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Empiriomonism

Essays in Philosophy, Books 1–3

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Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov

Edited by David Rowley

Empiriomonism is Alexander Bogdanov’s monistic philosophy of being and cognition, which he believed is consistent with both modern science and Marxism. In Books One and Two of Empiriomonism, Bogdanov begins with Ernst Mach’s and Richard Avenarius’s neutral monism – the idea that the ‘physical’ and the ‘psychical’ are two sides of one reality – and explains how human psyches are causally interconnected with the rest of nature. In Book Three, he shows how empiriomonism substantiates the principles of historical materialism more adequately than G. V. Plekhanov’s out-dated materialism. Bogdanov concludes that empiriomonism, although not technically materialist, is nevertheless of the same order as materialist systems and, since it is the ideology of the productive forces of society, it is a Marxist philosophy.

Rationality and Decision Making

From Normative Rules to Heuristics

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Edited by Marek Hetmański

Rationality and Decision Making: From Normative Rules to Heuristics offers a broad overview of both classic and very recent discussions concerning rationality and strategies of individual and group decision making. They are considered from a methodological, ethical, sociological, historical, cultural as well as an evolutionary perspective. Decision making, both rational and irrational, is treated in its complexity as an algorithmic, heuristic and intuitive process. The volume analyzes the theoretical and practical aspects of decision making in individual intentional endeavors and group or institutionalized undertakings. The analyses are mostly theoretical but they also appeal to empirical studies, proposed by philosophers and cognitive scientists who have studied logical, cognitive, biological, social and evolutionary aspects of human rationality.

Contributors include María José Frápolli, Marek Hetmański, Jan F. Jacko, Artur Koterski, Agnieszka Lekka-Kowalik, Sofia Miguens, Ángeles J. Perona, Manueal de Pinedo, João Alberto Pinto, Krzysztof Polit, Marcin Rządeczka, Rui Sampaio da Silva, Joanna Sokołowska, Barbara Trybulec, Marcin Trybulec, Neftalí Villanueva, Monika Walczak, Jan Winkowski, Anna Wójtowicz, Jesús Zamora-Bonilla, and António Zilhão.

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Krzysztof Polit

The original theory of the vital reason, often referred to as ratio-vitalism is of the authorship of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. In the article, attempts have been made to present this conception as an example of application of classic principle of moderation in the philosophy of the twentieth century. On the one hand, Ortega criticises the modern rationalist outlook – unable to capture the changeable world of vital phenomena, on the other hand, he acknowledges its exceptional role in creating the Western civilization.

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Manuel de Pinedo

In this paper I argue that unreflective skillful action is rational. I defend, following Davidson, a normative conception of rationality and claim that the only condition for action to count as rational is that the agent finds intelligible questions regarding her reasons for acting. Rationality should not be identified with detached, situation-independent reflection. The paper illustrates the idea by means of an example from sport: I argue that even someone as accomplished as the tennis player Roger Federer needs a coach with reflective knowledge in order to improve his game. I claim that this is a case of distributed embodied rationality. Expertise is not a state, but a process that is sustained by means of reflection, experimentation and sensitivity to criticism.

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Marek Hetmański

In the paper there are analyzed (Sec. 2.) the ways by which the adjective “rational”, as well as “irrational”, is conventionally and metaphorically ascribed and prescribed to certain decisions made (analyzed in Sec. 3.) by different types of groups. Then the correlations between groups and institutions or organizations, in which intentional group decision making takes place, are considered (Sec. 4. and 5.). There are also analyzed (Sec. 6.) the theories of heuristic and biased cognition (Kahneman, Tversky, and Gigerenzer’s), showing that problem solving strategies often violate the strict rules of traditional rationality concept, however they are effective in such group undertakings like judging, making sentences or deciding. Finally, the issue of group rationality is considered (Sec. 7.) from the practical as well as descriptive-normative perspectives, where rationality attributing procedures are also related to the social-moral perspective.

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Anna Wójtowicz and Jan Winkowski

We examine the notion of a heuristic on the basis of the accounts presented by Daniel Kahneman and Gerd Gigerenzer. The background of our analysis is the use of this concept in Computer Science. The aim of the work is to state a neutral (with respect to its evaluation as a method of rational behavior) definition of a heuristic and to point out the consequences it has for understanding the notion of rationality.

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Monika Walczak

The conceptual analysis of the notion of practical rationality through the analysis of the notion of action is presented. A particular notion of practical rationality (means-end rationality) and a specific notion of action (Nicolas Rescher’s) are discussed. These notions are criticized for being too narrow, and their extension in some aspects is postulated. The paper bases on some presuppositions on two constitutive elements in the structure of rationality: bearers of rationality and criteria of rationality. Rationality is viewed as a feature belonging to different subjects – the bearers of rationality. Accepted, too, is the secondary character of the rationality of a bearer with relation to the constitutive elements of that bearer.

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María José Frápolli and Neftalí Villanueva

The purpose of this paper is to apply the framework of Minimal Expressivism (Frápolli and Villanueva 2012) to the analysis of “is rational”. We build upon Gibbard’s expressivist analysis of the notion (Gibbard 1986, 1990, 2003, 2012) in order to obtain a position that retains its main benefits, while avoiding a couple of major problems. Our analysis of the meaning of “is rational” as a higher-level predicable, whose meaning is inferentially individuated, sheds some light on the normative nature of the disputes between rival substantive views about rationality, and is free from the kind of difficulties that Gibbard’s two-tiers analysis of “is rational” brings with it.

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María José Frápolli and Neftalí Villanueva

The purpose of this paper is to apply the framework of Minimal Expressivism (Frápolli and Villanueva 2012) to the analysis of “is rational”. We build upon Gibbard’s expressivist analysis of the notion (Gibbard 1986, 1990, 2003, 2012) in order to obtain a position that retains its main benefits, while avoiding a couple of major problems. Our analysis of the meaning of “is rational” as a higher-level predicable, whose meaning is inferentially individuated, sheds some light on the normative nature of the disputes between rival substantive views about rationality, and is free from the kind of difficulties that Gibbard’s two-tiers analysis of “is rational” brings with it.

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Jan Franciszek Jacko

The study’s main thesis is that respect for some moral values is a condition for methodologically rational decisions, namely, decisions which do not satisfy the condition are either not methodologically rational at all, or not fully rational. The paper shows supporting arguments for the thesis in terms of the philosophical theories by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Max Weber, Jean-Paul Sartre and some other thinkers. Their presentation undergoes phenomenological analysis of the phenomenon of decision making.