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I came across this sentence:

Marriage is -- first and foremost -- a societal institution, which is why it is only natural that it would primarily be formed in a magistrate.

I find this argument to be overly-simplistic, because it appears to ignore all the cultural background of marriage as an institution. But if I had to describe this argument, I would like to use an adjective that draws attention to its "rationality". I'm not really sure how to describe it. To me the argument seems too focused on being rational (i.e. based on cold hard logic), and in doing so it ignores the more humane aspects of marriage, which in my opinion is un-wise.

That's how I feel, and that's what I'd like to communicate.

Is there any (probably uncommon and advanced-level) adjective that would help me communicate my thoughts? A bit longer expressions are also fine, it doesn't need to be one single word. I'm just looking to expand my vocabulary.

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    Saying it's too "cold" is already a good adjective for this. You could also see the synonyms for "cold" as related to "clinical." – Teacher KSHuang Apr 11 '17 at 10:01
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    "Overly" rational or "mis-rational"? :-) Anyway, faulty reasoning usually results in a fallacious argument. – Damkerng T. Apr 11 '17 at 10:24
  • I'm curious now who wrote this and what their intended meaning really was. "be formed in a magistrate"?? – user3169 Apr 11 '17 at 23:55
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You don't really have a problem with the rationality of the statement, but the narrowness or over-simplicity of it. The statement draws a conclusion but the conclusion is not the best it could be because not all the details are considered.

A possible good word to describe this other than your already chosen over-simplistic would be myopic - the argument is too narrow - only considering one society and not how people act as individuals or in other societies. Other synonyms may work such as shortsighted.

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Hyperrational is overly rational. It is used to describe people who spend too much time thinking about the calculations that go into making the most perfectly rational decision.

Unsympathetic, dispassionate, and robotic are words that describe people who make decisions with no regard for emotional impact.

Pragmatism can be effectively used with a negative connotation if you try.

Stoicism is a philosophy that discourages showing emotion. You might find the word you want in criticisms of stoicism.

Detached rationality might be what you are looking for.

You might be able to describe the thinking as utilitarian or purely transactional.

There might be some food for thought in exploring the question of whether the semantics and etymology of words like "marriage" and "society" should dictate the best path forward.

Alexithymia is a trait related to the inability to comprehend emotion.

I do take issue with one phrase in your question. "Overly rational, at the expense of reason" seems like a contradiction to me. I would suggest something more like "Overly rational, at the expense of any reasonable reality."

I wish you the best of luck trying to find an intellectual-sounding word that basically means overly-intellectual.

  • Thanks for the answer. As for the last two bits: Brevity is. I know that rationality, logic, and reason are synonyms for the most part, but "reason" was the best word I could come up with ("reasonable reality" doesn't sound much better to my ear). – MGlacier Apr 11 '17 at 19:45

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