[ExI] Making Rationalizations is Superior to the Alternative

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Apr 15 23:33:07 UTC 2009

Damien 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!... That's a flagrant rationalization, even if you do
 > end up convincing yourself that it was your real motive."

Well, we disagree on word usage. That's all. Though I
cannot resist reminding you of what the definition
of "rationalization" appears to be:

 > > Well, wikipedia says that in psychology, rationalization is
 > >
 > >     Rationalization (psychology), the process
 > >     of constructing a logical justification for
 > >     a decision that was originally arrived at
 > >     through a different mental process

But you may have just been having fun with your knavish
example, and I can be *so* literal at times, alas.

When honest, each of us thinks that he or she
is making honest confabulations (if I dare risk
another loaded word), i.e., coming up with what
sound like good arguments for whatever it is that
we want to persuade others or ourselves of.

To revert to your usage of terms (for the sake of
definitional peace), sometimes one is aware that
he or she is deliberately (falsely) rationalizing,
and sometimes not. People have told me of siblings
who evidently really believed their most brazenly
contrived false explanations of their own behavior.

So it's possible that in principle there is no
way to know with extremely high probability
whether one is inventing things that are valid,
or inventing explanations that are invalid. I think
that for me, friends and critics are everything:
I have the utmost respect for some thinkers I know,
and it's *not* (I keep telling myself) because they
think that *I* make sense most of the time.

Oh---yes---I know! You see, they don't hesitate
to call me on stuff that later on I acknowledge
(if not right just then) that I was off-base

So what I meant by the subject line: "Making
Rationalizations is Superior to the Alternative"
could be rephrased as:

    Creating explanations and apparently
    rigorous or rational arguments (whether
    or not any self-deceit or plain deceit
    is involved) is superior to *not*
    affording any argument at all.



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