The Construct of Mindfulness Amidst and Along Conceptions of Rationality


Is it rational to be mindful? Can one be more or less rationally mindful? Can one be more or less mindfully rational? In this short article I explore the contribution that mindfulness can make to modeling and theorizing about rationality—including rational choice and rational belief, or ‘epistemic rationality’. The two streams of literature have in fact never met—a sign of the self-defeating isolation in which inquiry proceeds in social science. Had they in fact met, rational choice theory would have benefited from a formalization of the process by which mindful subjects actively draw distinctions that multiply choosable options and vastly expand their state spaces—of possible events or possible worlds. And, mindfulness research would have benefited from considering the kinds of questions that rational choice and rational belief theorists grapple with all the time, such as the optimality of distinction-drawing as a strategy for maximizing one’s psychological or material welfare, and the optimal degree of ‘broadening’ of the space of choosable options. Whatever might be deemed a viable answer to questions like ‘Is it rational to be mindful?’ will depend on precise characterizations of both ‘mindfulness’ and ‘rationality’, so, let us get to work:

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Moldoveanu2017TheCO, title={The Construct of Mindfulness Amidst and Along Conceptions of Rationality}, author={Mihnea C. Moldoveanu}, year={2017} }