• benedict
    5
    So I've noticed that rationality , so far, hasn't been defined in a ,,concrete'' and understandable way. So I've thought what if we define it by the following:

    THE ABBILITY OF A SPECIE TO MODIFY THE ENTROPY OF THE UNIVERSE WITHOUT THE SAKE OF IT'S OWN SURVIVAL.

    For instance the bees or the lions have only needs (that change the entropy ot the universe) that will grant their survival (eating, drinking, sleeping), and thus they don't possess the previous said abbility. Where humans can play music or making a lots of copies of some object (phones,clothes), playing videogames, doing physics, science, and other consciousness activities. Basically modifying the entropy of the universe not with the purpose of its survival. Making same copies of clothes or phones, playing videogames doesn't raise the chances of survival, but changes the entropy.

    How do you think, is this a good definition, is it not? Why so?
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    Counterexample: a dumbass creature or species that modifies its environment in a way inimical to its survival and without the aim of promoting its own survival (on any specification or operationalization of 'aim'). It seems to lack rationality as ordinarily understood and yet satisfies your definition.

    Counterexample: a creature that makes choices that make sense, are appropriate, or required, or in accordance with, some acknowledged goal, where that goal is the creature's own survival. It seems to have rationality as ordinarily understood and yet fails to satisfy your definition.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    THE ABBILITY OF A SPECIE TO MODIFY THE ENTROPY OF THE UNIVERSE WITHOUT THE SAKE OF IT'S OWN SURVIVAL.benedict

    That definition doesn't even mention anything at all about mental phenomena. So no, I wouldn't say it's appropriate.
  • benedict
    5
    All what I try is to define rationality, not to define some of humans activities in accordance with its definition from wikipedia. Stil, it helds
  • benedict
    5
    It doesn't mention because nobody knows what rational thoughts are, I've tried to give a definition to rationality and I'd say it makes sense, even without mentioning the mental phenomena
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    ↪Welkin Rogue All what I try is to define rationality, not to define some of humans activities in accordance with its definition from wikipedia. Stil, it heldsbenedict

    No, it doesn't. I pointed out two general sorts of counterexample.
  • benedict
    5

    Does any other animal (not human) have the will to act as not for the survival of its own specie?
    I'm not talking here about all the humans activities, but some. If you could give me an example from the world of animals :#
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    It doesn't mention because nobody knows what rational thoughts are,benedict

    Rattionality seems pretty simple to me. It's basically just a term for thinking both logically and in terms of things that one has a solid basis to believe.
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    Does any other animal (not human) have the will to act as not for the survival of its own specie?benedict

    Lots of behaviours of animals aren't obviously connected to their individual survival or the survival of their species. Consider Elephants and other creatures eating fermented fruit, apparently in order to get drunk. It's not clear that this is connected with survival. You could come up with some story, but I'm not sure how plausible it would be.
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    It's generally also thought that a definition or conceptual analysis needs to make the right predictions for imagined as well as actual cases. So even if actual nonhuman animals always act for the sake of the survival of their species - which I doubt - the fact that possible nonhuman animals could so act, and yet not do so in a way that seems rational, is still a counterexample.
  • benedict
    5
    You really got me on that one, but only in the case if the animal posses the said quality.
    I could twist the story about the elephants, and say that they get drunk in order to get happier, and thus releasing dophamine, serotonine, that will keep his mental state clear and thus= survival. It's sure that humans posses a lot of examples like so, but let's consider that one. If you type the word ,,analysis'' 50000 time in your workbook, you will get to a point where you will get from a very small amount to almost none of these hormons, probably even getting cortisol that will ruin your mental state of life. Even if that action doesn't have logic, you could do it without getting pleasure, so that is a very good example. Does any animal posses it too? I'm searchin currently for a counterexample.
  • Pattern-chaser
    530
    Rattionality seems pretty simple to me. It's basically just a term for thinking both logically and in terms of things that one has a solid basis to believe.Terrapin Station

    I think this may revolve around what you consider to be "a solid basis" for beliefs. Would you care to define what such a "solid base" might be? :chin: [ My problem is that I can't see (what I would call) a solid base for almost any belief.... ]
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    Would you care to define what such a "solid base" might be?Pattern-chaser

    Good reasons grounded in empirical evidence, for example.
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    I could twist the story about the elephants, and say that they get drunk in order to get happier, and thus releasing dophamine, serotonine, that will keep his mental state clear and thus= survival. It's sure that humans posses a lot of examples like so, but let's consider that one. If you type the word ,,analysis'' 50000 time in your workbook, you will get to a point where you will get from a very small amount to almost none of these hormons, probably even getting cortisol that will ruin your mental state of life. Even if that action doesn't have logic, you could do it without getting pleasure, so that is a very good example. Does any animal posses it too? I'm searchin currently for a counterexample.benedict

    Intoxication indirectly promotes mental clarity? That's debatable.

    One problem is that it is unclear what you mean by 'acting for the sake of one's survival'. I don't think you mean 'acting with a conscious intention to promote one's survival'. That is deeply implausible. Nor do I think you mean 'acting in a way that does in fact promote one's survival'. Clearly, animals are not perfectly optimised, otherwise natural selection couldn't operate since it is predicated on differential fitness.

    Perhaps you mean 'acting out of motives which are somehow essentially tied to survival value, whether or not those actions do in fact promote survival'. But it is hard to falsify claims of the form 'action A was motivated by motive M which is tied to survival value for such-and-such reasons'. It's too easy to come up with a just-so story as you have done, and hide behind vagueness implicit in the 'tied to' relation. How could I disprove you claim? Perhaps all actions (performed by the sorts of organisms we are familiar with) can be traced back in some way to mechanisms and motives which have survival value in some contexts. To describe such actions as survival-promoting would appear to be rather empty, or at least not saying very much. We could of course imagine intelligent systems which are stipulated not to act for any such motives. But the key part there would be the stipulation part. Without it, we could, in observing its (imagined) behaviour, entertain all sorts of speculations regarding its hidden motives.

    Your example of the person writing out the word 'analysis' 50000 times is underspecified. Why are they doing that? Perhaps they are creating art, exercising their penmanship, performing some theraputic or meditative ritual, proving to themselves they can do something so gruelingly boring, carrying out an unusual sentence for some wrong they have committed, and so on. All of these performances could be associated with some survival-promoting motive.
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    Rattionality seems pretty simple to me. It's basically just a term for thinking both logically and in terms of things that one has a solid basis to believe.Terrapin Station

    Seems like a nearly-circular definition. In effect, you seem to be saying: The rational thing to do is the logical thing to do. The rational thing to believe is the thing that has a solid basis.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k


    A definition is going to present synonymous words and phrases. There is circularity to that. A feline is a cat, a cat is a feline. If someone doesn't know some of the synonymous words/phrases, definitions aren't going to help them, but we can't do anything other than that in a definition and still have it be a definition.
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    A definition is going to present synonymous words and phrases. There is circularity to that. A feline is a cat, a cat is a feline. If someone doesn't know some of the synonymous words/phrases, definitions aren't going to help them, but we can't do anything other than that in a definition and still have it be a definition.Terrapin Station

    If a word can only be defined with synonyms (or a tight circle of cognate words), then it is a so-called 'primitive' word. Not all words are primitive words. I think there are many words for which we can offer useful, illuminating definitions. For example, baldness is the state of lacking hairs on one's head. A pond is a small body of water in the ground unconnected to a river or ocean.

    Rationality is indeed tricky though. I would suggest the following. Instrumental rationality is the state of taking the most effective means to one's ends. Epistemic rationality is the state of having apportioned one's beliefs to the evidence and reasons; to form beliefs on the basis of principles likely to track how things are, and not on the basis of principles or mechanisms (cognitive biases etc.) which do not.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    For example, baldness is the state of lacking hairs on one's head.Welkin Rogue

    So starting with that example, "baldness" and "lacking hairs on one's head" are not synonyms in your view?
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    So starting with that example, "baldness" and "lacking hairs on one's head" are not synonyms in your view?Terrapin Station

    No individual word or phrase in the definition is synonymous with 'bald', no.

    But I see your point now. Of course, if a definition or analysis is good, then the whole definition will be (at least somewhat) synonymous with the word defined.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k


    Exactly--otherwise it's not an adequate definition. Hence why my definition of rationality would be synonymous --and circular --with rationality.
  • Welkin Rogue
    23
    Exactly--otherwise it's not an adequate definition. Hence why my definition of rationality would be synonymous --and circular --with rationality.Terrapin Station

    I guess it's a matter of degree. I just thought you could say something more illuminating than is 'logical' or 'is believed on a solid basis', which seems almost synonymous at the level of individual words.
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