Irrationality is talking or acting without regard of rationality. Usually pejorative, the term is used to describe thinking and actions which are, or appear to be, less useful or logical than the rational alternatives. There is a clear tendency to view our own thoughts, words, and actions as rational and to see those who disagree as irrational.
Types of behavior which are often described as irrational include:
These more contemporary 'normative' conceptions of what constitutes a manifestation of irrationality prove difficult to empirically demonstrate because it is not clear by whose standards we are to judge rational or irrational behavior.
The study of irrational behavior is of interest in fields such as psychology, cognitive science, economics, game theory, and evolutionary psychology, as well as of practical interest to the practitioners of advertising and propaganda.
Theories of irrational behavior include:
Factors which affect rational behavior include:
In science fiction literature, the progress of pure rationality is viewed as a quality which may lead civilization ultimately toward a scientific future dependent on technology. Irrationality in this case, is a positive factor which helps to balance excessive reason.
In psychology, excessive rationality without creativity may be viewed as a form of self-control and protection. Certain problems, such as death and loss, may have no rational solution when they are being experienced. We may seek logical explanations for such events, when in fact the proper emotional response is grief. Irrationality is thus a means of freeing the mind toward purely imaginative solutions, to break out of historic patterns of dependence into new patterns that allow one to move on.
Irrationalist is a wide term. It may be applied to mean one without rationality, for their beliefs or ideas. Or, more precisely, it may mean someone who rejects some aspect of rationalism, variously defined. For example religious faith may be seen as, in part, a rejection of complete rationalism about the world; this would be contested by some religious thinkers, in that the rational is a debatable term. On the other hand, it might be considered irrationalist to buy a lottery ticket, on the basis that the expected value is negative.
Rational Irrationality and Group Size: The Effect of Biased Beliefs on Individual Contributions towards Collective Goods
Jan 01, 2011; Introduction This article is inspired by Bryan Caplan's formulation of the concept of rational irrationality as developed...