Basically what drives humans to value being more rational than they currently are? Has this been studied?
Humans value a lot of things. Some are likely selected for by evolution. Some could even just be random. Here's some that may possibly be relevant to explain why they value being rational.
- Capacity for rationality has it in-built - Invention of language and recursive structures. This gives us capacity to be rational. Possibly this module also comes in-built with a desire to be rational, i.e., use this capacity. Or possibly not. Note however that the two questions are distinct - "why are we capable of being rational" and "why do we want to use this capacity". This post is on the latter.
- Curiosity - Perhaps curiosity has been fundamentally selected for evolutionarily. And in the case of beings like humans, this also takes the form of wanting to invent ever better reasoning structures via recursion and going meta. Or perhaps not.
- Survival is now recursive - All animals are atleast somewhat evolved for survival purposes, whether or not they are aware of it. A bacteria for instance is likely not aware that they are optimised for survival, i.e., they don't have a brain that internally represents concepts of survival or value. In the case of humans however, we are aware of the fact that we value survival, we can represent this, and we can throw the cognitive module at the problem. Or perhaps this is unimportant.
- Random - Perhaps it is just random. Perhaps the invention of language was sheer luck of the draw, and so was our desire to use it.
I think this will be useful because it'll enable us to find the bounds of valuing rationality. As in how strongly are we capable of valuing rationality, at the cost of all the other things we also value. And more importantly, why do we value rationality? Is it just due to survival, is it just random, is it a mix of both?
Just because there exists an ideal rational agent doesn't mean humans are capable of becoming ever closer to this. Or more importantly for this post, that they want to. Ofcourse people on this website have a stronger desire to be rational as compared to other humans. So it might be useful to know the bound.
It might also be useful because I'm curious :p Having deeper insight never a bad thing.
P.S. I think the notion of "ideal rational agent" also deserves a lot more scrutiny, but that's for another post.