Prolegomena to a Theory of Rational Motives
What do we want from a theory of rational decision making? At the very least we want some guidelines on how, rationally, we ought to make our decisions and a justification of the claim that decisions insofar as they are made in accordance with those guidelines are rational. This presupposes some account of rationality or, alternatively, offers the theory as a partial account of rationality. It is this larger problem, the giving of a justified account of rationality, which is at any rate the central problem. A particular theory of rational decision is of interest only to the extent that it either contributes to or is justified in terms of such a general account of rationality. Thus my interest here in the theory of decision is in terms of the contribution that such a theory might make towards a general, robust theory of rationality. Such a general theory will at the very least include not only a theory of rational choice among alternatives but also a theory of rational beliefs and of rational values, and, as I shall suggest, also a theory of rational design. Such a general, robust theory of rationality is of interest for the contribution that it could make towards a number of different areas of concern: an account of individual and social abberation as well as an account of sane individual actions and social interractions, to an account of educational and therapeutic aims, and as I propose to argue on another occasion to a general ‘cognitive’ theory of psychology.
KeywordsRational Belief Choice Situation Interpersonal Comparison Rational Motive Robust Theory
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