Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Keynote

Keywords

critical thinking, rationality, heuristics, biases, rational choice theory, evaluative rationality, epistemic rationality, instrumental rationality, cognitive psychology, behavioral economics

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

Enhancing people’s reasoning abilities or rationality is a long and central tradition in philosophy and is the dominant concern of the critical movement. The research by cognitive psychologists has contributed considerably to our understanding of human irrationality and can enhance critical thinking instruction. The critical thinking/informal logic movement has not devoted sufficient attention to the decision making aspect of rationality. Unfortunately the norms used in the heuristics and bias literature to identify biases in decision making derive from the theory of rational choice used in neo-classical economic theory. These norms identify rational decision making with the efficient pursuit of individual satisfaction. This model is an inadequate account of decision making rationality. Such norms narrow and distort the concept of rationality, legitimate the single minded pursuit of self interest and their influence is a significant contributor to the economic and environmental problems of our day. The identification of deviations from the norms of rational choice theory should not generally be accepted as biases. In addition, key elements of rational decision making are simply ignored by the rational choice model.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Enhancing Rationality: Heuristics, Biases, and The Critical Thinking Project

University of Windsor

Enhancing people’s reasoning abilities or rationality is a long and central tradition in philosophy and is the dominant concern of the critical movement. The research by cognitive psychologists has contributed considerably to our understanding of human irrationality and can enhance critical thinking instruction. The critical thinking/informal logic movement has not devoted sufficient attention to the decision making aspect of rationality. Unfortunately the norms used in the heuristics and bias literature to identify biases in decision making derive from the theory of rational choice used in neo-classical economic theory. These norms identify rational decision making with the efficient pursuit of individual satisfaction. This model is an inadequate account of decision making rationality. Such norms narrow and distort the concept of rationality, legitimate the single minded pursuit of self interest and their influence is a significant contributor to the economic and environmental problems of our day. The identification of deviations from the norms of rational choice theory should not generally be accepted as biases. In addition, key elements of rational decision making are simply ignored by the rational choice model.