I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. I work at the intersection between philosophy and social science, focusing on rationality.
How rational are people in general? How about your political opponents? How about yourself? Many popular and social-scientific answers to these questions are unflattering. Yet most people think and act as if they are exceptions.
My work tries to square this circle. The case for irrationalism is built on the empirical fact that people predictably deviate from classical theories of rationality. My work is built on the normative fact that such theories are elegant, useful, and wrong. I develop and deploy better models of rationality to help refine our interpretation of the empirical results, and square them with our own experiences of (ir)rationality. Short story: people are more rational than you think—but rationality buys you less than you thought.
For a summary of the big-picture project and its connection to polarization in politics, see my blog post: "A Plea for Political Empathy". For an extended argument that polarization has rational causes, see the series Reasonably Polarized: Why politics is more rational than you think. For the latest, see the blog's feed.
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Email: kmdorst [at] mit.edu