On 11/10/2012 5:37 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 04:37:55PM -0800, meekerdb wrote:
On 11/10/2012 3:56 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
But if it is rational to be irrational, is it possible to be rational any more?

No, but you're making a conundrum out of it.  The point is that it's
rational to be non-deterministic.

Only for some extended, loose definition of "rational". The
non-deterministic choices themselves are not rationally determined.

Of course not by your definition of rational for in that case they would be deterministic and potentially predictable and hence worthless in the game.

But the definitions I find in Dictionary of Philosophy by Angeles:

1. Containing or possessing reason or characterized by reason.
2. Capable of functioning rationally.
3. Capable of being understood.
4. In comformity with reason. Intelligble.
5. Adhering to qualities of thought such as consistency, coherence, simplicity, abstractness, completeness, order, logical structure.

or online:

*1. * Having or exercising the ability to reason.
*2. * Of sound mind; sane.
*3. * Consistent with or based on reason; logical: rational behavior. See Synonyms at logical <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/logical>.

/a/ *:* having reason or understanding
/b/ *:* relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason *:

*Or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:


'Bayesian epistemology' became an epistemological movement in the 20^th century, though its two main features can be traced back to the eponymous Reverend Thomas Bayes (c. 1701-61). Those two features are: (1) the introduction of a /formal apparatus/ for inductive logic; (2) the introduction of a /pragmatic self-defeat test/ (as illustrated by Dutch Book Arguments) for /epistemic/ /*rationality*/ as a way of extending the justification of the laws of deductive logic to include a justification for the laws of inductive logic

There are 915 entries turned up by searching the SEP for "rational" I looked a about a dozen and found nothing that would require rational to be deterministic.

I have never come across the term rational agent applying to a
stochastic one in the literature. By contrast, I see definitions such
as the one I quoted from Wikipedia's article indicating that rational
agents are strictly deterministic.

In looking at my dictionaries of philosophy I find nothing saying that rational implies deterministic. And it's common knowledge that stochastic decisions can be optimal in games - so I don't see how you can call them anything but rational. The same Wikipedia article you cited goes on to say,"A *rational* decision is one that is not just reasoned, but is also optimal for achieving a goal or solving a problem."

The Cambridge Philosophical Dictionary cited in the Wikepedia entry on "Rationality" doesn't actually have an entry defining "rationality" (although the word "rational" appears about a 100 times). It has one on "rationalism" which is contrasted with empiricism. The definition of "rationality" on page 772 is part of a discussion of "rationalism, moral".


Do you have any contrasting references?

BTW - thank you for your response to Albert. Very aptly put!


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