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Bibliography: Irrationality in Epistemology
  1. Motivated Irrationality (1994). Philosophical Abstracts. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 68 (3).score: 30.0
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  2. Alfred R. Mele (1987). Irrationality: An Essay on Akrasia, Self-Deception, and Self-Control. Oxford University Press.score: 24.0
    Although much human action serves as proof that irrational behavior is remarkably common, certain forms of irrationality--most notably, incontinent action and self-deception--pose such difficult theoretical problems that philosophers have rejected them as logically or psychologically impossible. Here, Mele shows that, and how, incontinent action and self-deception are indeed possible. Drawing upon recent experimental work in the psychology of action and inference, he advances naturalized explanations of akratic action and self-deception while resolving the paradoxes around which the philosophical literature revolves. (...)
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  3. Simone Gozzano (1999). Davidson on Rationality and Irrationality. In Mario de Caro (ed.), Interpretations and Causes: New Perspectives on Donald Davidson's Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Pub.score: 24.0
    The separation view of the mind, advanced by Davidson in order to face the problem of irrationality, is criticized. Against it, I argue that it is not consistent with Davidson's holism.
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  4. Donald Davidson (1985). Incoherence and Irrationality. Dialectica 39 (4):345-54.score: 24.0
    * [Irrationality]: ___ Irrationality, like rationality, is a normative concept. Someone who acts or reasons irrationally, or whose beliefs or emotions are irrational, has departed from a standard.
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  5. Christine James (1998). Irrationality in Philosophy and Psychology: The Moral Implications of Self-Defeating Behavior. Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (2):224-234.score: 24.0
    The philosophical study of irrationality can yield interesting insights into the human mind. One provocative issue is self-defeating behaviours, i.e. behaviours that result in failure to achieve one’s apparent goals and ambitions. In this paper I consider a self-defeating behaviour called choking under pressure, explain why it should be considered irrational, and how it is best understood with reference to skills. Then I describe how choking can be explained without appeal to a purely Freudian subconscious or ‘sub-agents’ view of (...)
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  6. Alfred R. Mele (1988). Irrationality: A Precis. Philosophical Psychology 1 (2):173-177.score: 24.0
    My primary aim in Irrationality: An Essay on Akrasia, Self-Deception, and Self-Control (1987) is to show that and how akratic action and self-deception are possible. The control that normal agents have over their actions and beliefs figures in the analysis and explanation of both phenomena. For that reason, an examination of self-control plays a central role in the book. In addition, I devote a chapter each to akratic belief and the explanation of intentional action. A precis of the book (...)
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  7. Amber L. Griffioen (2013). Irrationality and “Gut” Reasoning: Two Kinds of Truthiness. In Jason Holt (ed.), The Ultimate Daily Show and Philosophy: More Moments of Zen, More Indecision Theory. Wiley Blackwell. 309-325.score: 24.0
    There are at least three basic phenomena that philosophers traditionally classify as paradigm cases of irrationality. In the first two cases, wishful thinking and self-deception, a person wants something to be true and therefore ignores certain relevant facts about the situation, making it appear to herself that it is, in fact, true. The third case, weakness of will, involves a person undertaking a certain action, despite taking herself to have an all-things-considered better reason not to do so. While I (...)
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  8. Dion Scott-Kakures (1996). Self-Deception and Internal Irrationality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):31-56.score: 24.0
    I characterize a notion of internal irrationality which is central to hard cases of self-deception. I argue that if we aim to locate such internal irrationality in the _process of self-deception, we must fail. The process of self-deception, I claim, is a wholly arational affair. If we are to make a place for internal irrationality we must turn our attention to the _state of self-deception. I go on to argue that we are able to offer an account (...)
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  9. Basil Smith (2001). Davidson, Irrationality and Ethics. Philosophy Today 45 (3):242-253.score: 24.0
    In this paper I outline Donald Davidson’s account of two forms of irrationality, akrasia and self-deception, and relate this account to ethical action and belief. His view of irrationality is generally a Freudian one, to the effect that agents must compartmentalize both offending particular mental contents, and governing second order principles. Davidson also hints that his account of akrasia and self-deception might show certain normative and meta-ethical theories to be irrational, insofar as they too engender irrationality. I (...)
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  10. Alfred R. Mele (2004). Motivated Irrationality. In Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford University Press.score: 24.0
    The literature on motivated irrationality has two primary foci: action and belief. This article explores two of the central topics falling under this rubric: akratic action (action exhibiting so-called weakness of will or deficient self-control) and motivationally biased belief (including self-deception). Among other matters, this article offers a resolution of Donald Davidson's worry about the explanation of irrationality. When agents act akratically, they act for reasons, and in central cases, they make rational judgments about what it is best (...)
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  11. John Rust (1990). Delusions, Irrationality, and Cognitive Science. Philosophical Psychology 3 (1):123-138.score: 24.0
    Abstract Studies of irrationality in cognitive psychology have usually looked at areas where humans might be expected to be rational, yet appear not to be. In this paper the other extreme of human irrationality is examined: the delusion as it occurs in psychiatric illness. A parallel is suggested between the delusion as an aberration of cognition and some illusions which result from aberrations within optics. It is argued that, because delusions are found predominantly within certain limited areas of (...)
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  12. Gunnar Björnsson (2002). How Emotivism Survives Immoralists, Irrationality, and Depression. Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):327-344.score: 21.0
    Argues that emotivism is compatible with cases where we seem to lack motivation to act according to our moral opinions.
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  13. Elisa Galgut (2005). Simulation and Irrationality. Philosophical Papers 34 (1):25-44.score: 21.0
    In this paper, I hope to show how a recent theory in the philosophy of mind concerning how we ‘read’ the minds of others – namely, Heal’s version of simulation theory – is consistent with the view that the kind of understanding we bring to bear on the irrational is different in kind from the way we understand one another in the course of everyday life. I shall attempt to show that Heal’s version of simulation theory (co-cognition) is to be (...)
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  14. Martha L. Knight (1988). Cognitive and Motivational Bases of Self-Deception: Commentary on Mele's Irrationality. Philosophical Psychology 1 (2):179-188.score: 21.0
  15. Anthony Savile (2003). Spinoza, Medea, and Irrationality in Action. Dialogue 42 (04):767-.score: 21.0
    Nous ecartons ici deux tentatives visant a rendre compte de l’irrationalite de l’action akratique au sein du systeme de Spinoza: celle contenue dans Spinoza meme et une seconde toute recente, due a della Rocca, qui pretend parler au nom de Spinoza. Nous tracons a larges traits une troisieme voie, laquelle n’est pas manifestement en porte-a-faux avec les principes de la psychologie morale de Spinoza. Cette tentative tourne autour d’une conception du conatus integrant un element normatif et subjectif, soit le besoin (...)
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  16. Lance E. Brouthers, Dana-Nicoleta Lascu & Steve Werner (2008). Competitive Irrationality in Transitional Economies: Are Communist Managers Less Irrational? [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 83 (3):397 - 408.score: 21.0
    Why do marketing managers in the transitional economies of Eastern Europe and China often engage in competitively irrational behavior, choosing pricing strategies that damage competitors’ profits, rather than choosing pricing strategies that improve their firm’s profits? We propose one possible reason, the moral vacuum created by the collapse of communist ideology. We hypothesize and find that managers who experienced formal communist moral ideological indoctrination are less likely to be competitively irrational than the post-communist managers who did not. Implications are discussed.
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  17. Alfred R. Mele (1986). Self-Deception and Akrasia: A Review of David Pears's Motivated Irrationality. [REVIEW] Behaviorism 14:183-191.score: 21.0
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  18. Donald Davidson, Paradoxes of Irrationality.score: 18.0
    (2) The sort of irrationality that makes conceptual trouble is not the failure of someone else to believe or feel to do what we deem reasonable, but rather the failure, within a single person, of coherence or consistency in the pattern of beliefs, attitudes, emotions, intentions and actions.
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  19. Michael S. Brady (2009). The Irrationality of Recalcitrant Emotions. Philosophical Studies 145 (3):413 - 430.score: 18.0
    A recalcitrant emotion is one which conflicts with evaluative judgement. (A standard example is where someone is afraid of flying despite believing that it poses little or no danger.) The phenomenon of emotional recalcitrance raises an important problem for theories of emotion, namely to explain the sense in which recalcitrant emotions involve rational conflict. In this paper I argue that existing ‘neojudgementalist’ accounts of emotions fail to provide plausible explanations of the irrationality of recalcitrant emotions, and develop and defend (...)
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  20. John L. Pollock (2008). Irrationality and Cognition. In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press.score: 18.0
    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 (...)
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  21. David K. Henderson (1987). The Principle of Charity and the Problem of Irrationality (Translation and the Problem of Irrationality). Synthese 73 (2):225 - 252.score: 18.0
    Common formulations of the principle of charity in translation seem to undermine attributions of irrationality in social scientific accounts that are otherwise unexceptionable. This I call the problem of irrationality. Here I resolve the problem of irrationality by developing two complementary views of the principle of charity. First, I develop the view (ill-developed in the literature at present) that the principle of charity is preparatory, being needed in the construction of provisional first-approximation translation manuals. These serve as (...)
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  22. Neil Sinhababu (2011). The Humean Theory of Practical Irrationality. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (1):1-13.score: 18.0
    Christine Korsgaard has argued that Humean views about action and practical rationality jointly imply the impossibility of irrational action. According to the Humean theory of action, agents do what maximizes expected desire-satisfaction. According to the Humean theory of rationality, it is rational for agents to do what maximizes expected desire-satisfaction. Thus Humeans are committed to the impossibility of practical irrationality – an unacceptable consequence. -/- I respond by developing Humean views to explain how we can act irrationally. Humeans about (...)
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  23. Nicholas Agar (2012). On the Irrationality of Mind-Uploading: A Rely to Neil Levy. [REVIEW] AI and Society 27 (4):431-436.score: 18.0
    In a paper in this journal, Neil Levy challenges Nicholas Agar’s argument for the irrationality of mind-uploading. Mind-uploading is a futuristic process that involves scanning brains and recording relevant information which is then transferred into a computer. Its advocates suppose that mind-uploading transfers both human minds and identities from biological brains into computers. According to Agar’s original argument, mind-uploading is prudentially irrational. Success relies on the soundness of the program of Strong AI—the view that it may someday be possible (...)
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  24. Sebastian Gardner (1996). Irrationality and the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis. Cambridge University Press.score: 18.0
    In a reconstruction of the theories of Freud and Klein, Sebastian Gardner asks: what causes irrationality, what must the mind be like for it to be irrational,...
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  25. Xavier Vanmechelen (1998). Does Rationality Presuppose Irrationality. Philosophical Explorations 1 (2):126 – 139.score: 18.0
    Although irrationality always presupposes rationality, I think there are good arguments to claim that sometimes rationality presupposes irrationality.This paper tries to show how irrational action can support rationality in two ways: it can develop and preserve rationality. I also argue that sometimes the development and the conservation of rationality can only be realized by irrational action.
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  26. John I. Biro & Kirk A. Ludwig (1994). Are There More Than Minimal a Priori Limits on Irrationality? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):89-102.score: 18.0
    Our concern in this paper is with the question of how irrational an intentional agent can be, and, in particular, with an argument Stephen Stich has given for the claim that there are only very minimal a priori requirements on the rationality of intentional agents. The argument appears in chapter 2 of The Fragmentation of Reason.1 Stich is concerned there with the prospects for the ‘reform-minded epistemologist’. If there are a priori limits on how irrational we can be, there are (...)
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  27. Gerd Gigerenzer (2004). The Irrationality Paradox. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (3):336-338.score: 18.0
    In the study of judgmental errors, surprisingly little thought is spent on what constitutes good and bad judgment. I call this simultaneous focus on errors and lack of analysis of what constitutes an error, the irrationality paradox. I illustrate the paradox by a dozen apparent fallacies; each can be logically deduced from the environmental structure and an unbiased mind.
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  28. C. Miller (2004). Review of S. Stroud and C. Tappolet (Eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):242-245.score: 18.0
    This volume is a collection of papers, all but one of which were presented at a conference on the same topic at the University of Montreal in 2001. The editors have also added a brief introduction, half of which is devoted to a very quick overview of some of the relevant background literature on weakness of will and practical irrationality, while the other half summarizes the main claims of each of the papers in the volume.
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  29. David Francis Pears (1984/1998). Motivated Irrationality. St. Augustine's Press.score: 18.0
    This book is about self-deception and lack of self-control or wishful thinking and acting against one's own better judgement. Steering a course between the skepticism of philosophers, who find the conscious defiance of reason too paradoxical, and the tolerant empiricism of psychologists, it compares the two kinds of irrationality, and relates the conclusions drawn to the views of Freud, cognitive psychologists, and such philosophers as Aristotle, Anscombe, Hare and Davidson.
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  30. Maya Bar-Hillel, David Budescu & Yigal Attali (2005). Scoring and Keying Multiple Choice Tests: A Case Study in Irrationality. [REVIEW] Mind and Society 4 (1):3-12.score: 18.0
    We offer a case-study in irrationality, showing that even in a high stakes context, intelligent and well trained professionals may adopt dominated practices. In multiple-choice tests one cannot distinguish lucky guesses from answers based on knowledge. Test-makers have dealt with this problem by lowering the incentive to guess, through penalizing errors (called formula scoring), and by eliminating various cues for outperforming random guessing (e.g., a preponderance of correct answers in middle positions), through key balancing. These policies, though widespread and (...)
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  31. Christian Miller (2004). Book Review: Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):242-245.score: 18.0
    This volume is a collection of papers, all but one of which were presented at a conference on the same topic at the University of Montreal in 2001. The editors have also added a brief introduction, half of which is devoted to a very quick overview of some of the relevant background literature on weakness of will and practical irrationality, while the other half summarizes the main claims of each of the papers in the volume. The contributors, in order (...)
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  32. Lydia Jaeger (2006). Bas Van Fraassen on Religion and Knowledge: Is There a Third Way Beyond Foundationalist Illusion and Bridled Irrationality? American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4):581-602.score: 18.0
    In his recent book, The Empirical Stance (2002), Bas van Fraassen elaborates on earlier suggestions of a religious view that has striking parallels withhis constructive empiricism. A particularly salient feature consists in the way in which he keeps a critical distance from theoretical formulations both in scienceand religion, thus preferring a mystical approach to religious experience. As an alternative, I suggest a view based on mediation by the word, both in the structureof reality and the encounter between persons. Without falling (...)
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  33. Mary Tjiattas (2000). Functional Irrationality. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 9:133-140.score: 18.0
    The mere possibility of irrationality has been challenged by a long-standing tradition which strongly supports the normative primacy of ideals of rationality. In this paper, I consider the possibility that a coherent account of irrationality can nonetheless be provided and furthermore that some forms of irrationality may be seen as justifiable on the basis of their functional roles.
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  34. Grant Gillett (1991). Multiple Personality and Irrationality. Philosophical Psychology 4 (1):103-118.score: 18.0
    Abstract The phenomenology of Multiple Personality (MP) syndrome is used to derive an Aristotelian explanation of the failure to achieve rational integration of mental content. An MP subject is best understood as having failed to master the techniques of integrating conative and cognitive aspects of her mental life. This suggests that in irrationality the subject may lack similar skills basic to the proper articulation and use of mental content in belief formation and control of action. The view that emerges (...)
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  35. Keith Graham (1974). Belief and the Limits of Irrationality. Inquiry 17 (1-4):315 – 326.score: 18.0
    (I) It is commonly held that a person cannot wittingly hold false or inconsistent beliefs. Edgley has argued that this follows from the normative implications involved in the concept of belief and the concept of a proposition, as expressed in the analytic principle 'if p, then it is right to think that p\ (II) But the principle, when taken in its analytic sense, does not have the required implications; and taken in the sense in which it would have those implications (...)
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  36. Eric C. Ip (2014). Taking a 'Hard Look' at 'Irrationality': Substantive Review of Administrative Discretion in the US and UK Supreme Courts. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 34 (3):481-510.score: 18.0
    This article undertakes the heretofore untried task of documenting and explaining the antithetical case law of the American and UK Supreme Courts as to substantive review of administrative discretion over the past three decades. Despite sharing common legal origins and experiencing comparable aggrandisements of administrative power in the latter half of the 20th century, the two courts are now sharply divided by the standard levels of intensity and modi operandi they adopt in exercising arbitrariness and irrationality review, respectively, for (...)
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  37. Hans Paul Prümm (2009). Reducing Irrationality of Legal Methodology by Realistic Description of Interpretative Tools and Teaching the Causes of Irrationality in Legal Education. Jurisprudence 115 (1):199-219.score: 18.0
    Lawyers pretend as if the process of application of laws, as well as its outcome, could be an analytic-deductive derivation; especially law students learn that legal decision-making is primarily a logic process. But we know that application of laws depends on analytic-logical as well as on voluntaristic (wilful) elements. Exact relations between these components are unknown and will be unknown. At most German law schools students as the most important imperative tool learn the so called “Auslegung” through the use of (...)
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  38. Herman Philipse (2001). The Irrationality of Religion. A Plea for Atheism (Invited Lecture). In. In Berit Brogaard & Barry Smith (eds.), Rationality and Irrationality. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. 267--272.score: 18.0
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  39. Tom J. F. Tillemans (2008). Reason, Irrationality and Akrasia (Weakness of the Will) in Buddhism: Reflections Upon Śāntideva's Arguments with Himself. [REVIEW] Argumentation 22 (1):149-163.score: 18.0
    Let it be granted that Buddhism has, e.g., in its logical literature, detailed canons and explicit rules of right reason that, amongst other things, ban inconsistency as irrational. This is the normative dimension of how people should think according to many major Buddhist authors. But do important Buddhist writers ever recognize any interesting or substantive role for inconsistency and forms of irrationality in their account of how people actually do think and act? The article takes as its point of (...)
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  40. Dennis B. Arnett & Shelby D. Hunt (2002). Competitive Irrationality: The Influence of Moral Philosophy. Business Ethics Quarterly 12 (3):279-304.score: 18.0
    Abstract: This study explores a phenomenon that has been shown to adversely affect managers’ decisions—competitive irrationality. Managers are irrationally competitive in their decisions when they focus on damaging the profits of competitors, rather than improving their own profit performance. Studies by Armstrong and Collopy (1996) and Griffith and Rust (1997) suggest that the phenomenon is common but not universal. We examine the question of why some individuals exhibit competitive irrationality when making decisions, while others do not by focusing (...)
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  41. Ronald de Sousa (2007). Paradoxical Emotion: On Sui Generis Emotional Irrationality. In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oup Oxford.score: 18.0
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  42. Joseph Heath (2003). Practical Irrationality and the Structure of Decision Theory. In Christine Tappolet & Sarah Stroud (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 251--273.score: 18.0
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  43. L. Jonathan Cohen (1981). Can Human Irrationality Be Experimentally Demonstrated? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (3):317-370.score: 15.0
    The object of this paper is to show why recent research in the psychology of deductive and probabilistic reasoning does not have.
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  44. Thomas Scanlon (2007). Structural Irrationality. In Geoffrey Brennan, Robert Goodin, Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), Common Minds: Themes From the Philosophy of Philip Pettit. Clarendon Press.score: 15.0
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  45. Michael Cholbi (2000). Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide. History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.score: 15.0
    Though Kant calls the prohibition against suicide the first duty of human beings to themselves, his arguments for this duty lack his characteristic rigor and systematicity. The lack of a single authoritative Kantian approach to suicide casts doubt on what is generally regarded as an extreme and implausible position, to wit, that not only is suicide wrong in every circumstance, but is among the gravest moral wrongs. Here I try to remedy this lack of systematicity in order to show that (...)
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  46. Stathis Psillos (2007). Putting a Bridle on Irrationality : An Appraisal of Van Fraassen's New Epistemology. In Bradley John Monton (ed.), Images of Empiricism: Essays on Science and Stances, with a Reply From Bas C. Van Fraassen. Oxford University Press. 288-319.score: 15.0
    Over the last twenty years, Bas van Fraassen has developed a “new epistemology”: an attempt to sail between Bayesianism and traditional epistemology. He calls his own alternative “voluntarism”. A constant pillar of his thought is the thought that rationality involves permission rather than obligation. The present paper aims to offer an appraisal of van Fraassen’s conception of rationality. In section 2, I review the Bayesian structural conception of rationality and argue that it has been found wanting. In sections 3 and (...)
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  47. Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.) (2003/2007). Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;.score: 15.0
    Sarah Stroud and Christine Tappolet present eleven original essays on weakness of will, a topic straddling the divide between moral philosophy and philosophy of mind, and the subject of much current attention. An international team of established scholars and younger talent provide perspectives on all the key issues in this fascinating debate; the book will be essential reading for anyone working in the area. Issues covered include classical questions, such as the distinction between weakness and compulsion, the connection between evaluative (...)
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  48. Mark van Roojen (1996). Expressivism and Irrationality. Philosophical Review 105 (3):311-335.score: 15.0
    Geach's problem, the problem of accounting for the fact that judgements expressed using moral terms function logically like other judgements, stands in the way of most noncognitive analyses of moral judgements. The non-cognitivist must offer a plausible interpretation of such terms when they appear in conditionals that also explains their logical interaction with straightforward moral assertions. Blackburn and Gibbard have offered a series of accounts each of which interprets such conditionals as expressing higher order commitments. Each then invokes norms for (...)
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  49. Sarah Buss (2004). The Irrationality of Unhappiness and the Paradox of Despair. Journal of Philosophy 101 (4):167 - 196.score: 15.0
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