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Does Rationality Exist?

How does the rational come from the irrational; does rationality exist? Is this a reasonable post or am I just over thinking it?

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What do you mean by "exist"?

If you mean some kind of Platonic existence, then no.
If you mean whether rationality has predictive power, then yes.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

I think to help your mind process these concept

you need to define your terms (in your own head). For example, when you say "how does the rational come from the irrational?" I have no idea what your talking about. I dont see any reason one "comes from" the other. Irrational isnt giving birth to rational. These are just words. Rational as others has defined it is esseintially "weighing the pros and cons" (im sure there is more to it but lets be simply for brevity sake). So to talk about one giving birth to the other is meaningless. You either weaigh the pros and cons in a systamatic way or you dont. No birth giving process going on.

Does rational even exists. Of course it does. I made a decicion this morning that took some thinking and planning and weighing.

I think you are getting stuck by thinking of these terms in Greek Philosophical terms where the word is only a "shadow" of the true meaning and "Rational" is some universal priciple that pervades all reality... ect... that kind of thinking in my opinion is generally silly and only applicable to certain concepts. Now were not talking about logic right? thats a completly different thing although confused a lot.

from A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Nash: "What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career - the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found."

-John Nash


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and no.

SteveMT's picture

Those who were irrational are no longer with us.

What can be learned by a species, and also what is teachable are the keys to survival. Those who thought that they could fly and jumped off of a cliff are gone. Those who saw a pile of dead brethren below put 2+2 together, and they did not also jump. Animals learned to hunt, but they also learned how to teach their young how to hunt. This additional skill provided a selective advantage for their species, so that the kids wouldn't have to relearn hunting from scratch with each new generation.

Out of chaos, comes order - Nietzsche


On materialistic determinism (the dominant view of modern metaphysical naturalism), everything living is selected for by preservation of valuable material traits in the DNA. Our brains and cognitive processes can;t be assumed to be rational on such a view, i.e., based on objective facts or rules that have "real meaning." Whatever provides survival utility to the species bearing the brain or mental process is selected for, and so the idea of a 100% objectively rational mind would become meaningless.

That's why metaphysical naturalism is a self defeating position, because it has to assume the irrationality of those mental processes that produced its conclusions.

The belief in rationality is a vestige of the longest period of philosophy during which a divine mind was assumed, as provided the basis for an objective rationality. Thoughtful philosophers like Nietzsche were able to bite the bullet and realize that on their naturalism, they could not actually trust their cognitive faculties to be accurate in any objective sense.

Reason is what we do. Logic is how we verify.

Reason is just comparison and action. The faculty of Reason is the common sense where you can consider memories of (expected) outcomes or propositions, measure a quality of interest and make a judgement. If you want truth you use logic and argument. Reason is measurement, ratio, order. Ontology is a philosophical game about the relation between reasoning, propositions and reality. The logic of syllogisms is meant answer to that question. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason#Logical_reasoning_method...

I read your comment

But did not see any objection.

rationality is the ability to evaluate memories or propositions

I have chosen to go with the weakest (and the original Greek) definition of reason-- the ability to perform a comparative analysis; to weigh and evaluate perceived options or remembered consequences, especially as propositions (making it unique to humans).
To have rational actions you have to not only be able to consider and make a judgement but you must be able to act on your reasoning.

Ayn Rand claims that since Kant there has been equivocation between reason and logic. Von Mises claimed people are never irrational but I think what Mises failed to appreciate is that being rational is not enough for economic activity; people must be purposeful to engage in economic activity and some people cannot be purposeful.

We would say

if one does not conform a belief to facts or reason they are acting irrational. In my opinion "acting irrational" is a key phrase. Rationality in that context is a state of human action. Rationality as a concept does not exist independent of action. Rationality is a variable of human action. The rationality variable is boolean in nature whereas true, mathematically denoted by a one, is rational and false, mathematically denoted by a zero, is irrational.

If the question does rationality exist mean in and of itself independent of (note: human intentionally omitted) action I am inclined to opine, no.

Non contradictory identification

through the process of reason and logic? Yes.

The irrational can exercise this process, but it takes a level of honesty that they usually evade.

The creation, production and fair exchange of values is the business of evolving consciousness, love and life.--Craig Johnson