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The nature of rationality

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Repeatedly and successfully, the celebrated Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick has reached out to a broad audience beyond the confines of his discipline, addressing ethical and social problems that matter to every thoughtful person. Here Nozick continues his search for the connections between philosophy and "ordinary" experience. In the lively and accessible style that his readers have come to expect, he offers a bold theory of rationality, the one characteristic deemed to fix humanity's "specialness." What are principles for? asks Nozick. We could act simply on whim, or maximize our self-interest and recommend that others do the same. As Nozick explores rationality of decision and rationality of belief, he shows how principles actually function in our day-to-day thinking and in our efforts to live peacefully and productively with each other.

Throughout, the book combines daring speculations with detailed investigations to portray the nature and status of rationality and the essential role that imagination plays in this singular human aptitude.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [183]-217) and indexes.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
IHow to Do Things with Principles3
Intellectual Functions3
Interpersonal Functions9
Personal Functions12
Overcoming Temptation14
Sunk Costs21
Symbolic Utility26
Teleological Devices35
IIDecision-Value41
Newcomb's Problem41
Prisoner's Dilemma50
Finer Distinctions: Consequences and Goals59
IIIRational Belief64
Cognitive Goals67
Responsiveness to Reasons71
Rules of Rationality75
Belief93
Bias100
IVEvolutionary Reasons107
Reasons and Facts107
Fitness and Function114
Rationality's Function119
VInstrumental Rationality and Its Limits133
Is Instrumental Rationality Enough?133
Rational Preferences139
Testability, Interpretation, and Conditionalization151
Philosophical Heuristics163
Rationality's Imagination172
Notes183
Subject Index219
Index of Names224

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691074245
Author:
Nozick, Robert
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J. :
Subject:
Modern
Subject:
Reasoning
Subject:
Humanism
Subject:
Reason
Subject:
Rationalism
Subject:
History & Surveys - Modern
Subject:
Movements - Humanism
Subject:
Epistemology
Subject:
History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science
Subject:
Philosophy
Copyright:
Series Volume:
9468
Publication Date:
19930704
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
232
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in 20 oz

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