The logic of the detour

Jean-Pierre Dupuy

Table of Contents


The logic of the detour (“stepping back in order to better leap forward”) constitutes the heart of economic rationality. However, it is shown that: 1) the capacity to make detours, far from being an essential property of human beings, is either denied them, or very difficult to mobilize, in fundamental areas of their activity (ethics and epistemology); 2) this capacity, when it is actually present, far from constituting an “adaptive advantage”, can reveal itself to be the principal obstacle to the application of instrumental rationality, even though hasty analyses of the latter hold it to be closely tied to the former.


Instrumental rationality; Consequentialism; Beliefs; Counterproductivity.