Irrationality

I’ve not read nearly at a pace as I’ve done in prior years, and I’ve got a million excuses. I did recently start and stop Quine’s Pursuit of Truth, but I’ve just picked up Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason.

EDIT: I’ve since finished this book and posted a review on Goodreads.

As a former behavioural economist, it’s good to see the expansion of the position that the Enlightenment brought the Western world an Age of Reason, but it failed to see how little capacity most humans have for reason even regarding mundane affairs.

Have you ever stopped to consider that literally half of the population has less than average intelligence?

Some guy

Fundamental attribution bias is clearly at play, as the authors of these Enlightenment works were high-intellect individuals. I respect greatly the likes of Locke, Hume, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and their near contemporaries, but the world they envisaged was based on an invalid premise.

In the realm of governance, one might try to argue that Plato was trying to address this in his admonishment of democracy in favour of The Republic, but he, too, was incorrect, essentially not seeing principle-agent problems as well as predicating a system on the notion of virtue—naive, to say the least.

I’ve been tremendously busy in my day job, so I haven’t been able to contribute here as much as I’d like, but I’ve taken time to jot down this.

3 thoughts on “Irrationality

  1. You don’t make a conclusion to this post, I mean what you think.

    I tend on the side that half the population has nothing to do with intelligence or rationality or any thing of the sort. Because I have to ask myself who or what is coming up with these ideas about the whole of humanity? You? One single person? A small group of people, a large group of people, and interworking network of people, who, by the way, our intelligent and rational?

    I just kind of keep things simple and I go there’s a small number of people who are involved in the intelligent conversation and everyone else — who knows what the fuck they’re doing? Because they definitely are not involved in what we are understanding as intelligence or rationality: They form the basis, “those people” form the basis of what I am understanding as intelligence and rationality, i.e., they are not included in the categories that I am coming up on end designating them as X.

    They are utterly excluded in themselves. If I allow that group of people to exist and have validity in the sense that I understand validity and authenticity, then I have to understand that whatever categories I’m coming up with to identify them, they are utterly excluded from them.

    The issue for me seems that’s to be how I deal with this fact. And I don’t mean fact in the sense of reducing to another category of my understanding, or some groups consensus about how we come to an understanding of truths, rather I mean it as a simple fact of my existence.

    And I mean this to indicate how one approaches the world. I don’t mean this in the sense that the only way that I am able to approach the world is through my ultimate subjectivity; I mean it in the sense that once I’ve come upon the absolute limit of my subjectivity, which is indeed the whole world, no longer do I live in reductionist closed intentions, even while I am ultimately limited in those.

    And so what occurs is I no longer live in a world that is dictated by choices that are made in that either or kind of continuum of ubiquitous truth and so what occurs is I no longer live in a world that is dictated by choices that are made in that either or kind of continuum of ubiquitous truth. I would say that I live in the world of end, and that my intention thus is conditioned by and effervescent and eternal opening unto what is possible of the actual universe included with “and“.

    but this is not to say that I likewise don’t exist within a reality in which I must make choices.

    So I’m going to comment on your reply on my other post in a little bit once I sit down and kind of read what you put👍🏾

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    1. This is, I think, the point that Plato and Nietzsche each make.

      For Plato, it is why he favoured a Republic based on merit. (The rub is that skill to navigate a person to the top of the food chain is not the same skill required to actually perform the function. Donald Trump is a topical case at point.)

      Nietzsche notes in several places, Genealogy of Morals, in particular, the masters versus herd distinctions (plus sub-distinctions). Each of these has its own incentives and goals, so it is rather descriptive over prescriptive and doesn’t provide any normative guidance.

      To me, the view you describe feels evolutionary or adaptive: if one adapts to the prevailing notion of truth of the day, one gets to live another day, a Sisyphean rinse and repeat approach.

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