Posted: November 28th, 2019, 4:29 pm
Wouldn't the best decision always by definition be the most rational decision? What is the value of rationality otherwise?
Philosophy for Philosophers
This is what I am trying to find out by asking the questions put forth here.
It is rational to try to understand the world around you so that you can make good choices in the future. So, if you were rational in the past, you should have a good base of knowledge. But, if you encounter something new, you can still be rational and fail. You could make the most rational decision based on your incomplete knowledge, but fail to make the 'best' decision.
(well, I sure didn't say that) I don't think it's rational to reason your way to the decision. There is a bus coming. I am in the lane. The bus will impact me. My options are to remain here, to signal the bus driver, to move out of the way. Moving out of the way does use more calories, but signalling the bus driver may not be effective given that.... dead.Pantagruel wrote: ↑November 28th, 2019, 6:44 amYou don't think it's rational to jump out of the way?Karpel Tunnel wrote: ↑November 27th, 2019, 8:19 pmAnd I should have added, sometimes it is irrational to use rationality for certain decisions. In many physical immediate threat situations, you don't want to try to calculate the correct trajectory to fling your body to avoid being hit by a bus, for example. You could try to work out the direction rationally, and die before following the body's intuitive immediate choice.
Sculptor1 wrote: ↑November 28th, 2019, 8:23 amKarpel Tunnel wrote: ↑November 27th, 2019, 8:19 pmAnd I should have added, sometimes it is irrational to use rationality for certain decisions. In many physical immediate threat situations, you don't want to try to calculate the correct trajectory to fling your body to avoid being hit by a bus, for example. You could try to work out the direction rationally, and die before following the body's intuitive immediate choice.I am saying the process leading to the decision is not one we tend to put in the category rational, which tends to mean a process involving verbal thinking, where conclusions are drawn logically or intended to be logically drawn.The meaning of "decision" here is a moot point. I'm not sure you are deciding what to do. And who is to say that the more automated "decision" which leads the body to avoid a bus is not a rational one?
Yes, it would be irrational to make that choice. And generally do not make that mistake in immediate physical threat situations. But they certainly overthink or decide to reason out options in less deadly situations, where it would be better to go by intuition. And, again, I am saying I think it makes sense to eliminate the positive and negative value judgment aspects of rationality vs. say intuitive processes, and focus on the differences in the processes. Rational thinking can lead to poor choices or good ones, poor conclusions or good ones. It is a way of approaching conclusions and choices. Sometimes it is not the right choice of method.In the example you give you would have to make a bad choice to subvert and interrupt the "automated decision", and that choice would ipos facto be an irrational choice, leading as it does to death or injury - this undermines your position.
nnd neither would I.Whilst I understand what you are trying to say - I would not be offering it up as a general recommendation to avoid rational decisions.
But there are many situations where we should not analyze and try to work out a logically arrived at solution using verbal thought, especially when there are a lot of factors and/or we have expertise built up over time and/or there is a relatively short period of time to arrive at a conclusion or choice.Most cases would allow a moment's reflection and the avoidance of a fear response would be most often better than a knee-jerk fight or flight decision.
My point is not to argue, at all, that rationality is bad or even neutral. It is an option we have that few other creatures to and those that have it, if they do, have it at a much more limited level. This gives us all sorts of advantages. I am not trying to take any of this away from rationality. I think, however it is best to think of it as a process, remove positive attributes from the meaning of the term - not remove them from our thinking about rationality, but from the definition of it. And then to notice that given it is a specific process, it will suit some situations better than others.
Simpsons did it. Homer tries to get the nerd kids back in the good graces of the dean by arranging for them to save his life. He drives his car at the dean...Karpel Tunnel wrote: ↑November 29th, 2019, 8:43 am(well, I sure didn't say that) I don't think it's rational to reason your way to the decision. There is a bus coming. I am in the lane. The bus will impact me. My options are to remain here, to signal the bus driver, to move out of the way. Moving out of the way does use more calories, but signalling the bus driver may not be effective given that.... dead.
Lovely example!chewybrian wrote: ↑November 29th, 2019, 10:09 amSimpsons did it. Homer tries to get the nerd kids back in the good graces of the dean by arranging for them to save his life. He drives his car at the dean...
Nerd kid: "OK, get ready to push him out of the way in exactly 3 seconds."
Other nerd kid: "Should we correct for wind resistance?"
Third nerd: "Hmmm...possibly. What do you think?" *SPLAT*(dean gets run over)
I shouldn't have been so facile. Good rationality would include the ability to recognize exigency. Recognizing exigency might come through intuition or it might come through rational analysis.
We need to take care using rational, reason and rationality interchangeably.
You missed my point, not that it was all that central to our discussion. My point is that, in an example such as we are considering here, there is no time for rational, conscious, thought. It's instinct or nothing. Our view of reality is roughly 250 ms in the past, because that's how long it takes our brain/mind to process what comes in via our senses, and make some kind of sense of it all. To act in a shorter time than that is only possible for us if our instinctive and (as you say) unconscious minds do the work for us.
Assuming that we use and intend "rational" to mean according to reason and logic, as the dictionary suggests, then I think it's clear that there are circumstances where rationality is the very last thing we need or want. In human relationships, assessing and judging art (pictures, music, etc), considering religion, including the Eastern ones that may not actually involve God, and so on. None of these would benefit from rationality.