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Four different approaches dominate the modern discussion around the topic of how best to define human rationality. These are the following: (1) Unbounded Rationality (ur); (2) Optimization under Constraints (ouc); (3) Heuristics and Biases (h&b); (4) Ecological Rationality (er). Typically, proponents of approaches (3) and (4) criticize the models put forth by the proponents of approaches (1) and (2) for their cognitive unrealism. However, many ethologists contend that it makes sense to account for data gathered in animal behavior research along the lines of precisely these models. Elaborating upon this claim, Stanovich suggested that models of the kinds (1) and (2) are more appropriate to account for the behavior of creatures endowed with simple cognitive architectures rather than to account for the behavior of humans. Moreover, according to Stanovich’s own new approach, it is the cognitive complexity of humans rather than their computational limitations that makes them (partially) irrational. Could he be right? Following a suggestion made by , I will contend that, in order to try to find out an answer to this question, one needs to realize that the term “rationality” in use in this debate has to be understood as referring to, at least, three distinct properties; and that, once one analyzes each of them properly, most of the above-mentioned approaches, including Stanovich’s, reveal themselves to be untenable.

In: Rationality and Decision Making
Author: 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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

In this paper, I criticize one of the core assumptions of “value-driven epistemology”: that a cognitive state of knowing is more valuable than the state of having just a true belief. This assumption is criticised in Section 2 mainly on the basis of a traditional view of rationality (rational choice theory), and reliabilism is defended against the argument that it fails to solve the so called “value problem”. As an alternative to the conception of cognitive states prevalent within value-driven epistemology, I defend in Section 3 an inferentialist view of the embeddedness of psychological states in a web of normative statuses, and show how this can lead to a vision of knowledge that lacks the problems identified in the first part of the paper.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

The paper points that certain groups are rational agents. In order to satisfy three conditions of rationality presented by Philip Pettit, it is not enough for such groups to be simple agents. A rational group agent has to be able to reason. To explain why this additional condition is necessary and how a group agent can reason, I introduce a combined account of group agency composed of Deborath Tollefsen interpretationism and analyses conducted by Philip Pettit and Christian List. Recent results from the theory of judgments aggregation point to the dilemma that undermines the potential existence of a rational group agent. Pettit demonstrates that only groups with a rational point of view are able to overcome this obstacle. This solution, however, leads to another problem with a group agency. It is claimed in the paper, that if a group satisfies Pettis’ conditions of rationality, the discontinuity between a group and its members’ intentional states vanishes. If this is right, it seems that a group epistemic agency could be entirely explained in terms of mutually related individuals’ beliefs, hence the thesis of a group as a self-standing agent is seriously undermined. Yet, one does not need to reach this pessimistic conclusion. The group agency thesis could be preserved if interpreted in distributive way, a way that does not need the discontinuity thesis in its support.

In: Rationality and Decision Making
Author: 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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

The purpose of this paper is to apply the framework of Minimal Expressivism () to the analysis of “is rational”. We build upon Gibbard’s expressivist analysis of the notion () 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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making

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.

In: Rationality and Decision Making