Is the term 'rational person' an oxymoron?

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  1. Gordon G. profile image60
    Gordon G.posted 8 years ago

    Is the term 'rational person' an oxymoron?

    As humans, we are so guided by emotions and desires. Rarely, do the points of emotion and logic intersect.

  2. Beege215e profile image60
    Beege215eposted 8 years ago

    There are people out there in the world that consider themselves to be totally rational thinkers.  When they sit down to contemplate their navels, they focus on the purpose of navel lint. That makes them rational because by thinking of the navel and therefore lint they are making a rational connection.
    I think, therefore I am, I think.  But if I stop thinking do I then cease to be? Irrational at best.
    Rationality is something we can hope to achieve, but I think it can be, and often is, influenced by our emotions unless we thoughtfully avoid that route. Believing in Santa Claus is not rational, but we often encourage our children to believe anyhow.
    There are times when we must put emotions on the back burner so to speak, and find rational solutions to our problems or our work, but focus is required and even then we don't always do that the rational way.
    Being rational is a lot of work, and I recently retired.

  3. wingedcentaur profile image82
    wingedcentaurposted 8 years ago

    Good Day Gordon G.

    I would challenge the assumption upon which your question rests. Why is emotion necessarily "irrational" and why is logic necessarily rational.

    Take this recent financial/economic meltdown. We would all say, I think, that people in power (in both politics and business) behaved irrationally, at least in retrospect. After all, "bubbles" in the economy are always irrational, are they not?

    We know that many of the exotic derivative instruments used by the financial institutions were created by beings whom one would think among the most "rational" and "logical" of the species -- mathematicians and physicists from M.I.T. (their business of logic and rationality, evidence, is it not?).

    But I understand your question, Gordon G. You are talking about the species as a whole, perhaps including the so-called "quants." Still, I am not convinced that emotion is as "emotional" as we sometimes think (in other words, I believe "emotion" has a logic of its own; and I don't think logic is as logical as we sometimes like to think (in other words, I think logic has an "emotion" base, though this emotion is denied).

    Anyway, interesting question. I look forward to the other replies you get.

    Take it easy, Gordon G.

  4. GNelson profile image74
    GNelsonposted 8 years ago

    We are emotional beings who can be rational at times.   Imagine walking down a quiet street and having someone sneak up on you and discharge a gun five feet behind you.  Is your first thought going to be rational?

  5. saket71 profile image60
    saket71posted 8 years ago

    Truly the term is oxymoron, since how often do we base our rationalization on dispassionate logic; more often than not, it is based on our desire to protect our image to the world and to ourselves. Thus opposed to dispassionate exploration of truth, it hands over imaginary crutches to a limping soul, something which I call peril of rationalization in my blog by the same name (

  6. profile image0
    WildIrisposted 8 years ago

    People are guided by both emotions and rational thought. And yes, they do intersect; however not everyone is able to govern their emotions and instead their emotions govern them. Desires cloud wisdom.

    "People who are more rational don't perceive emotions less, they just regulate better," thus they appear more rational.

    You should read How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. It is an interesting read. With the help of neuroscience, social science and psychology, it covers your question in depth. … amp;sr=8-1

  7. nifty@50 profile image69
    nifty@50posted 8 years ago

    Yes! It is a oxymoron if you happen to be a Vulcan! As the term relates to humans, the term "rational person" is completely relative. To some the term applies to the vast population not residing in padded rooms, and for others the term relates to people that calmly argue or explain their points of view in a logical rather than emotional basis!

  8. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image94
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 8 years ago

    LOL!  Dude, I think you nailed it.  Great Question, and you know the answer!

  9. profile image0
    surlyoldcatposted 8 years ago


    It's a contradiction.

    If it were an oxymoron it would be "Crazy Person" or "Rational decision."

    In this particular case, you can't have both, people would just get too confused.


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