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The Value of Rationality

Ralph Wedgwood


Rationality is a central concept for epistemology, ethics, and the study of practical reason. But what sort of concept is it? It is argued here that—contrary to objections that have recently been raised—rationality is a normative concept. In general, normative concepts cannot be explained in terms of the concepts expressed by ‘reasons’ or ‘ought’. Instead, normative concepts are best understood in terms of values. Thus, for a mental state or a process of reasoning to be rational is for it to be in a certain way good. Specifically, rationality is a virtue, while irrationality is a vice. What ra ... More

Keywords: rationality, normativity, reasons, value, virtue, internalism, probability

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198802693
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198802693.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ralph Wedgwood, author
Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California