Aspects of Rationality: Reflections on What It Means To Be by Raymond S. Nickerson

By Raymond S. Nickerson

What does it suggest to be rational – to cause good and successfully? How does rationality, commonly conceived, relate to the data one acquires, the ideals one varieties, the reasons one constructs or appropriates, the judgments and judgements one makes, the values one adopts? what's the personality of human reasoning and, particularly, does it are usually rational?

Much has been written approximately human rationality – or lack thereof. in recent times, a few writers have concentrated cognizance on the numerous ways that humans seem to not be rational, at the least if being rational is taken to intend regularly considering or behaving in response to a few normative ordinary. Others have argued that, if human reasoning is as incorrect as this paintings indicates, it's a ask yourself that we, as a species, are round to note the fact.

This booklet examines a lot of the experimental examine on reasoning because it pertains to a number of conceptions of rationality, now not restricted to conformity of proposal and behaviour or to the dictates of 1 or one other normative process. The dialogue makes a speciality of particular issues that characterize crucial facets of any safely inclusive belief of rationality: intelligence and data; ideals; targets, values and have an effect on; causes; judgment and selection; realizing and wisdom.

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However normative rationality is defi ned or conceptualized, the question can always be asked, why should one wish to be normatively rational in that sense. From a pragmatic point of view, the answer might be: because that is how one maximizes the chances of realizing one’s goals. But how strong is the evidence that this is true? Hardman (2000) suggests that the evidence is not compelling that correspondence to traditional norms brings any benefit outside the psychological laboratory. He points to several studies (Clemen, 1999; Galotti, 1995; Wilson & Schooler, 1991) that looked for such evidence in decision-making contexts and failed to fi nd it.

Something close to this idea is encountered often in both the philosophical and the psychological literature. Dewey (1933) promotes reflective thinking and equates it with controlled deliberate critical thinking, the kind of thinking that does not jump to conclusions, but demands compelling justifications for conclusions that are drawn. He describes it also as the kind of thinking that is called for when one is faced with a problem for which one has no ready rule or formula to apply. Gauthier (1986/1990) expresses a similar view, but with an emphasis on critical reflection aimed at oneself: “At the core of our rational capacity is the ability to engage in self-critical reflection.

Note that MacIntyre’s contention is against the possibility of fi nding a conception of rationality with which all rational persons would agree. Whether or not one accepts his position, it is not obvious that failure to do so would put us very far ahead. To defi ne rationality in terms of principles that would be considered undeniably true by all rational persons is clearly circular. In the absence of a standard with which to distinguish between rational and irrational persons, we would have no way of knowing whose opinions to take seriously on this matter and whose to ignore.

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