Practical Reasoning and Rationality
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Theories of practical reasoning and rationality have been expounded at least as far back as the Greeks. Beginning with several historical perspectives, I attempt to answer the descriptive and normative questions of practical reasoning and rationality. I then turn to a popular modern attempt, expected utility theory. I conclude that this approach cannot be sustained because of inherent inconsistencies and its inability to generate advice for a class of problems that other decision procedures can handle. I conclude by offering support for a new model of practical reasoning, the practical argument model. I explain the three dimensions of normative assessment for this model: logical, inferential and epistemic. I then show how an expected utility decision-procedure is encompassed by the practical argument model and, therefore, subject to these three levels of assessment. I conclude by offering some directions for future research.