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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 ...


23

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 A is necessarily X, and it is not possible for A to be not-X, describing A as X is not a logical error or fallacy; however, it offers no additional probative value, and is most likely a rhetorical device. If used to deflect attention away from the issue actually at stake in the debate, it may be functioning as a non-sequitur. In other words, it is not ...


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, ...


9

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 ...


8

The law of identity provides a logical expression of the notion that a thing (x) is the same entity as itself (x=x). It establishes a simple two-way relationship of equality that serves as a basic presupposition of any formal logic. My understanding is that the law of identity is somewhat more technical than simply a rule for calling two things "the same"; ...


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

Amartya Sen addresses this question in good depth in his July 2010 essay for the New York Review of Books. Specifically, one of the notions he challenges is the insidious notion, brought up by well-meaning proponents (both Eastern and Western), that rationality is somehow a product of the West -- the corollary often being that it's not fair to impose Western ...


6

This is a large question, and can be approached several ways. First, at the broad level-- there is a widespread misconception that Western philosophy is rational and Eastern philosophy is mystical. This is false, but it is false in an interesting way: there is a fascinating book on the subject by Thomas McEvilley called The Shape of Ancient Thought: ...


6

Rationality in philosophy is the exercise of reason, reason being sound judgment (having some basis or justification for a belief). In all philosophies east or west, north or south, the basic concept of rationality is the same — everyone wants to be confident that there is some justification for their beliefs, otherwise in any society we would be cast out as ...


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 ...


6

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. ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


4

"Amoral" means incapable of being moral or immoral. If it incorrect to describe a chair as amoral, what would it be appropriate to describe as amoral?! The typical use of the word "amoral" would be something like: "If a man kills someone with a hammer, we blame the man and not the hammer because the hammer is amoral."


4

The issue with the chair is that the semantics of the question imply that an object possesses a quality that it does not have. Let's consider a disjunction: Either X is hungry or X is full. Seems like a reasonable definition. Now let's consider two statements: The rain is hungry. The rain is full. Uh-oh. Rain does not have the appropriate ...


4

Two things are never the same. Even the words that "labeled your thought" when you asked this question point to something in the past, something that was and no longer is. Having the same label but addressing two separate times is precisely the issue with impermanence and "naming." Really, nothing exists independently, so everything is the same [thing]. ...


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 ...


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