----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2011 8:14 AM
Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Eureka! I've finally done it!
> Here are a few of the
> The word 'rationality' refers to 'the psychical
> ampliative inference' ("reasoning" in the loose
> Our use of the terms 'rational' and 'irrational'
> evaluations of the extent to which one's 'psychical
> of ampliative inference' serves to maximize one's mental
occularity (one's objectivity, in a less metphorical
> way of saying it)
and in which no concrete individual,
> belief, theory, value, objective,
etc. is likely to be
> rational in any but a relative sense of the term
> of incompleteness).
> The trap into
which many philosophers and those who have
assembled models and theories of
all kinds is the loading
up of a word with multiple layers of meaning that
very use of that word imply the theory or model given.
I have only proposed two definitions or explanations,
admittedly, with no
justification or explanation.
1. the word 'rationality' REFERS to 'the
of ampliative inference' and...
2. 'rational' and
'irrational' express EVALUATIONS of this
psychical product but in which no
are likely to be rational in any but a relative sense
In defense of 1., while I doubt the average person
use this specific terminology (it's designed to solve about
a half a
dozen different problems philosophers have encountered
in the past), I
suspect that most would agree that I haven't
strayed too far from ordinary
usage in that..
I'm assuming most would agree the word refers to an
(non-physical?) something or other that has indeed been
over the course of millennia of linguistic and cultural
in the direction of an increase in both cognitive
and valuative (impartiality) objectivity.
disagree, in which case, your own suggestion as
to a better def would be a
very good place to start.
In defense of 2., again I don't believe I have
strayed too far
from the fold. For example, are you actually prepared
defend the contrary thesis that when we refer to X as 'rational'
'irrational' that we really mean that X is perfectly rational
irrational? And again, your own alternative def
would be a very good
place to start.
A test of the presence of such a trap is to ask if
theory or model can be expressed without the key word eg
and still make sense. If it can't then the
word has been loaded up with
Given the two thousand year history of failed
attempts to nail
this sucker, any theorist with an appreciation of
difficulty of this undertaking would be well advised to start
def that is as abstract and vague as possible while
still capturing the
essence of the word in an appropriate
idiom. And so, at this most
I have assumed that 'being rational' is simply a matter
'being able to "see" what is going on', but that this is
relative state of affairs, that no one ever "sees"
all there is to
Of course, the problem with this def is that it's also
close to vacuous. So, one step down in the direction
concreteness would be 'being rational' is simply a matter
objective' and again, with the stipulation that
this is always a relative
state of affairs, that one is
never truly objective. I should
also mention that, at
this level of concreteness, objectivity is probably
to be IRREPLACEABLE as a concrete (non-metaphorical) synonym,
that it is the only one I'm aware of that encompasses
both beliefs and values
and, as such, is just about the
only concrete concept that enables one to
fact/value divide. (I'm assuming that
inference produces, not only beliefs, but VALUES
prudence, which I assume is a cultural artifact) and
ineffable essence that has been evolving in
the direction of an increase in
> A common example is the use
of the word 'consciousness'.
Sometimes the word gets so loaded that
theorists refuse to
reveal their working definition because the definition
so clearly implied by their model ie to understand
back from their model to the word.
I agree. I've attended
a few of these consciousness
conferences and, really, most of them seem to be
on Star Trek conventions. :)
> Using a particular
subjective-objective dichotomy for
'rational' may well be such an
example. Think about your
theory without that word. If the very
idea is unthinkable
or great long sentences would be required in place of
word then you have already fallen into the trap.
Not that I agree
with your premise, but just to give it
a try, let's look at one of the items
in my list (STEP
TWO):, it's compatible with our common sense
of jury selection.
The reason we didn't allow O. J.s
relative to sit on the
jury is because...
a. They would have been less
objective than non-related jurors.
b. Their vision of what was actually going
on would have been
clouded by their interest in trying to get a relative
c. They would have been less rational than non-related
Note, that in most current theories of rationality, the
we didn't allow O. J.s relative to sit on the jury is because
would have been TOO RATIONAL, i.e., to efficient or effective
their desired end of getting a relative off the
reason for screening jury members is the general assumption (informed by
experience) that those with a preconception or bias regarding the defendant's
guilt or innocence will be influenced by that bias during their deliberations
after hearing the evidence.
Thus Jury members are screened with regard to their
knowledge of the defendant, the experience with the alleged crime committed
eg a rape victim may have difficulty being objective at a rape trial, possible
general prejudices eg a KKK member would probably not be suitable if the
defendant or victim was coloured, and so on.
No need to evoke the word 'rational' at
I note that in your attempt to express a view without
the word 'rational' you included it anyway (point 'c') thus failing my test of
the sin of word loading.
BTW You make the assumption that all of OJ's relatives
would try to get him off the hook ~ even his father-in-law and
mother-in-law?? I think they would be more than happy to see his arse fry
on the chair...