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History of irrationalism
absurd - bohemia - counter-enlightenment - Decadent movement - Dionysian - dream - fantastic - fascism - id - instinct - romantic love - mental illness - nonsense - panic - phobia as irrational fears - Romanticism - Symbolist cultural movement - Postmodernism - unconscious
Secondary texts: The Seduction of Unreason (2004) - Richard Wolin
Philosophy: Friedrich Nietzsche - Georges Bataille - Sigmund Freud - Henri Bergson
Irrationality is talking or acting without regard of rationality. Usually pejorative, the term is used to describe emotion-driven thinking and actions which are, or appear to be, less useful than the rational alternatives. There is a clear tendency to view our own thoughts, words, and actions as rational and to see those who disagree as irrational.
Types of behavior which are often described as irrational include:
- fads and fashions
- crowd behavior
- unrealistic expectations
- belief in logical fallacies
- falling victim to confidence tricks
- belief in the supernatural without evidence
- stock-market bubbles
Why does irrational behavior occur?
The study of irrational behavior is of interest in fields such as psychology, cognitive science, economics and game theory, as well as of practical interest to the practitioners of advertising and propaganda.
Theories of irrational behavior include:
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrationality [May 2005]
- people's actual interests differ from what they believe to be their interests
- mechanisms that have evolved to give optimal behavior in normal conditions lead to irrational behavior in abnormal conditions
- people's interests are controlled by emotional mechanisms, and "rationality" as such is a meaningless concept
- apparently irrational decisions are actually optimal, but made unconsciously on the basis of "hidden" interests that are not known to the conscious mind
Irrationalism and Aestheticism
In search of modernism
Irrationalism and aestheticism were philosophical movements which formed as a cultural reaction against positivism in the early 20th century. These perspectives opposed or de-emphasized the importance of the rationality of human beings. Instead, they concentrated on Kant's "noumenal realm", or the experience of one's own existence.
Part of the movements involved claims that science was inferior to intuition. In this project, art was given an especially high place, as it was considered the gateway to the noumenon. Unfortunately, not all of the public at the time were involved in this movement and only the elite had access to the art (ie. a "Mandarin elitism").
Some of the followers of this idea are Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Bergson, and Sorel. Symbolism and existentialism grew out of these schools of thought. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrationalism_and_Aestheticism [Mar 2006]
Destruction of Reason (1952) - Georg Lukács
In search of a history of irrationalism
In search of a history of unreason
Destruction of Reason (1952) - Georg Lukács [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
It may be postulated as a general statement that the decline of bourgeois ideology set in with the end of the 1848 revolution. Of course we can find many latecomers — especially in literature and art — for whose work this thesis by no means holds good (we need only to mention Dickens and Keller, Courbet and Daumier). --Georg Lukács, CHAPTER III, Nietzsche as Founder of Irrationalism in the Imperialist Period via http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/destruction-reason/ch03.htm [Jun 2006]
See also: irrational - 1952 - Marxism
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