Can We Be Justified in Believing That Humans Are Irrational?

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):545-565 (1997)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper, the author considers an argument against the thesis that humans are irrational in the sense that we reason according to principles that differ from those we ought to follow. The argument begins by noting that if humans are irrational, we should not trust the results of our reasoning processes. If we are justified in believing that humans are irrational, then, since this belief results from a reasoning process, we should not accept this belief. The claim that humans are irrational is, thus, self-undermining. The author shows that this argument---and others like it---fails for several interesting reasons. In fact, there is nothing self-undermining about the claim that humans are irrational; empirical research to establish this claim does not face the sorts of a priori problems that some philosophers and psychologists have claimed it does.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,916

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Can we be justified in believing that humans are irrational?Edward Stein - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):545-565.
Is God's Belief Requirement Rational?Greg Janzen - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (4):465-478.
Rationality and the Limits of Cognitive Science.Edward D. Stein - 1992 - Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A puzzle about epistemic akrasia.Daniel Greco - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):201-219.
Is Naturalism Irrational?J. Wesley Robbins - 1994 - Faith and Philosophy 11 (2):255-259.
Observer‐relative chances and the doomsday argument.John Leslie - 1997 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):427 – 436.
Self-Knowledge for Humans.Quassim Cassam - 2014 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Moore’s paradox in belief and desire.John N. Williams - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (1):1-23.


Added to PP

4 (#1,249,634)

6 months
1 (#485,121)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorizing.Steve Clarke - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (2):131-150.
Self-reflexive cognitive bias.Joshua Mugg & Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-21.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references