26

What you are describing is the Platonic view of good and evil, that no one does wrong willingly, but only out of ignorance. An unusually clear and explicit statement of this concept is found in Plato's dialogue The Meno, but it is implicit across his writing on morality, for instance in his discussion in the Republic of the tyrant as the most miserable of ...


22

The second premise is false unless "heinous crime" and "insane" are defined to make it true by definition, in which case the definitions are question begging. But because people committing heinous crimes are convicted despite the insanity defense, premise 2 fails at least on the legal definition of "insanity". The third premise is also false; otherwise ...


17

I think the fallacy is something along the lines of: Because we cannot provably apply rational thought to what motivates every insane person, every time, we can never apply rational thought to the insane in any situation. It also presumes that an explanation one's actions has to be necessary and sufficient, rather than merely a way to convey information. ...


10

If one is both attentive to empirical scientific studies and to philosophical investigations of the limits of knowledge, then the only rational position is philosophical agnosticism plus pragmatic atheism. One should be agnostic because one must be agnostic about everything: there simply is no (non-controversial) known path to get completely certain ...


10

There are multiple problems with these statements. First, insane is not a boolean state. Sanity is a spectrum. Second, I don't know of anything that says that everyone who commits a heinous crime is insane (even by this very liberal application of the term). There are many heinous crimes committed where the criminals are not insane. Gang murders, rapes, ...


8

In many respects, Hobbes' concern has nothing to do with irrationality or even justice. The first and most urgent problem that Hobbes confronts is, very simply, disagreement. This disagreement may arise from any number of causes -- irrationality, selfishness, bias -- but its source doesn't matter. What matters, Hobbes argues, is that in a state of nature, ...


7

From a purely epistemological point of view, no, philosophy is not really helpful. If anything, philosophy makes things worse. See this post and this post and the responses to it. From a social point of view, Habermas' idea of "colonization of the life world" helps shed light on the problem and how to potentially solve it, but doesn't offer a full solution. ...


7

It can. Ramsey put it nicely in his "last papers" written around 1929 under the influence of Peirce's pragmatism (quoted from Marion, Wittgenstein, Ramsey and British Pragmatism): "We want our beliefs to be consistent not only with one another but also with the facts: nor is it even clear that consistency is always advantageous; it may well be better to ...


6

The comment of Marco have given me another idea of the example of rationality of lottery playing. Let's assume I'm the prisoner on the island, and I'm getting 10$ a day. 5$ a day is enough to buy everything I need (food, accomodation etc.) and there's little to be bought on that island. I can't eat twice as much. So the additional 5$ a day have practically ...


6

I believe that would just be petitio principii, mistranslated as "begging the question." And doing it twice. First, you assume the insanity after the fact, based on the evidence of the act, which is defined as insane. Likewise for conflation of "insane" and "inexplicable." But I am not good at naming fallacies, so there may be a more precise attribution. I'...


6

Like many other professional philosophers of science these days, I'm highly influenced by the contemporary disunity of science movement. So I would say that there aren't any general aspects of science which do not change over time or which are shared across all fields of science. I would also argue that there are significant counterexamples to all of the ...


6

Doesn't this then give the idea of a 'bad' person a different implication - we wouldn't say the same to someone if they made a mistake in math or in their finances yet people who are simply in moral reasoning get this pejorative label. We usually take an extra step in judgment if we think of a person/act that is morally bad is bad in general. That is ...


5

I don't think there is any "reasonable expectation" in principle, just a lot of arbitrary choices. Privacy-seeking is a non-rational behavior that provides certain advantages in various social situations. It can provide protection from disease, allow behavior that is individually beneficial but not desired by the alpha individual, and so on. If you ask ...


5

TL;DR: Is the mathematically precise definition of superrationality in symmetric multi-player games due to him, or was it somewhere in the literature before? Not really. The idea had emerged several times in philosophy, economics and mathematics before Hofstadter wrote about it. Notably, Martin Gardener wrote about a puzzle involving the notion in ...


5

Strictly speaking, the answer to your question depends on what you define to be rational. "Rationality" is not a utility theory; it is essentially just a subjective judgment regarding the quality of your reasoning about such things. For example, if it is held that the best way to lose weight is by eating lots of tofu burgers and nothing else (regardless of ...


4

If your action forces other players to behave the same way, you are not playing a real game. you are playing a one-player game, a decision problem. The game theoretic fallacy Hofstadter makes is not new. An extensive discussion of the "symmetry fallacy" can be found in Ken Binmore's Game Theory and the Social Contract, Vol. 1: Playing Fair in Chapter 3.


4

The quote you've got there is basically wrong. A more correct thing to say would be that Kant believes the physical world is determined, but that rationally we are free. Or to put it another way, on the phenomenal level, all actions are determined in accordances with the laws of nature (we might in modern parlance says the laws of physics). But we need ...


4

Since this is multiple choice, I'll choose (b) and (c), with misgivings. It is not hard to locate paradigms of what is meant by "rationality." At the etymological and stripped-down, Hobbesian level, rationality is a coherent, reliable system of input-output calculations. The model for Hobbes and many others was Euclid's axiomized geometry. It is "in the eye ...


4

Not sure if I like the way you use the word "logic" here, but I think I understand your question. Let me rephrase it for you: "Do humans use reason or act rationally only in certain situations? For example, does a human use reason or act rationally when he/she falls in love?" To be honest, it depends what "level" you are looking at. In many cases (such as ...


4

In English we often use the terms good and bad relative to an ideal. (In Spanish it is the same). So we call a person a good person when some portion (Surly a majority but what percent I don't know) of their actions conform to our expectations about how a person should behave. When enough of their actions do no not conform to our moral ideal then we ...


4

Morality doesn't have anything to do with rationality. I'm going to be Nietzsche's advocate and say that "good" and "bad" are just labels on what a given society wants. This is by no means absolute nor static. "Good" and "bad" change across populations and across time. If you are put in a society where everyone agrees that you are expected to do X (bad ...


4

I've given this a lot of thought as a Christian who has studied the Bible a lot and generally agrees with your reasoning here, having found overlap between the two that seems accurate to me. Here is my understanding of things: There are things which an individual inherently knows are right or wrong. There are things to which an individual is ignorant of ...


4

Newcomb's paradox was discussed at length by philosophers, with the issues of determinism, free will, time travel, etc., brought in. What it turned out to be, however, is an analog of Bertrand paradox which asks for the probability that a "random" chord of a circle is longer than the side of the equilateral triangle inscribed into it. Depending on ...


4

Here are the questions regarding the extreme partisanship of politics today: Is there any philosophical thinking which might help resolve these disputes and allow the political discussion to move forward? Or is the gulf between the rational and empirical simply too great to bridge? One thing philosophy could do is clarify why the dispute is occurring. If ...


4

I think one has to analyse a person's exact state of mind who fears their eventual demise. Rationality I take in the sense of instrumental rationality - taking efficient means to clearly conceived ends. I also assume that 1) is a pill which which, if taken, would be known by me - or justifiably believed - to render me immortal. Likewise, the properties of ...


4

The thought experiment is known as Chrysippus’s Dog and goes back to the named ancient Stoic. It was discussed by many modern philosophers, including Dennett, see Chrysippus’s Dog as a Case Study in Non-Linguistic Cognition by Rescorla for a survey. Here is the description of Chrysippus's dog given by Sextus Empiricus: "[Chrysippus] declares that the ...


3

As stoicfury noted, it's hard to define "rational" in a non-question-begging way. But let's recall why we believe the expected utility hypothesis: because any person who follows some basic rules will act as though they are maximizing the expectation of some utility function. On your thought experiment: sure spending $1 will cost me very little, but it will ...


3

This is essentially what happened to Archimedes when he shouted "Eureka!". Archimedes is stuck on a problem, he can't think of a solution (rational). So he has a bath to relax (emotive) and this leads to a (rational) solution which he would otherwise have missed. This part of it is fine. But you should be very careful not to stretch the analogy too far: I ...


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