[ExI] Making Rationalizations is Superior to the Alternative

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 15 13:49:39 UTC 2009

--- On Wed, 4/15/09, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> At 10:32 PM 4/14/2009 -0700, Lee
> wrote:
> >>> a *rational* response ... more reasoning and
> argumentation
> >> Perhaps it's worth mentioning that
> "rationalization" is exactly *not* any of those things. It's
> the process of cooking up fake "reasons" for an emotional
> response.
> > 
> > I agree totally that it's a "cooking up" process. But
> the
> > usual usage appears to be truth-irrelevant
> Au contraire. "Knave, why did you take those tarts?" "Ah, I
> saw them piled up in the open window and feared that four
> and twenty blackbirds would swoop down and steal them."
> "What BULLSHIT! I just saw you eating them yourself!" "Well,
> I reasoned that you wouldn't want them back after I'd--"
> "Shut up, you rascal! <boxes ears> That's a flagrant
> rationalization, even if you do end up convincing yourself
> that it was your real motive."

I agree with Damien here: when most people use "rationalization" they mean a reason offered that is anything but the real motive or reason for something.  It's offered up merely as a pretext or to justify something and is a form of moral cover for something the person using it knows is wrong.

Now, to be sure, Lee and others might be using the term to mean something else.  Think of how, say, Marxists might talk about "rationalizing" production.  They don't mean making excuses for it, but make it less chaotic.  (Leave aside their economic theories are wrong and their policies, put into practice, tend to make production less rational or irrational.)

Also, I fear, given some of the ways of looking at things here, some are engaging in "just so" reasoning: if something sounds good enough -- makes sense to someone -- than it's true or close enough not to matter.




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