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Is there a word or phrase, pejorative or otherwise, for someone who is not equipped with the tools of rationality? E.g.

A: "Every time I wear my lucky shirt I get more green traffic lights."

B: "Maybe you just notice green lights more when you are wearing your lucky shirt because you believe it to be lucky?"

A: "No, I definitely hit more green lights. I wore it to the Super Bowl and hit every green on the way out the city."

B: "Oh, interesting. Did you consider the lights may be configured that way to get better through flow of traffic in busy periods? In traffic management they call it a 'green wave'."

A: "How would you know? You don't even drive."


Or in political argument:

A: "The Holocaust is a lie."

B: "What make you say that?"

A: "I just know it."

B: "How do you know it?"

A: "My uncle is German, he says so."

Etc. Etc.


Example sentence: "A is such a [...], trying to have a rational argument with him is like bashing your head against a brick wall."

I feel like "airhead" or "simpleton" would come close but I feel that those imply stupidity and, in society's eyes, stupidity doesn't infer irrationality.


Please note: I am not trying to infer madness or eccentricity. More like "the opposite of someone you would find on a debate team."

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  • 3
    I’d just call them an idiot
    – Jim
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:37
  • 1
    My two cents on the words, but not sure what you're hoping for. I'm sort of partial to one of Ricky's three suggestions, 'dingbat'. While 'idiot' has it's strong merits, it's common use has come to mean "a-hole" and less it's original meaning of inherent mental shortcoming/disability. Some of the other answers people are giving refer to an intransigence of changing opinions without enough emphasis on the "beyond comprehension" feel which would make it almost impossible to even begin to address or try to understand where they are coming from to hope to use their own approach to sway them.
    – Tom22
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:49
  • If you're looking for "someone who makes unclear arguments" .. you might try Obtuse , but all of your examples seem more like a matter of the person being delusional as much as unclear or dogmatic
    – Tom22
    Apr 18, 2017 at 2:24
  • Fallacious thinker, fallacious reasoner, fallacious arguer, fallacist, etc. Apr 18, 2017 at 5:42
  • 1
    Human being seems like the most accurate term. There's plenty of research to show we mainly use "logic" to justify our emotional decision making after the fact. Apr 18, 2017 at 5:42

9 Answers 9

4

How about irrationalist?

TFD:

irrationalist: a person who acts or behaves irrationally, or who holds irrational beliefs

irrational: inconsistent with reason or logic; illogical; absurd; incapable of reasoning

irrationalism: belief in feeling, instinct, or other nonrational forces rather than reason

5

You could call them a dogmatist.

[one who is] characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogmatic

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  • That's a nice one, I am wondering if there is a word which does not have connotations with proselytizing though.
    – Pocketsand
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:24
  • 1
    Practically speaking, I suspect that because you're seeking such a specific meaning, you'd be better off using an adjective. Having said that, from a purely academic perspective, I am curious if anyone can come closer. Apr 17, 2017 at 23:48
  • Same. I do not think I have ever heard a word for it but am curious to know if one exists. Fortunately I do not need to write it but, if I had to, I would probably go for "blissfully ignorant in the ways of rational argument" or something like that.
    – Pocketsand
    Apr 18, 2017 at 0:30
  • 1
    An intelligent person can often be dogmatic... disqualifying this word completely for me. (I'm being a bit dogmatic about that perhaps)
    – Tom22
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:51
4

I'd call them "a blockhead" or, depending on context, I'd say they're "adamant".

A blockhead if such unfruitful debate is due to absence of logical reasoning.

  • blockhead - (derogatory) a person regarded as very stupid; a dolt.

and I'd call them adamant if the barren discussion is due to their temperament.

  • adamant - (adj) unshakable in purpose, determination, or opinion; unyielding. Not willing to change one's opinion, purpose, or principles.
1

dingbat

Slang. an eccentric, silly, or empty-headed person.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/dingbat

screwball

Slang. an eccentric or whimsically eccentric person; a nut.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/screwball

Alternatively, you could say he's "impervious to logic."

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  • Sorry, I feel all but your last phrase infer a sort of wackyness (e.g. Kramer form Seinfeld) but I am thinking about purely irrationality rather than eccentricity or anything else which may be considered abnormal.
    – Pocketsand
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:17
  • I like dingbat because the person is prone to thoughts outside of normal reasoning .. to the point of empty-headedness. I don't like screwball which I agree is more like Kramer - who had his own mad logic but not always a patently wrong logic. (how do you argue that people would enjoy driving in wider lanes so he restriped the freeway section he adopted...thats screwball.. not wrong ... just missing the big picture). As for "impervious to logic", that would be a pretty accurate description if I understand the OP right, but it misses another level that implies being irrationally wrong.
    – Tom22
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:38
  • I'm not sure on the rules or what other people do, but it takes the fun out of it here when people put words with different nuances in the same answer... which one am I giving a thumbs up to? (so I don't)
    – Tom22
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:39
-1

Die-hard (MWD)

strongly or fanatically determined or devoted die–hardfans; especially :  strongly resisting change a die–hard conservative

Crackpot (MWD)

one given to eccentric or lunatic notions

-1

To answer your first example, I'd call the person superstitious.

I think the other answers cover the second example pretty well.

-1

Sciolist: a person who pretends to be knowledgeable and well informed.

Sophist: a person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments.

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  • Hi Desmond, welcome to EL&U. This isn't a bad start, but it's too short: the system has flagged it as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on EL&U is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. It's best if you edit your answer to provide more information - e.g., add a published definition of each word (linked to the source) and examples of its use. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour :-) Jan 12, 2019 at 22:54
  • NB sciolist is an archaic usage, while a sophist is rational and uses logic, so I don't think either word suits what the OP is looking for. Jan 12, 2019 at 22:57
-2

Why not just use the opposite... "Illogical"

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    How does illogical fit the sentence "A is such a [...]"? Note also, an answer on this site is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the Tour :-) Dec 9, 2018 at 10:33
  • As a Comment, obviously true. As an Answer, Stack Exchange demands provenance. Dec 10, 2018 at 20:51
-2

I'll simply call it "Sentiments" The person is simply being sentimental. that's it. you talk or argue based on what you feel and not based on reason and facts!

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  • 1
    Hi Peter, welcome to EL&U. I don't think this quite fits: "The person is such a sentiments" doesn't make sense. It's plural, for a start; but even as the singular noun sentiment, it's the wrong usage. Adding a dictionary definition to your answer is recommended not only for the information it provides, but as a useful check as you're drafting your answer. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour :-) Dec 23, 2018 at 6:31

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