The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality

By Robert Audi | Go to book overview

8
GLOBAL RATIONALITY

Beliefs are the basic elements of theoretical rationality. Our beliefs determine our map of the world. Desires are the basic elements of practical rationality. Our desires determine our itinerary, our destinations in the world as we see it. These two sides of rationality, the cognitive and the conative, are structurally parallel. Experience contains the underlying ground on both sides; belief is their main connective tissue; inferential relations anchor their higher elements in their grounds. Normatively, the rationality of beliefs and desires depends on the multifarious experiences that anchor it. Causally, rational beliefs and desires are also grounded in those experiences.

Our rational beliefs and rational desires are major elements in our psychology. But we ourselves, as persons, may also be rational or irrational. How is the global rationality of persons related to the rationality of these elements? 1 This overall rationality of persons is important in describing us, in understanding human behavior, and in articulating normative ideals for human life as a whole. Most people want to be rational; perhaps even more want to avoid being irrational; and for many of us the notion of a rational person is a guiding ideal.

The notion of a rational person is also essential for understanding many other notions. Some are even more global, such as the concept of a rational society, others far less so, for instance the concept of a rational strategy. The notion of a rational person is not, however, basic. Persons are rational in virtue of the rationality of certain of their properties, above all their psychological properties and their actions. First, I want to present a conception of the rationality of persons that gives due weight to both their

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The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction - Experience and Reason 3
  • Part I - Theoretical Reason 11
  • 1 - Groundwork 13
  • 2 - Superstructure 32
  • Part II - Practical Reason 59
  • 3 - Action, Belief, and Desire 61
  • 4 - The Sources of Practical Reasons 81
  • 5 - Desires, Intentions, and Reasons for Action 108
  • 6 - Others as Ends 135
  • Part III - Rationality and Relativity 169
  • 7 - Relativity, Plurality, and Culture 171
  • 8 - Global Rationality 195
  • Conclusion 227
  • Notes 235
  • Index 277
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