What behavior is rational? It’s rational to act ethically, some think. Others endorse instrumentalism — it is rational to pursue one’s goals. Still others say that acting rationally always involves promoting one’s self-interest. Many philosophers have given each of these answers. But these answers don’t really conflict; they aren’t vying to describe some shared concept or to solve some mutually acknowledged problem. In so far as this is debated, it is a pseudo-debate. The different uses of (...) ‘rational action’ differ merely in meaning. I shall defend the following claims: ‘rationalbehavior’ is used in ethical, prudential, and instrumental ways (section 1); these uses of ‘rationalbehavior’ are distinct (section 2); they do not represent competing theories of rationalbehavior (section 3); we should stop using ‘rationalbehavior’ ethically and prudentially, but we may continue its instrumental use (section 4). (shrink)
This is a paperback edition of a major contribution to the field, first published in hard covers in 1977. The book outlines a general theory of rational behaviour consisting of individual decision theory, ethics, and game theory as its main branches. Decision theory deals with a rational pursuit of individual utility; ethics with a rational pursuit of the common interests of society; and game theory with an interaction of two or more rational individuals, each pursuing his (...) own interests in a rational manner. (shrink)
Rational analysis (Anderson 1990, 1991a) is an empiricalprogram of attempting to explain why the cognitive system isadaptive, with respect to its goals and the structure of itsenvironment. We argue that rational analysis has two importantimplications for philosophical debate concerning rationality. First,rational analysis provides a model for the relationship betweenformal principles of rationality (such as probability or decisiontheory) and everyday rationality, in the sense of successfulthought and action in daily life. Second, applying the program ofrational analysis to research (...) on human reasoning leads to a radicalreinterpretation of empirical results which are typically viewed asdemonstrating human irrationality. (shrink)
Stanovich & West's target article undervalues the power of implicit learning (particularly reinforcement learning). Implicit learning may allow the learning of more rational responses–and sometimes even generalisation of knowledge–in contexts where explicit, abstract knowledge proves only of limited value, such as for economic decision-making. Four other comments are made.
While Rational Choice Theory (RC) may be understood as a theory of choice, which does not necessarily reflect actual deliberative processes, rule-following behavior is definitely based on a certain form of delibera- tion. This article aims at clarifying the relationship between the two. Being guided by instrumental rules, i.e., rules reducible to the maximiza- tion principle, is perfectly consistent with the fundamental behavioral assumptions of RC. But human individuals use other forms of rules in decision making, especially tie-breaking (...) rules and coordination rules. It is argued that within RC no satisfying account of such rule-following behav- ior can be given. In particular it is impossible to determine suitable pref- erence orderings such that coordinating may be understood as maximizing relative to these orderings. Still, once there is coordination, following a coordination rule may be perfectly consistent with the basic assumptions of RC. So there might be a more complex theory of action that incorpo- rates RC as well as a satisfying theory of rule-guided behavior. (shrink)
In discussing rational choice theory (RCT) as an explanation of demand behavior, Becker (1962, Journal of Political Economy, 70, 1?13) proposed a model of random choice in which consumers pick a bundle on their budget line according to a uniform distribution. This model has then been used in various ways to assess the validity of RCT and to support as-if arguments in defense of it. This paper makes both historical and methodological contributions. Historically, it investigates how the interpretation (...) of Becker random behavior evolved between the original 1962 article and the modern experimental literature on individual demand, and surveys six experiments in which it has been used as an alternative hypothesis to RCT. Methodologically, this paper conducts an assessment of the as-if defense of RCT from the standpoint of Becker's model. It argues that this defense is ?weak? in a number of senses, and that it has negatively influenced the design of experiments about RCT. (shrink)
The generation of value bubbles is an inherently psychological and social process, where information sharing and individual decisions can affect representations of value. Bubbles occur in many domains, from the stock market, to the runway, to the laboratories of science. Here we seek to understand how psychological and social processes lead representations (i.e., expectations) of value to become divorced from the inherent value, using asset bubbles as an example. We hypothesize that simple asset group switching rules can give rise to (...) aggregate behavior that resembles the irrational exuberance that can drive asset bubbles. Using an agent-based model we explore whether a simple switching rule can generate irrational exuberance, and systematically explore how communication between decision makers influences the speed and intensity of overvaluation. We show that rational and simple individual level rules combined with honest information sharing are sufficient to generate the collective overvaluation characteristic of irrational exuberance. Further, our results demonstrate that low fidelity in the exchange of value information leads to rapidly increasing expectations about value, even when no one is engaged in exaggerating their expectations for the assets they own. (shrink)
Extensively updated to include clinical findings over the last two decades, this third edition of A Practitioner's Guide to Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy reviews the philosophy, theory, and clinical practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. This model is based on the work of Albert Ellis, who had an enormous influence on the field of psychotherapy over his 50 years of practice and scholarly writing. Designed for both therapists-in-training and seasoned professionals, this practical treatment manual and guide introduces (...) the basic principles of rational-emotive behavior therapy, explains general therapeutic strategies, and offers many illustrative dialogues between therapist and patient. The volume breaks down each stage of therapy to present the exact procedures and skills therapists need, and numerous case studies illustrate how to use these skills. The authors describe both technical and specific strategic interventions, and they stress taking an integrative approach. The importance of building a therapeutic alliance and the use of cognitive, emotive, evocative, imaginal, and behavioral interventions serves as the unifying theme of the approach. Intervention models are presented for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, anger, personality disorders, and addictions. Psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, psychotherapists, and students and trainees in these areas will find this book useful in learning to apply rational-emotive behavior therapy in practice. (shrink)
Much research on judgment and decision making has focussed on the adequacy of classical rationality as a description of human reasoning. But more recently it has been argued that classical rationality should also be rejected even as normative standards for human reasoning. For example, Gigerenzer and Goldstein and Gigerenzer and Todd argue that reasoning involves “fast and frugal” algorithms which are not justified by rational norms, but which succeed in the environment. They provide three lines of argument for this (...) view, based on: the importance of the environment; the existence of cognitive limitations; and the fact that an algorithm with no apparent rational basis, Take-the-Best, succeeds in an judgment task. We reconsider –, arguing that standard patterns of explanation in psychology and the social and biological sciences, use rational norms to explain why simple cognitive algorithms can succeed. We also present new computer simulations that compare Take-the-Best with other cognitive models. Although Take-the-Best still performs well, it does not perform noticeably better than the other models. We conclude that these results provide no strong reason to prefer Take-the-Best over alternative cognitive models. (shrink)
It has always seemed to me that the universe is a bit more diabolical than one would expect. There are just too many strange and frustrating incidents that can not be attributed to pure chance. Can there be some validity to the thousands of "Murphy's Laws" that we have heard about or been subjected to? Maybe. Murphy's Laws may not be the worst of it.
A fundamental philosophical question that arises in connection with evolutionary theory is whether the fittest patterns of behavior are always the most rational. Are fitness and rationality fully compatible? When behavioral rationality is characterized formally as in classical decision theory, the question becomes mathematically meaningful and can be explored systematically by investigating whether the optimally fit behavior predicted by evolutionary process models is decision-theoretically coherent. Upon investigation, it appears that in nontrivial evolutionary models the expected behavior (...) is not always in accord with the norms of the standard theory of decision as ordinarily applied. Many classically irrational acts, e.g. betting on the occurrence of one event in the knowledge that the probabilities favor another, can under certain circumstances constitute adaptive behavior.One interesting interpretation of this clash is that the criterion of rationality offered by classical decision theory is simply incorrect (or at least incomplete) as it stands, and that evolutionary theory should be called upon to provide a more generally applicable theory of rationality. Such a program, should it prove feasible, would amount to the logical reduction of the theory of rational choice to evolutionary theory. (shrink)
While logical theories of information attitudes, such as knowledge, certainty and belief, have flourished in the past two decades, formalization of other facets of rationalbehavior have lagged behind significantly. One intriguing line of research concerns the concept of intention. I will discuss one approach to tackling the notion within a logical framework, based on a database perspective.
Pluralistic ignorance is a socio-psychological phenomenon that involves a systematic discrepancy between people’s private beliefs and public behavior in certain social contexts. Recently, pluralistic ignorance has gained increased attention in formal and social epistemology. But to get clear on what precisely a formal and social epistemological account of pluralistic ignorance should look like, we need answers to at least the following two questions: What exactly is the phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance? And can the phenomenon arise among perfectly rational (...) agents? In this paper, we propose answers to both these questions. First, we characterize different versions of pluralistic ignorance and define the version that we claim most adequately captures the examples cited as paradigmatic cases of pluralistic ignorance in the literature. In doing so, we will stress certain key epistemic and social interactive aspects of the phenomenon. Second, given our characterization of pluralistic ignorance, we argue that the phenomenon can indeed arise in groups of perfectly rational agents. This, in turn, ensures that the tools of formal epistemology can be fully utilized to reason about pluralistic ignorance. (shrink)
As part of the rationality debate, we examine the impact of deliberative and intuitive thinking styles on diversity preference behavior. A sample of 230 students completed the Rational Experiential Inventory and the Diversity Preference Questionnaire, an original measure of diversification behavior in different real-life situations. In cases where no normative solution was available, we found a clear preference for diversity-seeking in the gain domain and diversity-aversion in the loss domain, regardless of cognitive thinking style. However, in cases (...) where one alternative normatively dominated the other, participants high in deliberative thinking style were more calibrated to normative behavior, regardless of whether their intuitive tendency preference and the normative solution were contradictory or pointed in the same direction. Our findings support a model in which deliberative but not intuitive thinking style is the crucial predictor of rationalbehavior, since it enables people to better adjust their intuitive preference anchor when normative considerations require doing so. (shrink)
We construct a model of rational choice under risk with biased risk judgement. On its basis, we argue that sometimes, a regulator aiming at maximising social welfare should affect the environment in such a way that it becomes ‘less safe’ in common perception. More specifically, we introduce a bias into each agent’s choice of optimal risk levels: consequently, in certain environments, agents choose a behaviour that realises higher risks than intended. Individuals incur a welfare loss through this bias. We (...) show that by deteriorating the environment, the regulator can motivate individuals to choose behaviour that is less biased, and hence realises risk levels closer to what individuals intended. We formally investigate the conditions under which such a Beneficial Safety Decrease—i.e. a deteriorating intervention that has a positive welfare effect—exists. Finally, we discuss three applications of our model. (shrink)