Rationality and charity

Philosophy of Science 50 (2):250-267 (1983)

Paul Thagard
University of Waterloo
Quine and others have recommended principles of charity which discourage judgments of irrationality. Such principles have been proposed to govern translation, psychology, and economics. After comparing principles of charity of different degrees of severity, we argue that the stronger principles are likely to block understanding of human behavior and impede progress toward improving it. We support a moderate principle of charity which leaves room for empirically justified judgments of irrationality
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DOI 10.1086/289108
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