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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23
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10answers
5k 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 ...
21
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7answers
7k 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 ...
17
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3answers
2k views

What impact has Douglas 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
136 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
242 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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6answers
755 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 ...
7
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1answer
514 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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6answers
228 views

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
157 views

Can animals follow logical rules of inference?

I've been trying to recall a thought experiment, which I very vaguely remember to have come across either in Davidson or Dennett, that considers the following scenario: A hound is chasing its quarry ...
6
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1answer
115 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 ...
6
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1answer
425 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
4k views

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
89 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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6answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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3answers
273 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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11answers
3k views

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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4answers
183 views

Question about Cogito, ergo sum

As far as I know Decartes tried to prove that he existed from the fact that he was thinking. And he thought this was only proof. My question is following: -- why is the argument brought up above, ...
5
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1answer
369 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
762 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
294 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 ...
5
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2answers
339 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
94 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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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 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
173 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 ...
4
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2answers
266 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
147 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
214 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 ...
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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
105 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
192 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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3answers
2k views

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
3k 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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8answers
446 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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4answers
201 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 ...
3
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2answers
691 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
4k 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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3answers
905 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 ...
3
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1answer
181 views

What does rationalism prove that empiricism can not?

I have always had trouble understanding rationalism. I am very unclear as to what a rationalist can prove that an empiricist cannot. Are their any examples of something or a situation being ...
3
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1answer
80 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
303 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
468 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
166 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
337 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
407 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 ...
3
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4answers
237 views

Philosophical framework for avoiding short-term strategies

In business and politics, often decision-makers make decisions that cause short-term gain, but long-term loss. So economically, this might be an unreasonable (lossy) and thus irrational process. Is ...
3
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0answers
142 views

How can rational choice theory be explanatory?

In his work, John Harsanyi appears to have taken issue with classical social theorists' account of social phenomena. For example, he criticized Max Weber's typological approach on the grounds, "If we ...