Andrea Polonioli
University of Edinburgh (PhD)
Adaptive rationality theorists question the manner in which psychologists have typically assessed rational behavior and cognition. According to them, human rationality is adaptive, and the biases reported in the psychological literature are best seen as the result of using normative standards that are too narrow. As it turns out, their challenge is also quite controversial, and several aspects of it have been called into question. Yet, whilst it is often suggested that the lack of cogency comes about due to the implausibility of the alternative normative framework, in this paper I articulate a different strategy to resist the revolutionary rhetoric of AR. As I argue here, even if we accept the normative framework of AR, the challenge from AR is less damaging than usually accepted. In particular, I challenge the claim that biases reported in the literature should be conceived of as violations of axiomatic rationality. I argue that the category of bias refers instead to a range of heterogeneous phenomena and that, since several important families of biases are not just violations of axiomatic rationality, these are not vulnerable to the AR challenge. In fact, I also show that the families I consider here look like plausible cases of irrational behavior from the perspective of AR, and that the outcome of my analysis does not sit well with AR theorists’ claim that people are generally successful at achieving prudential and epistemic goals.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s13164-015-0281-0
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,959
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart.Gerd Gigerenzer, Peter M. Todd & A. B. C. Research Group - 1999 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press USA.

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Blame It on the Norm: The Challenge From “Adaptive Rationality”.Andrea Polonioli - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (2):131-150.
Adaptively Rational Learning.Sarah Wellen & David Danks - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (1-2):87-102.
Out of the Theoretical Cul-de-Sac.Ralph Hertwig & Annika Wallin - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (3):342-343.
The Ethics of Argumentation.Vasco Correia - 2012 - Informal Logic 32 (2):222-241.


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #380,806 of 2,504,815 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #417,030 of 2,504,815 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes