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The Apport of modal cognition to information-based theories of rationality

Abstract : Information-based theories of rationality offer a widely accepted system for evaluating the rationality of an agent's choice. All such models have to deal with seemingly irrational choices and with choices that do not reflect in actuality what the system predicts in theory. Hyperintensionality (where intensionality is not derived solely from an informational processing asymmetry, as, we will argue, in framing effects) doesn't find easy or natural solutions within the information-based framework provided by such theories. Such theories, that is, aim to solve the problems of intensionality and hyperintensionality by recourse to an information-based explanation – generally grounded in the concept of latent information: the agent regarded as salient and processed, as information, some information to which the experimenter or the theoretician was insensitive. We wish to spell out how some abilities peculiarly linked to modal cognition (i.e. our grasping of modal features such as possibility or necessity) allow for a finer analysis of these phenomena than an information-based understanding allows. The particular scope of this paper, then, is to give a taste of how an agent's sense of possibility (and modality generally) leads him to biases in choices that a purely information-based understanding will relate to some form of irrationality on his part. We argue that this conclusion by information-based theories is due to their not taking into account the modal aspects of the situation at hand. We rather see features of modal cognition as being a significant ingredient of our characterization as rational beings: the explanatory reduction to irrationality of the agent's choice loses some of the richness of that choice.
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Contributor : Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 8:39:56 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, April 3, 2010 - 8:40:56 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00000553, version 1



Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde, Andrea Armeni. The Apport of modal cognition to information-based theories of rationality. 2004. ⟨ijn_00000553⟩



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