The “rationality wars” in psychology: Where they are and where they could go

Inquiry 55 (1):66-81 (2012)
Current psychology of human reasoning is divided into several different approaches. For instance, there is a major dispute over the question whether human beings are able to apply norms of the formal models of rationality such as rules of logic, or probability and decision theory, correctly. While researchers following the “heuristics and biases” approach argue that we deviate systematically from these norms, and so are perhaps deeply irrational, defenders of the “bounded rationality” approach think not only that the evidence for this conclusion is problematic but also that we should not, at least not very often, use formal norms in reasoning. I argue that while the evidence for heuristics and biases is indeed questionable, the bounded rationality approach has its limits too. Most especially, we should not infer that formal norms play no role in a comprehensive theory of rationality. Instead, formal and bounded rules of reasoning might even be connected in a more comprehensive theory of rationality.
Keywords Rationality  Cognitive Psychology  Bounded Rationality  Heuristics  Probability Theory
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DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2012.643628
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