Why there is universality in rationality

Rationality or reason, traditionally conceived as a universal, essential human faculty, is out of favor these days. Its defenders are few, compared to its many challengers. The challengers are not those who lament the decline of reason but rather those who express an egalitarian impulse, in their determination to refute universal, essential ideals of reason. These challengers are a diverse lot and sometimes prefer to speak instead of “rationalities” , or what Shweder called “divergent rationalities.” This paper considers the question whether this trend toward divergent rationalities is itself reasonable. To answer this question, the paper begins with some standard definitions of rationality or reason, on the understanding that any such standard is what stands in question. This is followed by recent work of Evnine that demonstrates just how our personhood logically entails universal epistemic “dimensions,” some of which are normative, rational dimensions. Evidence that Nisbett and Shweder muster to challenge a universal rationality is then considered, ending with a defense of just that which is challenged. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Keywords epistemic agency   principles of belief   rationality   reason   universals of personhood
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DOI 10.1037/a0018918
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