The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Rationality

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
User avatar
Pantagruel
Posts: 66
Joined: July 2nd, 2019, 5:26 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Henri Bergson

Re: Rationality

Post by Pantagruel » November 29th, 2019, 12:40 pm

Do you not think rationality builds upon functional practical knowledge from the ground up? Or does the Elephant stand on the back of a Tortoise? :)

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 946
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Rationality

Post by Sculptor1 » November 29th, 2019, 12:47 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 12:27 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: ↑
November 28th, 2019, 3:54 pm
"And I should have added, sometimes it is irrational to use rationality for certain decisions." - the point is not well made since it would not be "rational" in this case to subvert the automated response of the human body.
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.

As for whether our instinctive behaviour is rational, I don't know, but my guess is that it is not. Reason and logic seem far too considered and, well, conscious, for our unconscious minds to work likewise. But who knows? πŸ€”
Agreed but I would not want to deny the possibility that the microsecond decisions made with what we like to call "instinct" are not based on a process of reason (albeit very fast), just not conscious.
When I think how well I drive; never thinking consciously about my gear changes as I take the racing line over the roundabout, whilst still being aware of what is in the mirrors (behind left and right), and singing along to Led Zep, and scratching my nose - the human brain is far more than consciousness, and I can't see how all this can happen with no reasoning.

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 320
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Rationality

Post by Papus79 » November 29th, 2019, 2:01 pm

A quick thought, and I suppose I'm just lending my agreement to anyone whose said this further back in the thread, pure rationality runs into a framing problem. We're animals, as animals we have priorities, and once any form of reason lifts too far out of the 'common sense' or 'tailored reasoning that's good for our thriving' it starts causing us to lose at the survival and procreation game which exists in very narrow terms - which I'd argue that modern media, Tinder, and the like have framed even more narrowly than ever.

If a person truly says 'Screw it - I don't care about being human and I don't care about winning at status, prestige, money, and natural selection game' then they can clearly get farther out-there than people who won't give those things up but even there - their biology has a priority to stay a live even if they themselves will not have progeny, and there's the additional question of what kinds of beliefs - even if true - could dismantle a conscious agent made of meat in the way we are or make day to day life going forward untenable.

I think determinism is a good example of something that runs into the practical barriers like this. For example we can find enough evidence to suggest that there's no reason to believe that there's any such thing as free will or that there's no other choices that could be made in any either temporal or less specific causal flow (if one doesn't like time lets just say movement as cause) there's still the problem that all of our feelings, orientations to society, orientations to ourselves, forward planning, etc. all require the premise that we act at every moment as if we're planning against negative counterfactuals or just narrowly missed negative, or even positive, counterfactuals. We're forced to accept that what we do as agents in the world reap direct consequences whether or not those consequences are fair. Similarly you could think of something happening like cosmic mind at large being so curious about itself that it wants to learn something about itself through trying to dramatically reward a person for what we'd deem heinous behavior and that even if it were somehow true that said behavior would serve a purpose far greater than the act itself that human agent is so aware of what it would do to both them and those effected that they'd fight it tooth and nail on self-preservation grounds, on preservation of their own moral principles for life (this is another really big thing with being human - if our stories that we tell ourselves unravel too thoroughly sanity tends to go with it).

This is where I think philosophy of science really needs to take a long and hard look at what we are, the demands of our biological frames, the demands of the physical and social worlds we live in, and the degrees to which what we are in relation to these things limits what we can conceive of - for the purpose of taking loud proclamations of those sorts of boundaries with a bigger grain of salt.

User avatar
Pantagruel
Posts: 66
Joined: July 2nd, 2019, 5:26 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Henri Bergson

Re: Rationality

Post by Pantagruel » November 29th, 2019, 2:10 pm

Papus79 wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 2:01 pm
once any form of reason lifts too far out of the 'common sense' or 'tailored reasoning that's good for our thriving' it starts causing us to lose at the survival and procreation game which exists in very narrow terms
See and I'd argue from a purely theoretical standpoint that reason by definition never can become disconnected from it's fundamental practical role. What you are talking about is a misapplication or a perversion of reason.

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 320
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Rationality

Post by Papus79 » November 29th, 2019, 2:24 pm

Pantagruel wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 2:10 pm
See and I'd argue from a purely theoretical standpoint that reason by definition never can become disconnected from it's fundamental practical role. What you are talking about is a misapplication or a perversion of reason.
Right, and I'd add - as I extrapolated over the rest of my post, that this is that perversion in it's most common low-hanging fruit form but that even as one gives up on the lever-pulling payouts of such perversions and even embraces the extinction of their own personal germ line for that knowledge they still run into similar barriers such as what kinds of beliefs one can still hold and survive in a culture or, if they move out the woods of Alaska to do their thinking away from people, there are still potential truths that could make the internal trade-offs to go on living as a human being untenable.

I won't say it's impossible necessarily, John Gray for example seems to be able to get up in the morning despite his painstakingly meticulous pessimism and I love what he's been able to write based on that commitment and I'm sure there are writers and philosophers who go even deeper in the same
sort of weeds than he does (recommendations welcome), and I do see some signals that people like Bruno Latour are trying to think well beyond the western human frame in terms of what our future as a species might necessitate, it's just that I do see where this gets increasingly difficult as we reach out to truths that might per say offer both no Darwinian payout and even potentially no technological payout and especially for the later it's quite difficult to send funding for research in those directions.

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 3062
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Rationality

Post by Felix » November 29th, 2019, 5:46 pm

Papus79: once any form of reason lifts too far out of the 'common sense' or 'tailored reasoning that's good for our thriving' it starts causing us to lose at the survival and procreation game which exists in very narrow terms.
A strong case could be made for the opposite argument: that an over-reliance on reason is causing our species to lose at the survival/procreation game, in that it has produced industrial pollution, environmental degradation and destruction, high-tech warfare, etc.
Pantagruel: See and I'd argue from a purely theoretical standpoint that reason by definition never can become disconnected from it's fundamental practical role.
Does not the current state of the world (the things I just mentioned) disprove your hypothesis? What is practical about ruining one's own habitat?
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - AnaΓ―s Nin

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 320
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Rationality

Post by Papus79 » November 29th, 2019, 6:10 pm

Felix wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 5:46 pm
Pantagruel: See and I'd argue from a purely theoretical standpoint that reason by definition never can become disconnected from it's fundamental practical role.
Does not the current state of the world (the things I just mentioned) disprove your hypothesis? What is practical about ruining one's own habitat?
It's clearly a sign that we're overshooting our capacities to care. In a lot of ways it reminds me of tragedy of the commons or any game theorhetical story where you get to climb to the top of your tribe, possibly even elevate your tribe, and so at the expense of the rest of the world and possibly even undercut the future of your grandchildren but the immediate payout is immense. Bret Weinstein seems to have a wonderfully tidy way of putting this - ie. that the selected traits, adaptations, or phenotypes that got us here at one given time could be the same traits that would destroy us if we held on to them for too long. It's a bit like all of these traits have relevant ranges where they're operant and helpful, like how capitalism was a viable welfare or really workfare system until automation shows that it isn't and/or complete degredation of the environment, undercutting of our survival, etc. shows that we were not only stripping the structure we depend on to throw it in the engine so we could keep playing our game but that at it's apex it became so predatory that the ultimate form of efficiency in that system is something like an addict/dealer relationship where the dealer controls all of those dopamine hits - whether it's a hard drug, the right smart phone app, or the latest piece of clothing or other status symbol which becomes the new minimum requirement for the opposite sex's acceptance of you as a partner whose making it in the world. In a lot of ways the ideal outcome for shareholder ROI is equivalent to a stick-up or deals you can't refuse.

Karpel Tunnel
Posts: 913
Joined: February 16th, 2018, 11:28 am

Re: Rationality

Post by Karpel Tunnel » November 29th, 2019, 7:12 pm

Pantagruel wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 12:40 pm
Do you not think rationality builds upon functional practical knowledge from the ground up? Or does the Elephant stand on the back of a Tortoise? :)
It is a particular set of tools, and most who use these tools think they are doing what you say in the first question above. But one can use these tools and not be doing that. We are very used to assuming that rationality means thinking well in a certain way. I think it is more useful to think of it as thinking in a certain way. Or problem solving in a certain way. Might be done well. Might not be.

Karpel Tunnel
Posts: 913
Joined: February 16th, 2018, 11:28 am

Re: Rationality

Post by Karpel Tunnel » November 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm

Felix wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 5:46 pm
A strong case could be made for the opposite argument: that an over-reliance on reason is causing our species to lose at the survival/procreation game, in that it has produced industrial pollution, environmental degradation and destruction, high-tech warfare, etc.
Yes, the kind of reason the left brain thinks is king.
They are going to tell you that this is not the result of reason, but greed or poor reasoning which isn't reason. But I agree with you. The type of linear, break things into parts, eliminate emotion as much as you can, deny intuition reasoning of the left brain is destroying things.

User avatar
Pantagruel
Posts: 66
Joined: July 2nd, 2019, 5:26 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Henri Bergson

Re: Rationality

Post by Pantagruel » November 29th, 2019, 10:25 pm

Papus79 wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 6:10 pm

It's clearly a sign that we're overshooting our capacities to care. In a lot of ways
I'd agree 100%. I think that knowledge has to advance across all fields equally in the long run, for progress to be made. If the global knowledge paradigm moves in any one direction too long (i.e. technical) then progress in that field will become increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, negative social pressure will most likely be applied in the dimension of the neglected social fields (similar to Durkheim's idea of anomie).

Knowledge advances most quickly when there are lots of polymaths available to inter-validate many different fields simultaneously. Too rapid progress invariably leads to siloing and segregation, then alienation. We currently need to evolve into a healthy and united society in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead of us. And that will take certain specialized types of knowledge, psycho-social perhaps. That doesn't make this particular field superior to any other. It is just that certain types of knowledge are wanted for certain situations.

User avatar
Vespasian Stark
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: November 29th, 2019, 10:21 pm

Re: Rationality

Post by Vespasian Stark » November 29th, 2019, 11:40 pm

Pantagruel wrote: ↑
November 26th, 2019, 11:09 am
Rational is following the rules of reason. So does this mean the rules of reason that predominate in one's current place and time? When the well-known Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller announced "I accept the universe", Carlyle is reported to have said "Gad, she better!"

Presumably 'full rationality' (your 'levels up') includes the awareness that current rational paradigms are limited, approximate, or otherwise subject to enhancement or improvement.
First perusal of the content of this new forum and who should I come across first but you sir! Glad to see I'll be in good company here.

Rounding to the OP, I would say the next step up from rationality is balanced use of the rational logical faculties and the memory based intuitive and emotional faculties. However emotion must be framed and contextualized by logic while the logic must be motivated by emotion.

To me; this means the only thing above rationalizing is moralising and applying a pragmatic literalist interpretation of value based upon physical observations and most importantly consensus of physical observations while still accounting for relativity.

User avatar
Pattern-chaser
Posts: 164
Joined: September 22nd, 2019, 5:17 am
Favorite Philosopher: Cratylus
Location: England

Re: Rationality

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 30th, 2019, 7:17 am

A brief, off-topic interruption (sorry! πŸ˜‰):
Papus79 wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 2:24 pm
...I do see some signals that people like Bruno Latour are trying to think well beyond the western human frame in terms of what our future as a species might necessitate...
He sounds interesting. Is there a sort of primer on him, or must I scan through all of it to see what he's up to?
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"

User avatar
Pattern-chaser
Posts: 164
Joined: September 22nd, 2019, 5:17 am
Favorite Philosopher: Cratylus
Location: England

Re: Rationality

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 30th, 2019, 7:32 am

Here's an interesting contrast to 'rational' behaviour: article about gratitude. This isn't an alternative to rationality, it's a complementary approach. As so many things are, I think?
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 320
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Rationality

Post by Papus79 » November 30th, 2019, 10:24 am

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
November 30th, 2019, 7:17 am
A brief, off-topic interruption (sorry! πŸ˜‰):
Papus79 wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 2:24 pm
...I do see some signals that people like Bruno Latour are trying to think well beyond the western human frame in terms of what our future as a species might necessitate...
He sounds interesting. Is there a sort of primer on him, or must I scan through all of it to see what he's up to?
TBH I'm mostly picking at his material on Youtube for the moment, I've been hearing about him on and off from various places including a few people I chat with somewhere else for a while (they also bring up Donna Haraway) and a lot of the contexts that I heard him being brought up in, especially as adjacent to James Lovelock, caught my interest.

User avatar
Pattern-chaser
Posts: 164
Joined: September 22nd, 2019, 5:17 am
Favorite Philosopher: Cratylus
Location: England

Re: Rationality

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 30th, 2019, 10:49 am

Sculptor1 wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 12:47 pm
...I would not want to deny the possibility that the microsecond decisions made with what we like to call "instinct" are not based on a process of reason (albeit very fast), just not conscious.
Anything that allows us to react faster than we ourselves can think must be pre-programmed (or some logical equivalent). I honestly can't see how any form of considered thought is possible in these timescales. It takes too long. We'd be dead, as several other commentators have observed. So it's fight or flight, or some similar pre-programmed response.

Sculptor1 wrote: ↑
November 29th, 2019, 12:47 pm
When I think how well I drive; never thinking consciously about my gear changes as I take the racing line over the roundabout, whilst still being aware of what is in the mirrors (behind left and right), and singing along to Led Zep, and scratching my nose - the human brain is far more than consciousness, and I can't see how all this can happen with no reasoning.
This, as you know well, is driven by unconscious thought; thought (processes) of which we are unconscious or unaware. So it is quite impossible for us to be aware - or even to become aware? - of our unconscious thoughts themselves, or their nature. In scientific terms, we are stopped by our absolute inability to make empirical observations. So can mere speculation profit us here, I wonder? πŸ€”
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"

Post Reply