DescriptionWe talk about irrationality when behaviour defies explanation or prediction, when decisions are driven by emotions or instinct rather than by reflection, when reasoning fails to conform to basic principles of logic and probability, and when beliefs lack coherence or empirical support. Depending on the context, agents exhibiting irrational behaviour may be described as foolish, ignorant, unwise or even insane.
In this clear and engaging introduction to current debates on irrationality, Lisa Bortolotti presents the many facets of the concept and offers an original account of the importance of judgements of irrationality as value judgements. The book examines the standards against which we measure human behaviour, and reviews the often serious implications of judgements of irrationality for ethics and policy. Bortolotti argues that we should adopt a more critical stance towards accepted standards of rationality in the light of the often surprising outcomes of philosophical inquiry and cognitive science research into decision making.
Irrationality is an accessible guide to the concept and will be essential reading for students and scholars interested in the limitations of human cognition and human agency.
CHAPTER 1: BEHAVIOUR DEFYING INTERPRETATION
CHAPTER 2: BEHAVIOUR ATTRACTING A PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS
CHAPTER 3: UNREFLECTIVE CHOICES
CHAPTER 4: BELIEFS UNCONSTRAINED BY EVIDENCE
IRRATIONALITY: STILL A USEFUL CONCEPT?
A welcome and timely addition to the philosophical and pedagogical literature. The book’s clarity of organization, scope of detail, and insights into the nature and liability of irrationality make this not only an excellent guide, but a first-rate book-length treatment of the subject.
George Graham, Georgia State University
Employing striking every day and literary examples, Lisa Bortolotti surveys live cross-disciplinary debates about the role of rational thought in mental health, decision-making, and expertise. Philosophers and psychologists are increasingly suspicious of the old dreams of reason, casting doubt on deliberation and analysis as effective guides to life. Bortolotti effectively demonstrates the complexity of relations between reflection and intuition, and points the way towards more dynamic conceptions of intelligent thought.
John Sutton, Macquarie University