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The Integration of Knowledge


Carlos Blanco

The Integration of Knowledge explores a theory of human knowledge through a model of rationality combined with some fundamental logical, mathematical, physical and neuroscientific considerations. Its ultimate goal is to present a philosophical system of integrated knowledge, in which the different domains of human understanding are unified by common conceptual structures, such that traditional metaphysical and epistemological questions may be addressed in light of these categories. Philosophy thus becomes a "synthesizer" of human knowledge, through the imaginative construction of categories and questions that may reproduce and even expand the conceptual chain followed by nature and thought, in an effort to organize the results of the different branches of knowledge by inserting them in a broader framework.

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3. The Limits to Knowledge


3 The Limits to Knowledge

3.1 Analytic and Synthetic Limits

In recent decades, the scope and limits of human rationality have been addressed by different disciplines. From psychology to economic theory, various but convergent approaches have tried to elucidate the limits of human rationality.

Fueled by progress in prospect theory and behavioral economics, recent criticism of rationality has opened up new and profound perspectives. However, the models employed are generally focused on the adequacy of the traditional conceptions of rationality to give a realistic account of the behavior of economic agents, without examining the fundamental barriers associated with the nature and scope of rationality from a more basic and philosophical understanding of this topic.

In a familiar sense, it is clear that any individual faces serious difficulties if he aims to exhibit a strictly rational behavior in all of his decisions. The power of emotions, the force of commitment and altruism,1 motivation and adherence to certain ideals that may not be justified in limpid rational terms, the imperfection and asymmetry of the information that nurtures our knowledge of a particular situation, etc., they all reveal that rationality represents an ideal rather than a reality in a significant number of contexts. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten ←145 | 146→that rationality, as instrument to achieve knowledge, is constrained not only in its superficial manifestations but also in its deepest roots. The individual could eventually aspire to overcome the limitations of his rationality...

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