Synthese

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 93–131 | Cite as

The Rational Analysis Of Mind And Behavior

  • Nick Chater
  • Mike Oaksford

Abstract

Rational analysis (Anderson 1990, 1991a) is an empiricalprogram of attempting to explain why the cognitive system isadaptive, with respect to its goals and the structure of itsenvironment. We argue that rational analysis has two importantimplications for philosophical debate concerning rationality. First,rational analysis provides a model for the relationship betweenformal principles of rationality (such as probability or decisiontheory) and everyday rationality, in the sense of successfulthought and action in daily life. Second, applying the program ofrational analysis to research on human reasoning leads to a radicalreinterpretation of empirical results which are typically viewed asdemonstrating human irrationality.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Chater
    • 1
  • Mike Oaksford
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarwickUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyCardiff UniversityUK

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