Ending the Rationality Wars: How to Make Disputes About Human Rationality Disappear

Richard Samuels, Stephen Stich, Michael Bishop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This chapter argues that much of the dispute between evolutionary psychologists and those in the heuristics and biases tradition is itself an illusion. The fireworks generated by each side focusing on the rhetorical excesses of the other have distracted attention from what is, in fact, an emerging consensus about the scope and limits of human rationality and about the cognitive architecture that supports it. The central goal of this chapter is to refocus the discussion away from the rhetoric of the debate between evolutionary psychology and the heuristics and biases tradition and toward this emerging consensus on fundamental points. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 briefly outlines the two research programs and explains the core claims and the rhetorical excesses on both sides. Section 3 argues that it is implausible to maintain that either research program rejects the core claims of the other. Once this is accomplished the illusion that evolutionary psychology and the heuristics and biases tradition have a deep disagreement about how rational human beings are should disappear. This is not to say, however, that there are no genuine disagreements between these two research programs. Section 4 briefly outlines and discusses some genuine disagreements between evolutionary psychology and the heuristics and biases tradition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollected Papers, Volume 2
Subtitle of host publicationKnowledge, Rationality, and Morality, 1978-2010
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199949823
ISBN (Print)9780199733477
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Keywords

  • Biases
  • Cognitive architecture
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Heuristics
  • Human rationality

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