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Harold I. Brown

In: The Philosophy of Psychology

Chapter 2: Psychology, Naturalized Epistemology, and Rationality

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Psychology, Naturalized Epistemology, and Rationality
Psychology, naturalized epistemology, and rationality
HaroldI.Brown
Descriptions and Norms

The concept of rationality has both a descriptive and a normative component. The descriptive side is exemplified by Aristotle's account of human beings as rational animals—creatures that have a rational part of the soul in addition to the vegetative and sensitive parts that we share with other animals. The normative side of rationality stands out when we recognize that although human beings have a capacity to be rational, there are situations in which we fail to behave rationally. Our ability to recognize failures of rationality and to criticize individuals for such failures requires norms for the proper exercise of our rational capacities. Now once we note this dual nature of the concept of reason, ...

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