers
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Why does Kierkegaard's pseudonym Johannes De Silentio believe Abraham exemplifies faith?

From Fear and Trembling: All that time [Abraham] believed--he believed that God would not require Isaac of him, whereas he was willing nevertheless to sacrifice him if it was required. He ...
4
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1answer
44 views

Can it be rational to have beliefs one knows to be inconsistent?

It seems that the answer would be yes, especially when we think about the example of the preface paradox (authors stating in prefaces "the errors that are found herein are mine alone", i.e. believing ...
4
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1answer
168 views

What would constitute a reasonable expectation of privacy?

To some degree this is presumably a legal question, but my question is really trying to ask about the principle here. I guess the core question is about what expectations a "reasonable" agent might ...
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2answers
234 views

What arguments support the idea that rational thinking requires language use?

The idea that rationality has language as a necessary condition might be called, per Brandom, lingualism. What are the most popular arguments for this position? Why should we think that the way we ...
4
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3answers
143 views

Equal evidence for and against a belief - which to choose?

If there is a belief for which there is an equal amount of evidence both for and against (the evidence is provided by experts in the appropriate field), what is the most rational thing to do in a ...
4
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1answer
188 views

What is the point of prayer for theological rationalists?

Of course, there are psychological aspects, you can unify a community or concentrate on your life goals. I feel like Christians try to do something like that when they say that prayer should be a ...
4
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4answers
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Is induction as a means to reach a conclusion rational?

According to Humes's argument, induction by its nature assumes a uniformity that is not justified. This is a very deep and interesting observation, and a point often used by the religious to justify ...
4
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1answer
65 views

Are there philosophers who have considered free will for agents who are not considered rational?

The tag for "free-will" currently has the following with my emphasis in bold: for questions concerning the freedom of choice of rational agents Are there philosophers who have considered freedom ...
4
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1answer
182 views

How could human choices be actually rational?

Theoretically, human could be rational. But how is it possible that human are not influenced by their senses and only proceed with pure reason? Like practically?
4
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1answer
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What would Kant say about an irrational person?

I've been reading about Kant and everything I've read so far assumes that as we make ethical decisions we are dealing with a rational person. For example, Kant argued that rational beings can never be ...
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3answers
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Why are humans risk-averse? [closed]

The economic theory and much of the decision theory are based on the assumption that we are risk-averse creatures; in the sense that we are more sensitive to bad outcomes than the good ones and so ...
3
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3answers
2k views

Is it logical to fall in love?

Does logic only apply to certain human situations? For example, is it logical to fall in love?
3
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7answers
324 views

How can we decide which view to accept concerning our ultimate justification of our knowledge (Münchhausen trilemma)?

I recently came across the Münchhausen trilemma, which I think helps to explain my question. Basically, according to the trilemma, we have three options for explaining the ultimate justification of ...
3
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2answers
603 views

Free Will and Rational Thought - Kant

According to http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/history/ Kant believed in both determinism and rational thought. Kant subsumed causality and determinism under his idea of Pure Reason. ...
3
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2answers
3k views

Does existentialism rule out the existence of a rational world?

I have no grounding in philosophy, but I have just this minute been reading a few articles about existentialism. I was confused by its apparent rejection of rationalism. I understand that this ...
3
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1answer
77 views

Please explain Good's solution to why we should make new observations

IJ Good's paper (1967) gives a solution to Ayer's problem on why we should make new observations. I'm trying to follow the steps in his solution. His assumptions are that: There are r mutually ...
3
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1answer
180 views

reductio ad absurdum vs. argument by lack of imagination

A reductio ad absurdum is a correct way to argue. An argument by lack of imagination is an informal fallacy. But if a reductio ad absurdum is applied outside of a highly formalized setting like ...
3
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2answers
287 views

What defines “lack of evidence” and is it irrational to believe in something without evidence?

It is commonly accepted that the lack of evidence for a particular proposition makes belief in said proposition irrational. However, imagine the following proposition, P: An object exists for ...
3
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1answer
120 views

What is this expanded notion of rationality called?

I usually used to take "rational" as meaning "in accordance with reason". Recently however, I read a book on emotional intelligence, where the author implied that certain emotions are "rational". That ...
3
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1answer
210 views

Why would philosophical agnosticism and pragmatic atheism be considered more rational than philosophical agnosticism and pragmatic theism?

I'm referring to the accepted answer on this post. The answerer states that If one is both attentive to empirical scientific studies and to philosophical investigations of the limits of knowledge, ...
3
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2answers
338 views

Theories of rationality/emotions which make Epicurus' death argument work?

I've read restatements of Epicurus' famous argument which attempt to prove that the fear of death is irrational (I don't know if Epicurus himself ever used a word like this. From what I've read, he ...
2
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3answers
586 views

Two Solutions to the Problem of Death

Many people have long been plagued with the fear of their eventual demise. But suppose in the future two possible solutions to the problem may be developed. The first solution is a pill that if taken,...
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4answers
174 views

Can a ban on certain words be justified rationally?

In our world there is a notion of political correctness. There are some words which can be considered rude or abusive in themselves, regardless of the thought behind them. However, this seems awkward ...
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2answers
60 views

How is rationalism still used today?

This was a test question in my class I thought I had the right answer to, but apparently got wrong. How would you answer this? If experimental sciences demonstrate that empiricism has "won the day", ...
2
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2answers
535 views

Are aesthetic judgments rational?

I was reading this article: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aesthetic-judgment/#1.4 I was thinking that aesthetic judgments are responses that derive from our emotions. So they can be considered ...
2
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3answers
733 views

If intelligence maximizes future freedom of action, then are intelligent agents free?

Alex Wissner posits that there is an equation for intelligence: F = T ∇ Sτ or: intelligence is a force, F, that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. It acts to maximize future ...
2
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1answer
70 views

How does Socrates's acting on a dream in Plato's Phaedo square with his rationality?

Socrates is a symbol of rational thinking. He called himself a lover of wisdom. But, on the other hand, he started to make music (poetry/composing) just on the direction of a voice that he heard in ...
2
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1answer
104 views

The Law of Identity and Emptiness

If all rational, logical, philosophical, scientific, and mathematical reasoning starts with the initial axiom that 'X=X' - that is a 0 information tautology - can it be said that all ensuing rational, ...