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The Nature of Rationality

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Title: The Nature of Rationality  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Robert Nozick, Rationality, List of books about philosophy
Collection: 1993 Books, Books by Robert Nozick, English-Language Books, Philosophy of Robert Nozick
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Nature of Rationality

The Nature of Rationality
Cover of the first edition
Author Robert Nozick
Country United States
Language English
Subject Philosophy
Genre Non-fiction
Published 1993
Media type Print

The Nature of Rationality is 1993 book by Robert Nozick, an exploration of practical rationality.


Nozick views human rationality as an evolutionary adaptation. Its delimited purpose and function may be responsible for biases and blind spots, possibly accounting for philosophy's difficulty with perennial questions that are remote from the exigencies that drive natural selection. He offers a reformulation of the decision theory that was developed in the twentieth century to explain rational action. It should include the symbolic meaning of actions as well as a new rule of rational decision that maximizes decision value. These have implications for long-standing issues such as the Prisoner's Dilemma and for Newcomb's Problem. His proposal about rational belief has an internalist element of support by reasons that make the belief credible, and an externalist element of generation by a process that reliably produces true beliefs. Rational belief has an intellectual component, for one should not believe any statement less credible than some incompatible alternative. It also has a practical component, for one should believe a statement only if the expected utility (or decision value) of doing so is greater than that of not believing it.


  • Nozick, Robert. The Nature of Rationality. 1993: Princeton University Press.

External links

  • ReasonLoren Lomasky's review in
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