Chapter

Social and Cultural Aspects of Rational and Irrational Beliefs: A Brief Reconceptualization

Daniel David and Raymond DiGiuseppe

in Rational and Irrational Beliefs

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195182231
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199870684 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182231.003.0003
Social and Cultural Aspects of Rational and Irrational Beliefs: A Brief Reconceptualization

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This chapter reconceptualizes the way we typically think about the role that culture and environment play in shaping rational and irrational beliefs. It presents three main arguments. First, a description of the differences between two groups or categories such as rational and irrational beliefs, does not explain the differences. Stating that culture explains or determines these differences contributes little to knowledge (i.e., cognitive profit), the question still remains why do these differences exist? Second, specific mechanisms that mediate the ability to learn, for example, are inherent to human nature (e.g., evolution-based), and go a long way to account for cultural differences. Third, culture is not an independent causal agent, divorced from individuals. Thus, it is important not to ignore the role of evolution in creating, maintaining, transmitting, and changing culture.

Keywords: culture; rational beliefs; irrational beliefs; social science; evolution

Chapter.  4857 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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