Introduction: Aspects of Rationality

In Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford University Press (2004)
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Abstract

This article examines the nature of rationality. The domain of rationality is customarily divided into the theoretical and the practical. Whereas theoretical or epistemic rationality is concerned with what it is rational to believe, and sometimes with rational degrees of belief, practical rationality is concerned with what it is rational to do, or intend or desire to do. This article raises some of the main issues relevant to philosophical discussion of the nature of rationality. Discussions of the nature of practical rationality and reason concern norms of choice, and it seems that if such norms are not arbitrary, arguments over what those norms are must ultimately be a theoretical matter. Furthermore, this article explores rationality's role in and relation to other domains of inquiry: psychology, gender, personhood, language, science, economics, law, and evolution.

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Author Profiles

Alfred Mele
Florida State University
Piers Rawling
Florida State University

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