Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Dretske, Fred
 
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Rationality I Fred Dretske Minimale Rationalit├Ąt in D.Perler/M. Wild (Hg.)Der Geist der Tiere Frankfurt/M. 2005

I 213
Definition minimal rationality/Dretske: minimal rationality demands that thoughts are involved in the process, therefore, it is more demanding than: - biological rationality: E.g. blinking - minimal rationality: requires that something is done for reasons, but not that it is done for good reasons.
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I 215
This term keeps the normative in check. It is discarded and thus searchable.
Rationality/Dretske: E.g. with a sudden movement of something towards my eyes I blink. I cannot help it.
I believe that one way to get this object into my eye is to blink (suddenly close your eyes).
N.B.: but although I believe this and although I close my eye, I do not close my eyes because I think this! My reasons to close them are not the reason why I close them!
Although I am doing exactly from what I think it will bring me the desired, my behavior is not a purposeful action. It does not represent the "minimal rationality".
Definition Minimal Rationality/Dretske: he demands that thoughts are involved in the process, therefore, it is more demanding than: biological rationality: E.g. blinking.
Minimal rationality: minimal rationality demands that something is done for reasons, but not that it is done for good reasons!
Nor does it require any justification. Although the behavior must be explained by a thought, it does not have to be rationalized by this idea.
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I 214
Not even under ideal conditions, the corresponding behavior must contribute to the ability to survive. It can even degrade them.
E.g. "I am searching here under the lantern because it is brighter, although I lost the keybund somewhere else".
This can be explained by what you think.
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I 215
E.g. terrorist: suicide bomber: to him the paradise in the hereafter with 40 virgins has been promised. Moreover, his actions are of service.
Is his behavior rational? It does not increase survivability, but it is minimal rational because the behavior is explained by what the terrorist believes and wants.
This term keeps the normative in check. It is discarded and thus searchable.
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I 216
Rationality/Dretske: if nothing of what you do is explained by what you think, then you are not a rational being, but an impostor.
For example, you could say that a sprinkler system is clever because it extinguishes the fire that would otherwise destroy it (Survival!).
N.B.: if I did this, I would be rational, but the sprinkler system is not rational because of this! Because it is not the reason why it does it! It has no minimal rationality.
When I sweat and cool myself with it, I also have no minimal rationality. The behavior is not controlled by thoughts. It may be wise to do that, but I am not wise because I do it.
It is not enough that my behavior is caused by an internal representation.
Difference:
a) to be caused by an event that represents B.
b) by the fact of being explained that it represents B. ((s) de dicto).
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I 217
E.g. Thermostat: If we do what it does, keep the temperature constant in the room, we would be considered rational. The thermostat is not.
The bimetallic strip has a double function:
1. it represents the room temperature,
2. it is a switch.
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I 218
Its behavior is not explained by thoughts it has about temperature.
For example, microphone: we cannot regard it as obedient, simply because it does what we tell it. (E.g. "Vibrate fast!". Not what I say is relevant for the behavior of the microphone.)
Difference:
A) Causation by an event,
B) Explanation by the fact that it has the meaning B. (see above).

Dret I
F. Dretske
Naturalizing the Mind Cambridge 1997


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-05-01