Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, and of one's actions with one's reasons for action. "Rationality" has different specialized meanings in philosophy, economics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, game theory and political science. To determine what behavior is the most rational, one needs to make several key assumptions, and also needs a logical formulation of the problem. When the goal or problem involves making a decision, rationality factors in all information that is available (e.g. complete or incomplete knowledge). Collectively, the formulation and background assumptions are the model within which rationality applies. Rationality is relative: if one accepts a model in which benefitting oneself is optimal, then rationality is equated with behavior that is self-interested to the point of being selfish; whereas if one accepts a model in which benefiting the group is optimal, then purely selfish behavior is deemed irrational. It is thus meaningless to assert rationality without also specifying the background model assumptions describing how the problem is framed and formulated.
1.1 Max Weber 1.2 Psychology 1.3 Richard Brandt
2 Quality 3 Theoretical and practical 4 Examples in different fields
4.1 Logic 4.2 Economics 4.3 Artificial intelligence 4.4 International relations
5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading
The German sociologist
Psychology In the psychology of reasoning, psychologists and cognitive scientists have defended different positions on human rationality. One prominent view, due to Philip Johnson-Laird and Ruth M. J. Byrne among others is that humans are rational in principle but they err in practice, that is, humans have the competence to be rational but their performance is limited by various factors. However, it has been argued that many standard tests of reasoning, such as those on the conjunction fallacy, on the Wason selection task, or the base rate fallacy suffer from methodological and conceptual problems. This has led to disputes in psychology over whether researchers should (only) use standard rules of logic, probability theory and statistics, or rational choice theory as norms of good reasoning. Opponents of this view, such as Gerd Gigerenzer, favor a conception of bounded rationality, especially for tasks under high uncertainty.
Richard Brandt Richard Brandt proposed a "reforming definition" of rationality, arguing someone is rational if their notions survive a form of cognitive-psychotherapy.
Quality Abulof argues that rationality has become an "essentially contested concept," as its "proper use… inevitably involves endless disputes." He identifies "four fronts" for the disputes about the meaning of rationality:
The purpose, or function, of ascribing rationality: Is it descriptive/explanatory, prescriptive or subjunctive (rationality "as if" real)? The subject of rationality: What, or who, is rational: the choice, the act, or the choosing actor? Cognition: What is the quality of the cognitive decision-making process: minimal (calculative intentionality) or optimal (expected-utility)? Rationale: Is rationality merely instrumental, that is, agnostic about the logic of human action and its motivations (instrumental rationality) or does it substantially inform them (substantive rationality, focusing on material maximization)? It is believed by some philosophers (notably A. C. Grayling) that a good rationale must be independent of emotions, personal feelings or any kind of instincts. Any process of evaluation or analysis, that may be called rational, is expected to be highly objective, logical and "mechanical". If these minimum requirements are not satisfied i.e. if a person has been, even slightly, influenced by personal emotions, feelings, instincts, or culturally specific moral codes and norms, then the analysis may be termed irrational, due to the injection of subjective bias. Modern cognitive science and neuroscience show that studying the role of emotion in mental function (including topics ranging from flashes of scientific insight to making future plans), that no human has ever satisfied this criterion, except perhaps a person with no affective feelings, for example an individual with a massively damaged amygdala or severe psychopathy. Thus, such an idealized form of rationality is best exemplified by computers, and not people. However, scholars may productively appeal to the idealization as a point of reference.
Theoretical and practical
Kant had distinguished theoretical from practical reason. Rationality
Examples in different fields
Rationality plays a key role in economics and there are several
strands to this. Firstly, there is the concept of
instrumentality—basically the idea that people and organisations are
instrumentally rational—that is, adopt the best actions to achieve
their goals. Secondly, there is an axiomatic concept that rationality
is a matter of being logically consistent within your preferences and
beliefs. Thirdly, people have focused on accuracy of beliefs and full
use of information—in this view a person who is not rational has
beliefs that don't fully use the information they have.
Debates within economic sociology also arise as to whether or not
people or organizations are "really" rational, as well as whether it
makes sense to model them as such in formal models. Some have argued
that a kind of bounded rationality makes more sense for such models.
Others think that any kind of rationality along the lines of rational
choice theory is a useless concept for understanding human behavior;
the term homo economicus (economic man: the imaginary man being
assumed in economic models who is logically consistent but amoral) was
coined largely in honor of this view.
Artificial intelligence Within artificial intelligence, a rational agent is typically one that maximizes its expected utility, given its current knowledge. Utility is the usefulness of the consequences of its actions. The utility function is arbitrarily defined by the designer, but should be a function of "performance", which is the directly measurable consequences, such as winning or losing money. In order to make a safe agent that plays defensively, a nonlinear function of performance is often desired, so that the reward for winning is lower than the punishment for losing. An agent might be rational within its own problem area, but finding the rational decision for arbitrarily complex problems is not practically possible. The rationality of human thought is a key problem in the psychology of reasoning.
International relations There is an ongoing debate over the merits of using “rationality” in the study of international relations (IR). Some scholars hold it indispensable. Others are more critical. Still, the pervasive and persistent usage of "rationality" in political science and IR is beyond dispute. "Rationality" remains ubiquitous in this field. Abulof finds that Some 40% of all scholarly references to "foreign policy" allude to "rationality"—and this ratio goes up to more than half of pertinent academic publications in the 2000s. He further argues that when it comes to concrete security and foreign policies, IR employment of rationality borders on "malpractice": rationality-based descriptions are largely either false or unfalsifiable; many observers fail to explicate the meaning of "rationality" they employ; and the concept is frequently used politically to distinguish between "us and them."
Cognitive bias Coherence (linguistics) Counterintuitive Dysrationalia Flipism Imputation (game theory) (individual rationality) Instinct Intelligence Irrationality Law of thought LessWrong List of cognitive biases Perfect rationality Principle of rationality Rational emotive behavior therapy Rational pricing Rationalism Rationalization (making excuses) Satisficing Superrationality Von Neumann–Morgenstern utility theorem
^ "Definition of RATIONALITY". www.merriam-webster.com..mw-parser-output cite.citation font-style:inherit .mw-parser-output .citation q quotes:"""""""'""'" .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration color:#555 .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output code.cs1-code color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error display:none;font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format font-size:95% .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left padding-left:0.2em .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right padding-right:0.2em
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^ a b Abulof, Uriel (16 July 2015). "The malpractice of 'rationality' in international relations". Rationality and Society. 27 (3): 358–384. doi:10.1177/1043463115593144.
^ Mosterín, Jesús (2008). Lo mejor posible: Racionalidad y acción humana. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2008. 318 pp. ISBN 978-84-206-8206-8.
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