David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press (2008)
The strategy of this paper is to throw light on rational cognition and epistemic justification by examining irrationality. Epistemic irrationality is possible because we are reflexive cognizers, able to reason about and redirect some aspects of our own cognition. One consequence of this is that one cannot give a theory of epistemic rationality or epistemic justification without simultaneously giving a theory of practical rationality. A further consequence is that practical irrationality can affect our epistemic cognition. I argue that practical irrationality derives from a general difficulty we have in overriding built-in shortcut modules aimed at making cognition more efficient, and all epistemic irrationality can be traced to this same source. A consequence of this account is that a theory of rationality is a descriptive theory, describing contingent features of a cognitive architecture, and it forms the core of a general theory of “voluntary” cognition — those aspects of cognition that are under voluntary control. It also follows that most of the so-called “rules for rationality” that philosophers have proposed are really just rules describing default (non- reflexive) cognition. It can be perfectly rational for a reflexive cognizer to break these rules. The “normativity” of rationality is a reflection of a built-in feature of reflexive cognition — when we detect violations of rationality, we have a tendency to desire to correct them. This is just another part of the descriptive theory of rationality. Although theories of rationality are descriptive, the structure of reflexive cognition gives philosophers, as human cognizers, privileged access to certain aspects of rational cognition. Philosophical theories of rationality are really scientific theories, based on inference to the best explanation, that take contingent introspective data as the evidence to be explained.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Donald Davidson (1985). Incoherence and Irrationality. Dialectica 39 (4):345-54.
John L. Pollock (2001). Evaluative Cognition. Noûs 35 (3):325–364.
Nick Chater & Mike Oaksford (2002). The Rational Analysis of Human Cognition. In Jose Luis Bermudez & Alan Millar (eds.), Reason and Nature. Clarendon 135--174.
J. Lambie (2008). On the Irrationality of Emotion and the Rationality of Awareness☆. Consciousness and Cognition 17 (3):946-971.
Ian Gold & Jakob Hohwy (2000). Rationality and Schizophrenic Delusion. Mind and Language 15 (1):146-167.
Xavier Vanmechelen (1998). Does Rationality Presuppose Irrationality. Philosophical Explorations 1 (2):126 – 139.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads73 ( #42,417 of 1,724,892 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #110,372 of 1,724,892 )
How can I increase my downloads?