A Broomean model of rationality and reasoning

Franz Dietrich, Antonios Staras, Robert Sugden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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John Broome has developed an account of rationality and reasoning which gives philosophical foundations for choice theory and the psychology of rational agents. We formalize his account into a model that differs from ordinary choice-theoretic models through focusing on psychology and the reasoning process. Within that model, we ask Broome's central question of whether reasoning can make us more rational: whether it allows us to acquire transitive preferences, consistent beliefs, non-akratic intentions, and so on. We identify three structural types of rationality requirements: consistency requirements, completeness requirements, and closedness requirements. Many standard rationality requirements fall under this typology. Based on three theorems, we argue that reasoning is successful in achieving closedness requirements, but not in
achieving consistency or completeness requirements. We assess how far our negative results reveal gaps in Broome's theory, or deficiencies in choice theory and behavioural economics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-614
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Philosophy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Broome
  • rationality
  • reasoning

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