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Collected Papers, Volume 2Knowledge, Rationality, and Morality, 1978-2010$
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Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.001.0001

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Ending the Rationality Wars

Ending the Rationality Wars

How to Make Disputes About Human Rationality Disappear

Chapter:
(p.191) 9 Ending the Rationality Wars
Source:
Collected Papers, Volume 2
Author(s):

Richard Samuels

Stephen Stich

Michael Bishop

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.003.0009

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.

Keywords:   evolutionary psychology, heuristics, biases, human rationality, cognitive architecture

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