As human beings, we like to believe that we are reliably rational and logical. Yet, throughout history, we have repeatedly engaged in behaviors that are contrary to our best interests, as evidenced by varying degrees of conflict, violence, and warfare. We are not the logical creature we idealize ourselves to be. As a point of comparison, recent developments in comparative cognition have demonstrated the surprising ability of non-human animals to be “rational” and to engage in “logical” behavior, which radically differs from our typical characterization of “animal behavior.”
To understand the nature of the human mind to be both rational and irrational, it is crucial to investigate the evolutionary origin and neural basis of both. In 2007, the Centre for Advanced Research on Logic and Sensibility (CARLS) was established at Keio University in Tokyo as a Global Center of Excellence. One important initiative of CARLS is the integrative investigation of the concept of rationality from multidisciplinary perspectives.
In 2008, CARLS sponsored an international symposium entitled Rational Animals, Irrational Humans. The depth and breadth of this symposium is reflected in this book with the compilation of lectures presented by researchers from around the globe. The collective content serves to dispel our traditionally-held characterizations of the human and animal minds.