Can We Interpret Irrational Behavior?

Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2):359 - 375 (2004)
According to some theories of interpretation, it is difficult to explain and predict irrational behavior in intentional terms because irrational behavior does not support the ascription of intentional states with determinate content. In this paper I challenge this claim by offering a general diagnosis of those cases in which behavior, rational or not, resists interpretation. I argue that indeterminacy of ascription and paralysis of interpretation ensue when the interpreter lacks relevant information about the system to be interpreted and about the environment in which the system is embedded. Moreover, the heuristics of interpretation that guide the ascription of beliefs can be limited in scope. In the end I suggest that by giving up the idea of a necessary rationality constraint on the ascription of intentional states we can develop a new framework for a more psychologically realistic account of interpretation.
Keywords irrationality  intentionality  beliefs
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,317
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
A Role for Ownership and Authorship in the Analysis of Thought Insertion.Lisa Bortolotti & Matthew Broome - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (2):205-224.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Intentionality Without Rationality.Lisa Bortolotti - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (3):385-392.
Intentionality Without Rationality.Lisa Bortolotti - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (1):369 - 376.
Delusions and the Background of Rationality.Lisa Bortolotti - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (2):189-208.
Intentional Behaviorism.Gordon R. Foxall - 2007 - Behavior and Philosophy 35:1 - 55.
Making Room for Bodily Intentionality.Todd D. Janke - 2008 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):51-68.
Must Reasons Be Rational?Janet Levin - 1988 - Philosophy of Science 55 (2):199-217.
Shaking the Bedrock.Lisa Bortolotti - 2011 - Philosophy Psychiatry Psychology 18 (1):77-87.
The Empirical Virtues of Belief.Andrew Cling - 1991 - Philosophical Psychology 4 (3):303-23.
Intentional Systems Theory.Daniel Dennett - 2011 - In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
Does Rationality Presuppose Irrationality.Xavier Vanmechelen - 1998 - Philosophical Explorations 1 (2):126 – 139.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
44 ( #131,966 of 2,224,469 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #140,172 of 2,224,469 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature