Skip to main content
The Handbook of Rationality

The Handbook of Rationality

Current price: $195.00
Publication Date: December 14th, 2021
The MIT Press
The MIT Press Bookstore
1 on hand, as of Feb 27 5:58pm
On Our Shelves Now


The first reference on rationality that integrates accounts from psychology and philosophy, covering descriptive and normative theories from both disciplines.

Both analytic philosophy and cognitive psychology have made dramatic advances in understanding rationality, but there has been little interaction between the disciplines. This volume offers the first integrated overview of the state of the art in the psychology and philosophy of rationality. Written by leading experts from both disciplines, The Handbook of Rationality covers the main normative and descriptive theories of rationality—how people ought to think, how they actually think, and why we often deviate from what we can call rational. It also offers insights from other fields such as artificial intelligence, economics, the social sciences, and cognitive neuroscience.
The Handbook proposes a novel classification system for researchers in human rationality, and it creates new connections between rationality research in philosophy, psychology, and other disciplines. Following the basic distinction between theoretical and practical rationality, the book first considers the theoretical side, including normative and descriptive theories of logical, probabilistic, causal, and defeasible reasoning. It then turns to the practical side, discussing topics such as decision making, bounded rationality, game theory, deontic and legal reasoning, and the relation between rationality and morality. Finally, it covers topics that arise in both theoretical and practical rationality, including visual and spatial thinking, scientific rationality, how children learn to reason rationally, and the connection between intelligence and rationality.

About the Author

Markus Knauff is Professor of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Giessen. Wolfgang Spohn is Professor Emeritus at the Philosophy Department of the University of Konstanz and Senior Professor at the University of Tübingen.

Praise for The Handbook of Rationality

"Editors Knauff (Univ. of Giessen) and Spohn (Univ. of Tübingen) selected a wide range of international authors to discuss current research and theory on the topic. The result is an interesting blend of psychological and philosophical treatments of rationality, addressing theoretical and practical aspects. The various authors jointly execute a thorough review of current ideas, showing that the field continues to evolve. . . . The book will be a very useful reference work for students of rationality. Recommended."—Choice