What is rationality?

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What is rationality?

Post by ben_tam64 »

What is rationality?

Simple question, or maybe not.
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by ray »

Rationality is doing the right think in your head.

Right thing is that which you honesty believe is the right thing.
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by nameless »

ra⋅tion⋅al⋅i⋅ty [rash-uh-nal-i-tee]
1. the state or quality of being rational.
2. the possession of reason.
3. agreeableness to reason; reasonableness.
4. the exercise of reason.
5. a reasonable view, practice, etc.

The quality or condition of being rational.

A rational belief or practice.


in philosophy, the faculty or process of drawing logical inferences. The term "reason" is also used in several other, narrower senses. Reason is in opposition to sensation, perception, feeling, desire, as the faculty (the existence of which is denied by empiricists) by which fundamental truths are intuitively apprehended. These fundamental truths are the causes or "reasons" of all derivative facts. According to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, reason is the power of synthesizing into unity, by means of comprehensive principles, the concepts that are provided by the intellect. That reason which gives a priori principles Kant calls "pure reason," as distinguished from the "practical reason," which is specially concerned with the performance of actions. In formal logic the drawing of inferences (frequently called "ratiocination," from Latin ratiocinari, "to use the reasoning faculty") is classified from Aristotle on as deductive (from generals to particulars) and inductive (from particulars to generals).

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Re: What is rationality?

Post by conceptualizer »

At its most fundamental level I think rationality is applying a system to make judgements with an intentional outcome, one element of existentialism applied. This does not necessarily imply a value system or consistency. One could be a rational nihilist I suppose, or intentionally change ones position, the important verb being intentionality.
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by duszek »

To me rationality is arguing in accordance with the laws of logic, like for example the law of non-contradiction and the other laws, as they are implicit in the Aristotalian syllogisms.

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Re: What is rationality?

Post by thalarch »

ben_tam64 wrote:What is rationality? Simple question, or maybe not.

It is adherence to the principles and procedures that are set in invented systems for proper thinking slash decision and conclusion making; being faithful to the standards of a particular logic, method, ideology, etc. Non-contradiction MAY be one axiom universal to all of them, in order qualify as "rational".

Or can also refer to following informal, everyday "commonsense". Or utilizing and being consistent with an innate formula of reasoning which the brain/body comes equipped with at birth --a speculative possibility, since although it's obvious that organisms have instincts and something inherent for organizing information they receive about the world and responding to it in this or that way, it's not clear that such perfectly fits any formal descriptive scheme which humans have concocted/inferred.
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by Impenitent »

rationality is a circular language game based upon definitions and symbolic representations of things which cannot be described

frumious indeed

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Re: What is rationality?

Post by Alglenne »

May I join the discussion. I want to suggest that 'rationality' is about how we come to knowledge. Empericist propose that we come to knowledge throuth the senses. Logic proposes that we come to truth by the underlying form/structure of the language of perception. ( a bit clumsy I admit) But in rationality, it is argued or claimed that we can arrive at knowledge and truth by thinking independently of perception.

It seeem to me that the weakness in rationality is that it lacks verifiability. Something about Logic in that it supports rationality that bothers me is the question of taughtology. Can we go beyond logical form since logical form is not about the truth of perception? Don't know, perhaps, a little more than confused here.
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by HexHammer »

I would boil it down to correct processing precived information, even if you may have a false impression, a sound rational mind can still compensate for a poor preception.


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Re: What is rationality?

Post by Al Graham »

Alglenne wrote: It seems to me that the weakness in rationality is that it lacks verifiability.
There are different methods of verification, of which the empirical method is only one. For example, there is the coherence theory, in which statements are verified by reference to the rules of logic. In fact, it could be argued that the more empirically friendly correspondence theory (does a proposition correspond with the facts of reality?) is actually a form of the coherence theory, because "the facts of reality" are themselves delivered to us by means of logical propositions. "Grass is green" may be a fact of reality, but we only perceive the greenness of grass by intuition through sense perception, and we do not experience this greenness in itself. We intuit or think it as a result of sense perception.

The empirical method seeks to verify the greenness of grass - and other natural phenomena - through repetitive experimentation and observation. But the probabilistic or inductive conclusion drawn from this methodology is itself a logical inference: "Because we have observed this to be the case many times, therefore we accept that it is most probably a true reflection of external reality". The conclusions of the empirical method are reached by logical inference, not, strictly speaking, by sense perception, because the latter is merely an experience of phenomena; a conclusion is a logical thought.

Therefore verification itself is a logical process. So I can't see how it follows that a proposition cannot be verified by logic itself without the element of sense perception.

As for tautology: you seem to be suggesting that we cannot verify a proposition by logic alone (i.e. with recourse to sense perception) without encountering a tautology, which, by definition, is unfalsifiable. But the method of empirical verification itself is dependent on non-empirical logic. As I mentioned earlier, we draw the conclusion that grass is green based on repeated observation. But the method of saying to ourselves: "we must conclude that such and such a phenomenon is true if it fulfils the criterion of repeated observation" is a logical idea that is itself NOT derived from sense perception. It has to be accepted as true a priori. But does that mean that this rational principle is a tautology? Not necessarily. Its internal logic can be analysed and judged to be coherent. We then apply it to the data of sense perception and discover that it works.

Now one could argue that the a priori principle is being tested empirically, but given that this principle establishes the criterion by which empirical testing is judged to be successful, then it cannot be tested without resorting to question begging circularity.

So logic itself must function as a method of verification. The question is: how far can we remove logical propositions from empirical perception?
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by HexHammer »

To have sufficient cognitive abilities not to make logical phallacies.
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Re: What is rationality?

Post by hashtag »

I think rationality is the formally expressed rules of human decision-making, in the sense of how we do think. But my view is that they're imperfectly expressed.

There's also this idea of rational thinking vs irrational (or sometimes people say emotional) thinking. This makes me think that rationality just means socially condoned thought patterns, or more usually retrospective justifications for decisions made.
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