© 1987

Rationality: The Critical View

  • Joseph Agassi
  • Ian Charles Jarvie

Part of the Nijhoff International Philosophy Series book series (NIPS, volume 23)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XI
  2. Rationality in General

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-3
    2. Mario Bunge
      Pages 5-15
    3. Abraham Meidan
      Pages 17-20
    4. William Berkson
      Pages 21-43
    5. J. O. Wisdom
      Pages 45-50
    6. J. O. Wisdom
      Pages 51-68
    7. Hans Albert
      Pages 69-82
    8. Ernest Gellner
      Pages 105-118
    9. J. W. N. Watkins
      Pages 151-167
    10. David Pole
      Pages 169-179
    11. T. W. Settle
      Pages 181-200
    12. I. C. Jarvie
      Pages 201-216
    13. Edward Davenport
      Pages 217-226
    14. I. C. Jarvie
      Pages 227-243
  3. Rationality and Criticism

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 245-247
    2. Joseph Agassi
      Pages 249-263
    3. John Kekes
      Pages 265-279

About this book


In our papers on the rationality of magic, we distinghuished, for purposes of analysis, three levels of rationality. First and lowest (rationalitYl) the goal­ directed action of an agent with given aims and circumstances, where among his circumstances we included his knowledge and opinions. On this level the magician's treatment of illness by incantation is as rational as any traditional doctor's blood-letting or any modern one's use of anti-biotics. At the second level (rationalitY2) we add the element of rational thinking or thinking which obeys some set of explicit rules, a level which is not found in magic in general, though it is sometimes given to specific details of magical thinking within the magical thought-system. It was the late Sir Edward E. Evans-Pritchard who observed that when considering magic in detail the magician may be as consistent or critical as anyone else; but when considering magic in general, or any system of thought in general, the magician could not be critical or even comprehend the criticism. Evans-Pritchard went even further: he was sceptical as to whether it could be done in a truly consistent manner: one cannot be critical of one's own system, he thought. On this level (rationalitY2) of discussion we have explained (earlier) why we prefer to wed Evans­ Pritchard's view of the magician's capacity for piece-meal rationality to Sir James Frazer's view that magic in general is pseudo-rational because it lacks standards of rational thinking.


15th century English literature cognition concept individual knowledge literature objectivity politics rationalism reason relativism skepticism tradition truth

Editors and affiliations

  • Joseph Agassi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ian Charles Jarvie
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.York UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.London School of EconomicsUK
  4. 4.York UniversityCanada

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Rationality: The Critical View
  • Editors J. Agassi
    I.C. Jarvie
  • Series Title Nijhoff International Philosophy Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1987
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-247-3275-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-247-3455-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-3491-7
  • Series ISSN 0924-4530
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 480
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Science
    Philosophy of Technology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site