Paradoxes of Rationality

Roy Sorensen

in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145397
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:
Paradoxes of Rationality

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  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic
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This article provides a panoramic view of paradoxes of theoretical and practical rationality. These puzzles are organized as apparent counterexamples to attractive principles such as the principle of charity, the transitivity of preferences, and the principle that one should maximize expected utility. This article gives an account of the following paradoxes: fearing fictions, the surprise test paradox, Pascal's Wager, Pollock's Ever Better wine, Newcomb's problem, the iterated Prisoners' Dilemma, Kavka's paradoxes of deterrence, backward inductions, the bottle imp, the preface paradox, Moore's problem, Buridan's ass, Condorcet's paradox of cyclical majorities, the St. Petersburg paradox, weakness of will, the Ellsberg paradox, Allais's paradox, and Peter Cave's puzzle of self-fulfilling beliefs.

Keywords: rationality; principle of charity; Pascal's Wager; Newcomb's problem; St. Petersburg paradox

Article.  7585 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Epistemology

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