Authors
Andrea Polonioli
University of Edinburgh (PhD)
Abstract
The idea that humans are prone to widespread and systematic biases has dominated the psychological study of thinking and decision-making. The conclusion that has often been drawn is that people are irrational. In recent decades, however, a number of psychologists have started to call into question key claims and findings in research on human biases. In particular, a body of research has come together under the heading of adaptive rationality. AR theorists argue that people should not be assessed against formal principles of rationality but rather against the goals they entertain. Moreover, AR theorists maintain that the conclusion that people are irrational is unsupported: people are often remarkably successful once assessed against their goals and given the cognitive and external constraints imposed by the environment. The growth of literature around AR is what motivates the present investigation, and assessing the plausibility of the AR challenge to research on human biases is the goal of this thesis. My enquiry analyses several aspects of this suggested turn in the empirical study of rationality and provides one of the first philosophically-informed appraisals of the prospects of AR. First and foremost, my thesis seeks to provide a qualified defence of the AR project. On the one hand, I agree with AR theorists that there is room for a conceptual revolution in the study of thinking and decision-making: while it is commonly argued that behaviour and cognition should be assessed against formal principles of rationality, I stress the importance of assessing behaviour against the goals that people entertain. However, I also contend that AR theorists have hitherto failed to provide compelling evidence in support of their most ambitious and optimistic theses about people’s rationality. In particular, I present a great deal of evidence suggesting that people are often unsuccessful at achieving prudential and epistemic goals and I argue that AR theorists have not made clear how, in light of this evidence, optimistic claims about human rationality could be defended.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
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: 70,039
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Adaptive Rationality, Biases, and the Heterogeneity Hypothesis.Andrea Polonioli - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):787-803.
Adaptively Rational Learning.Sarah Wellen & David Danks - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (1-2):87-102.
Rationality and Psychology.Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich - 2004 - In Piers Rawling & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 279-300.
Blame It on the Norm: The Challenge From “Adaptive Rationality”.Andrea Polonioli - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (2):131-150.
Visions of Rationality.Valerie M. Chase, Ralph Hertwig & Gerd Gigerenzer - 1998 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 2 (6):206-214.
Does Optimization Imply Rationality?Philippe Mongin - 2000 - Synthese 124 (1-2):73 - 111.
Two Minds Rationality.Jonathan St B. T. Evans - 2014 - Thinking and Reasoning 20 (2):129-146.
Environments That Make Us Smart Ecological Rationality.Peter M. Todd & Gerd Gigerenzer - 2007 - Current Directions in Psychological Science 16 (3):167-171.
Does Optimization Imply Rationality?Philippe Mongin - 2000 - Synthese 124 (1):73-111.
Is Economic Rationality in the Head?Kevin Vallier - 2015 - Minds and Machines 25 (4):339-360.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-02-08

Total views
11 ( #852,053 of 2,506,012 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,828 of 2,506,012 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes