Many things have been called rational, or irrational as the case may be, including beliefs, actions, desires, and persons. Of these, perhaps the two that have received the most attention are belief and action. Discussions about the rationality of belief fall under the domain of theoretical rationality; those concerning the rationality of action fall under practical rationality.

Theoretical Rationality

Theoretical rationality is often called “epistemic” rationality, since it is concerned with the question of obtaining knowledge. An agent can be said to know that p only if, apart from believing that p and p being true, he or she is able to give reasons for his or her belief that p. Theoretical rationality, hence, can be understood as that capacity of cognitive agents that allows them to ...

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