Reason is not Rational

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by midcan5, May 10, 2011.

  1. midcan5
    Offline

    midcan5 liberal / progressive

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    10,795
    Thanks Received:
    2,367
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Ratings:
    +3,310
    Long ago reading Derek Parfit's 'Reasons And Persons' I became fascinated with all the reasons we give for our actions. Parfit was interested in the various ways we rationalize our behavior and our justifications in a secular world. One item that fascinated me was the debate on self interest and actual behavior. I had had a long debate arguing 'self interest' is not the only motivating factor in our decision making. My wife told me just recently, that I am never self centered. I liked that thought. Finding this piece adds to the complexity of reasons and persons.

    "Reasoning was not designed to pursue the truth. Reasoning was designed by evolution to help us win arguments. That's why they call it The Argumentative Theory of Reasoning. So, as they put it,"The evidence reviewed here shows not only that reasoning falls quite short of reliably delivering rational beliefs and rational decisions. It may even be, in a variety of cases, detrimental to rationality. Reasoning can lead to poor outcomes, not because humans are bad at it, but because they systematically strive for arguments that justify their beliefs or their actions. This explains the confirmation bias, motivated reasoning, and reason-based choice, among other things."

    The Argumentative Theory | Conversation | Edge

    'Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory'

    "Reasoning is generally seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. However, much evidence shows that reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions. This suggests that the function of reasoning should be rethought. Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade. Reasoning so conceived is adaptive given the exceptional dependence of humans on communication and their vulnerability to misinformation." SSRN-Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  2. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,935
    Thanks Received:
    15,707
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,072

    I might have to agree.

    "Opinions are individual and subjective. But facts are facts. Trouble is, they’re usually communicated or interpreted by someone. That’s where opinion comes back in….
    And, says the Boston Globe, the facts backfire.
    Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
    What?
    ...most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.
    “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study.
    “Cognitive dissonance” is more than mumbo-jumbo. This is where we are, culturally. Academically. People are increasingly afraid to be wrong, claims First Things’ R.R. Reno."
    The life of the mind
     
  3. Quantum Windbag
    Offline

    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    58,308
    Thanks Received:
    5,014
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +5,221
    Everyone is self centered. Everyone. Yes, that includes you, and the fact that you took pleasure from your wife telling you that you are never self centered demonstrates your own self centered nature. You are free not to like that about others, and even yourself, but denying it is stupid. Being self centered is only bad if you also ignore the fact that your welfare depends on others.

    Your belief that you are not self centered is actually evidence that your own reasoning is faulty. That does it make it irrational. You seem to believe that being rational means that everyone will always come to te same conclusion given identical sets of facts. I am not sure why anyone would believe this, other than their own confirmation bias. People percive reality differently, we just impose a map on the world through language that allows us to communicate despite the fat that we do not live in the same reality.

    Reason is rational by definition. Just because tow seperate people are capable of rationally reasoning their way to different conclusions does not make one of them irrational. there are almost 7 billion people on the planet, and every single one of them reasons rationally. You may not like their conclusions, but you do not get to dismiss them as irrational.

    If you were not a completely arrogant asshole you would understand this without someone having to take the time to explain it to you.
     
  4. Quantum Windbag
    Offline

    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    58,308
    Thanks Received:
    5,014
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +5,221
    Just because people tend to be close monded does not mean they are not rational.
     
  5. midcan5
    Offline

    midcan5 liberal / progressive

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    10,795
    Thanks Received:
    2,367
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Ratings:
    +3,310
    Thanks PC, we agree on something. This is interesting too as sometimes in sports or other endeavors you get the sense you are on a roll. The Reason We Reason | Wired Science | Wired.com


    So if I were to take pleasure in a flower's beauty that means I am self centered? It is always curious to me how someone on-line who disagrees with you ideologically imposes their own limited set of behaviors and beliefs on another. It proves the point of the OP and a quotation I use often, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." You proved that again. You know more than someone I have known over forty years. You must have magical powers. Or in truth you are using your reason in an irrational way. lol

    According to you all seven billion people are reasonable - but since their beliefs are so different that simply confirms the OP again. I think you missed the point. Given the limited state of our knowledge about particular things there are many areas in which our reason is faulty. Yours is faulty as it based on the assumption that all people act from a self centered position. I disagree, and I completely disagree that people perceive reality differently, that makes no sense at all. If you believe that then you contradict your first position that all are self centered.


    "...the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people's two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience. Because we prize tolerance and diversity of belief, nowhere in our liberal arts analysis do we want to claim that one guy's interpretation is true and the other guy's is false or bad. Which is fine, except we also never end up talking about just where these individual templates and beliefs come from. Meaning, where they come from INSIDE the two guys. As if a person's most basic orientation toward the world, and the meaning of his experience were somehow just hard-wired, like height or shoe-size; or automatically absorbed from the culture, like language. As if how we construct meaning were not actually a matter of personal, intentional choice. Plus, there's the whole matter of arrogance..." David Foster Wallace
     
  6. Quantum Windbag
    Offline

    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    58,308
    Thanks Received:
    5,014
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +5,221
    Does taking pleasure in the beauty of a flower make you self centered? No, being human makes you self centered, and that is why you take pleasure in a lowers beauty. Life makes you self centered. Being self centered does not mean that you are selfish, or even that you will not help others, it just means that, ultimately, you do things because you choose to do them.

    I fail to see why you think I am imposing my limited beliefs on you, or why you even think my beliefs are limited. You are the one that looks at the world through a vision that insist that people are racists if they refuse to believe that social progress includes affirmative action and the belief that some people have limited possibilities by their skin color.

    You are entirely correct that you see things as you are. Your problem is explaining how, if I see things as I am, why I do not agree with you about the way the world works. I am of mixed race, part black, part Native American, was not born rich, did not go to church as a child, and never saw a silver spoon in my life. Yet, for some reason, I almost always side with the rich evil CEO over the oppressed masses.

    Maybe some people are more than the some of their parts. If only everyone was capable of looking outside themselves and growing past who they are born to be. Maybe some people have free will.

    Is everyone reasonable? That would depend on how you define reasonable. They all are capable of thinking for themselves, and making decisions based on their own thought processes. Are the results of those processes always reasonable? That depends on what side of the issue you are on. Were the people that insisted on ending slavery reasonable? The people that supported slavery certainly did not think so.

    Limited knowledge does not disqualify anyone from having an opinion, nor does more knowledge make a person right. If you actually understood reason you would know that, and no one would have to spell out the obvious.

    How do we not perceive the universe differently? If I say the word blue you could think of the color of the sky, when what I am actually talking about is the color of robin eggs. How do you know that the blue you are actually see is not a different color than the one I see?

    Our universe is interpreted by our brain, and no two brains are identical. That clearly puts the burden of proof on you if you want to argue we all see the world the same way.

    How does the fact that each of us actually shapes our own world according to what happens inside our head not make us self centered? You totally lost me there.


    Then you pop out a quote that you think makes you look intelligent.

    Funny thing, if I were the type to pop off random quoted to prove my point, that is exactly the type of quote I would look for.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  7. Oddball
    Offline

    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    41,428
    Thanks Received:
    8,397
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Drinking wine, eating cheese, catching rays
    Ratings:
    +8,409
    No, he pops out quotes of because he has a total lack of eloquence and needs to steal the words of others, to obfuscate the fact that he's a narrow, reactionary, bigoted, leftloon tool.
     
  8. whitehall
    Online

    whitehall Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    27,877
    Thanks Received:
    4,349
    Trophy Points:
    290
    Location:
    Western Va.
    Ratings:
    +10,857
    "Reasoning" gets you through the day without being arrested or killed by stepping in front of a bus. Reasoning keeps you from looking down the barrel of a gun while putting pressure on the trigger. You could say, therefore, that reasoning is unconscious self interest. If you add the concept of religious faith into the argument you are asking for trouble.
     
  9. midcan5
    Offline

    midcan5 liberal / progressive

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    10,795
    Thanks Received:
    2,367
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Ratings:
    +3,310


    I knew you would reply, that my friend is the point of the OP and you must see you/we are proving it true. Next question would be have you anything to add to the conversation. Let's see. Sorry if I make you feel insecure, adding quotes is just a little dressing, I love books and reading and have collected quotes since autoexec dot bat started your PC. I see you have one too, and it shows well your ideology of social Darwinism. Free means only free to you, that quote helps explain your more self centered views.

    Saying all humans are self centered because they are human is a useless tautology. People often do things that are not self centered and anyone married for a long time knows that or should. :lol:

    Your views are limited in the same way all views are limited. But you are the ideologue here, and engage in same tactics most people on the right do, you define the left so you can kick it. This tactic started long ago (maybe always was), but in America it grew after FDR and later LBJ. You show in your writing that you are a product of this change in values. If you think skin color does not affect possibility, you must be very young and unread or so enmeshed in your ideology you refuse to see the real. Does anyone need to prove that? Really?

    Your personal story is interesting. It could be that there is a conservative component to our personalities and you can only see things through that filter. I hate to say or admit nature is more powerful than nurture, being liberal I have hopes of change for the better for all and not just C?Os. The concept and use of free will is interesting and debatable but beyond our scope here.

    Again though you miss the point and fill in your reality. If I really understood reason it would be 'your' reason - is that what you mean, why not just say that? I may even think of Penn State when you say blue, doesn't change blue, it actually confirms we both know blue. If I say red light I think you get the picture.

    Brains are so identical that if I raise my hand your brain duplicates that hand raising. Brain injuries or defects aside. Check that out if you doubt me. Experience and learning are different, and values and empathy differ, but if we look out the world is the same, what we do with that depends a lot on all all that went before and how much we care or wonder. I agree with your comment, " Maybe some people are more than the [sum] of their parts. If only everyone was capable of looking outside themselves and growing past who they are born to be."

    We don't shape things according to what goes on inside our heads, we shape the information coming into our heads. Our lives and lots of other stuff preceded this interpretation. Allow me another telling quote, in the mid fifties, "generosity was voted the most conspicuous American characteristic, followed by friendliness, understanding, piety, love of freedom, and progressivism. The American faults listed were petty: shallowness, egotism, extravagance, preoccupation with money, and selfishness." William Manchester in "The Glory and the Dream" quoting George Gallup's Institute of public opinion. Now tell me what changed? Or can you fit that somewhere and say it didn't change?

    Yes, the Wallace quote covers the topic well, the part that interests me is the background and the change in American values from a time when youth was about the whole country, and not the narrow minded self centered children of today. The world in so many ways is the same today and sadly full of the same senseless suffering. Maybe it is tragedy that is the human being's state of being. Nah. ;)

    Oddball proves again he cannot think past a cute but useless reply. I'll ask again, show us something you have written that is original and interesting. Since your main quality is negativity or the choir cheering of others, you grow boring quickly. You must be a wingnut when the best you can do is name call. Can I add that to my quotes? LOL


    I think we mostly go through our day in a way we find normal and habitual. It's nice to think we are reasoning, but having been on this earth a long time and have studied and observed humans I/we have to say reasoning - if we define it as thinking of best choices - is far from the norm. if you doubt that visit a casino sometime or a bar or even a church. Rehab centers work well too.
     
  10. Oddball
    Offline

    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    41,428
    Thanks Received:
    8,397
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Drinking wine, eating cheese, catching rays
    Ratings:
    +8,409
    BWAAAHAHAHAHA!!.....See what I mean?


    Thanks for living down to my expectations, you self-absorbed, supercilious blowhard. :lmao:
     

Share This Page