Neil W. Rickert (1998) Rationality, Creativity and Knowledge. Psycoloquy: 9(60) Social Bias (5)

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PSYCOLOQUY (ISSN 1055-0143) is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Psycoloquy 9(60): Rationality, Creativity and Knowledge

Commentary on Margolis on Rickert on Krueger on Social-Bias.

Neil W. Rickert
Department of Computer Science
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115


Margolis (1998) suggests that my claim about intelligence and rationality (Rickert 1998) was quite limited. I restate my claim in a way that should underscore its generality.


Bayes' rule, bias, hypothesis testing, individual differences probability, rationality, significance testing, social cognition, statistical inference
1. Margolis (1998) asks rhetorically whether the "rational" solution I suggested (Rickert 1998) for the problems of electrodynamics would have settled the Michelson-Morley problem. It would not, as Margolis correctly asserts. However, a "rational" solution to that problem would have been to claim that the earth drags the aether along with it as it orbits the sun.

2. Here is a brief restatement, in a different form, of my original claim:

    (a) Rationality has to do with following socially accepted rules.

    (b) Intelligence has to do with being able to create useful rules
    where none are available, and with being able to create more
    effective rules than those that are socially accepted.

    (c) If an intelligent person is unable to follow socially accepted
    rules, whether for lack of knowledge or lack of knowhow, we should
    expect them to create some suitable alternative rules that they
    could follow.

    (d) It should be no surprise that sometimes these newly created
    rules are suboptimal and therefore perceived as irrational.

    (e) The growth of human knowledge has a great deal to do with
    having social institutions, printing presses, and other
    communication systems which allow us to preserve the most effective
    rules that intelligent folk have created.


Margolis, H. (1998). Logic, intuition, and einstein. Psycoloquy 9(57)

Rickert, N. W. (1998). Intelligence is not rational. Psycoloquy 9(51)

Volume: 9 (next, prev) Issue: 60 (next, prev) Article: 5 (next prev first) Alternate versions: ASCII Summary