Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):21-36 (2017)

Jesse S. Summers
Duke University
Research suggests that the explicit reasoning we offer to ourselves and to others is often rationalization, that we act instead on instincts, inclinations, stereotypes, emotions, neurobiology, habits, reactions, evolutionary pressures, unexamined principles, or justifications other than the ones we think we’re acting on, then we tell a post hoc story to justify our actions. I consider two benefits of rationalization, once we realize that rationalization is sincere. It allows us to work out, under practical pressure of rational consistency, which are good reasons to act on. Rationalization also prompts us to establish meaningful patterns out of merely permissible options.
Keywords rationalization  confabulation  explanatory reasons  justificatory reasons
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2017.1287292
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