paradoxical question

by gravedancer 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • gravedancer

    Can a rational person decide to act irrationally?

  • Frenchy

    Yes and no.

  • wonderwoman77

    Well I will bite GD....I think that any rational person will have moments of irrational behavior. That does not necessarily make them an irrational person, just that they experienced irrational behavior. There is a difference from a quality being part of your core personality and a behavior.

  • VeniceIT

    why are you bitting GD? what did he do to you? Can I help???


    "Injustice will continue until those who are not affected by it are as outraged as those who are."

  • ladonna


    Now come on
    That person would NOT be a rational person, would he/she???


    Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.
    —Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Frenchy

    Okay, nobody asked but I'll say it anyway.

    Yes, a rational person may decide to do something that, while they may think it's rational, may not be rational at all.

    No, irrational implies 'without reason' and thus one cannot knowingly (decide) to do that which is discerned by that person to be without reason.

    But then again...I've done some reallys stupid things against my better judgment!

  • Inquiry

    Hey Gravedancer...

    IMO people act in irrational ways due to illness or ignorance... when I was a JW, I acted in what I now consider to be an irrational manner, ie: knocking on people's doors trying to convince them of something I really knew nothing about... signing that stupid blood card for nearly ten years and making that same decision for my son, etc.... because I was not aware of the facts... that kind of irrationality was due to ignorance... I have experienced the kind of irrationality due to illness... ie: a dear friend who had a serious mental illness and occasionally thought he was Jesus... Martin Luther King (he was white) and several others.... he was truly ill... but on medication he was a sweetie... I think that some normally rational people can act irrationally given certain circumstances... ie: a husband or wife discovers their mate cheating.... being lied to by people you trusted.... someone hurting your child.... all these things and more can bring out an irrational response from what are normally rational people...
    In short, I do think it's possible for a rational person to decide to act irrationally...
    Neat question.... I look forward to more responses...
    thanks grave :)

  • hungry4life

    Yes a rational person can make irrational decisions. But not if they stop to think (rationalize) before the decision is made. In order for a decision to be irrational it must be spontaneous and not involve rationalization. I know I sort of repeated myself but it's a little fuzzy even as I am typing it. This is not to say that all decisions that rational people make after thinking (rationalizing) are always correct. Many times the wrong decision is made. This is due to lack of information or flawed reasoning etcetera but is not equivalent to irrational decisions. OK does that make sense I welcome anyone's critique or polishing of my definition.

  • cellomould


    The paradox lies here: What is a rational person?

    We assume that such a person exists. IMO, a rational person is someone who is less irrational than most.

    Humans aren't made for making decisions and so forth. We can do it of course. We are capable of that and so much more.

    But it's quite clear that our social development hijacks our naturally irrational behavior.

    So quite often our irrational behavior wants to hijack back.

    Am I making sense?

    In essence, we are animals.

    Or better said, we are computers with a huge amount of computing power but no built in master program. We have to upgrade the software we use on a continual basis or the hardware is good for nothing.

    Hungry, to comment about decisions, I think that an ideal decision is one in which you cannot predict the outcome. Here, you cannot be wrong or right. You have all the information you can possibly gather to help you but there is still no clear verdict. This shouldn't be stressful to the well informed person; they know that any consequences could not have been forseen. (Or that one decision cannot be forseen as having more negative consequences) Therefore the outcome is not because of a wrong decision, but simply a product of uncertainty.

    If you can predict the consequences before coming to a decision, then it's pretty simple: don't do what leads to the bad consequences.

    But still, it's not for us to decide in hindsight what was a bad decision unless we know failed in our responsibility of collecting accurate data.

    the uncanny cello

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

Share this