Enhancing Rationality: Heuristics, Biases, and The Critical Thinking Project

Mark Battersby


Abstract: This paper develops four related claims: 1. Critical thinking should focus more on decision making, 2. the heuristics and bias literature developed by cognitive psychologists and behavioral economists provides many insights into human irrationality which can be useful in critical thinking instruction, 3. unfortunately the “rational choice” norms used by behavioral economists to identify “biased” decision making narrowly equate rational decision making with the efficient pursuit of individual satisfaction; deviations from these norms should not be treated as an irrational bias, 4. a richer, procedural theory of rational decision making should be the basis for critical thinking instruction in decision making.


critical thinking, rationality, heuristics, biases, rational choice theory, evaluative rationality, epistemic rationality, instrumental rationality, cognitive psychology, behavioral economics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v36i2.4662

ISSN: 0824-2577