Rationality as deception (or, Descartes’ ‘Clear and Distinct’ proviso)


1.1. Descartes’ believed that an intuition we may have is true iff it is clear and distinctly percieved.

1.2. This reminded me of internalism about knowledge justification; some internalists used to construct what is called the analysis of knowledge, by means of giving an answer to the schema: ‘S knows that p, iff…’

The knowledge schema of a certain internalist theory is known as the KK principle: here is the easy version:

I know something (for example, that “Metallica is a shit band”), if and only if I Know that I Know it.

Ksp <–> K(Ksp)

[Edit: I should use different syntax to express it, really]

K(K(x)) –> Ksp

[Edit: a reformulation more sensitive to the literature]

1.3. A lemma point, really; a philosopher in my department made the suggestion that Descartes’ C&D conception has bearings on the KK principle and an moral KK principle; namely:

My action is moral iff we know something is a conscious action, and that if we know that we know it

Rationality as deception

1. This is a very difficult concept

I have real troubles about conceiving what it is when people say something, or someone is irrational. Rationality has many ways of usage: A belief can be rational, an action, or a character may be irrational.

I thought the most intuitive way to count this intuition (somewhat inspired by Descartes) is by analogy.

2. Candidates of irrationality

Here are examples of how we may use the concept of rationality

i. “It is irrational to believe that Homeopathy really works”

ii. The other day, Sinistre told me a story about his most candid of thoughts and feeligns; he told me, back in the old Collegium, he would walk to a certain class through a certain route in the hope to meet a certain girl in the convent school. This seemed irrational to me insofar as this was a longer route to class, and there was almost no chance he would talk to her, let alone have the confidence to make her fall in love with her etc. What a fool! But hey, I’ve been there too 🙂

 3. Desideratum (philosophical methodology)

The strength of a good theory of rationality is how it acknowledges all the cases of candidates of irrational behaviour if and only if we agree upon the candidates of irrationality being suitable.

4. Deception

Here is a thought: what if we say:

S is irrational iff they did not have a clear and distinct perception of p; that is, if their idea of an object is confused by virtue of volitional propositional distortion.

Lemma: I think I have just fused a Spinozist idea with a Cartesian. I feel quite pleased!



You can leave a reply or comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s