Sunday, April 25, 2010

Understanding Irrationality

We had a lively discussion tonight on the topic of Understanding Irrationality. I talked for 10 minutes or so, and then we opened it to group discussion.

There's a technical philosophy book on the subject that I like, by Alfred Mele: Irrationality: an essay on akrasia, self-deception, self-control. 

But it's very dry. Akrasia, by the way, is an ancient Greek term, translated as  "lack self-control" or "weakness of will".

I think understanding irrationality is easy in some ways. But understanding irrational people is hard - partly because they don't understand themselves very well - and partly because they resist giving you the means to understand them.

Of course, no one is irrational all the time. At least, not for long.

If the laws of aeronautics are something you deny
and you jump off a cliff, hoping to fly
you die.

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