Cognitive Irrationality Project (2015-2020)

The Cognitive Irrationality Project is a project led by Prof. Dr. Anne Meylan at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and funded by the National Swiss Foundation (SNSF). It  began in September 2015 at the University of Basel and moved to the University of Zurich in August 2018. 


The Cognitive Irrationality Project’s general purpose is to offer an account of cognitive irrationality. Certain beliefs or judgements are indisputably irrational. When a victim of the Capgras  delusion “believes” that her husband has been replaced by an impostor, her belief is definitely irrational. But irrationality is not confined to mental illness. Self-deception, wishful thinking, and denial are widespread, non-pathological cognitive phenomena that are also irrational People in perfect mental health deceive themselves about their chances of winning the lottery, the intellectual talents of their kids, the fidelity of their husbands/wives, the probability that they receive a salary increase, etc. In short, mentally healthy people hold irrational beliefs in diverse kinds of circumstance. Do these various irrational beliefs have something in common? Is there anything that makes them all irrational? As its name suggests, the general purpose of this project is to answer these questions and to offer, thereby, a philosophical account of cognitive irrationality.

Read the full project here.