Interesting discussion, though I'm afraid we're veering off-topic here. :'D
Heh. As a bit of a philosophy nerd, it's an area of interest
I feel the causality sequence you describe is too simple to explain rationality. It's great that you used beer as an example, so lets stick with it for a moment:
You say: I desire a beer and believe that a beer is available in a location, then moving my bum to said location is rational behavior.
While that may true for the action taken, I'd go a step further back and analyze the desire:
I desire beer. A beverage that (usually) contains alcohol, which is toxic and addictive. Now I may like the taste, bubbliness, whatever of the beverage but willingly desiring to poison my body is as illogical and irrational as it gets. Wouldn't a rational decision be to NOT get the beer and subsequently NOT harming my body/further risk an alcohol addiction? Am I truly acting in a rational manner when I let emotions guide me (in this case, the desire for the beverage)?
The account of rationality I gave doesn't ignore that we have competing desires. I may desire to eat a yummy doughnut in front of me, yet also know that I am overweight and pre-diabetic and I also desire to lose weight and control my diet. If I survey my competing desires, I'll find my desire to be healthy is stronger and/or attached to a wider range of desires that will be fulfilled by becoming more healthy, and so the balance of desires/reason may tip in favor of not eating the doughnut.
But there are always variables and differing priorities to weigh, based on personal proclivities and values. I don't go mountain climbing because it holds no interest or value to me, so it's not worth the risk. But climbing mountains may satisfy someone else's deepest desires and so on their balance, it becomes worth the risk. Everything we do carries some risk, even going to the store, so we just look at what we personally value to make our decisions. If someone is "take it or leave it" about drinking beer, maybe drinking beer on weekends wouldn't make sense. But if someone finds a great amount of pleasure in doing so, then that can tip the scales to "worth the risk" just as someone else may choose to go skiing on weekends. (And likely occasional drinking isn't very risky in the first place).
So, as always, what is "rational" in terms of behaviour will always reduce to weighing desires/beliefs/actions that will tend to fulfill those desires.
Acting on desire and belief may lead me to kill every member of an opposing religion because they desecrate my chosen deity. according to your definition, that would be "acting on my beliefs and desires" and thus completely rational behavior.
That's true. A belief doesn't necessarily have to be true in order for it to inspire rational behavior. Yesterday I grabbed the car keys to use the car for a trip to the hardware store. But when I got to the driveway I saw my wife had taken the car to work that morning (doesn't usually do so). My belief that the car was there for me to use was incorrect. But my behavior in expecation of taking a drive was totally rational given the belief the car was there as usual. So behavior motivated by false beliefs can be rational with regard to those beliefs and desires. We can of course talk about which beliefs themselves are rational, and how to best form rational beliefs, but that gets in to another topic.
I don't think this is a fair analogy. You are comparing a "no-choice scenario" to a deliberate choice here.
If a decent vinyl setup was all I had, you can bet your gluteus maximus on it, that I would enjoy the crap out of it. As you said: the systems are already good enough to get the musical message across.
Good, we agree. Simply seeking a musical experience is rational.
Lets step away from the term "irrational" and call it "emotion driven decision". The above is 100% that. A logical decision would be to know that you do not need a ritual or a spinning disc to focus on music. Logically, these things are all irrelevant (assuming the actual musical content is the same).
You are making a mistake, arguing from arm-chair "logic" and your own presumptions and proclivities, and forgetting to incorporate empirical realities about human psychology.
So from my own experience: While it is the case I can enjoy music on any number of systems, that tends to be more as a background listening. So I can enjoy
music playing in the background on our kitchen smart speaker while I prepare dinner, but it's not a device that would encourage me to sit down and listen, focusing only on the music and doing nothing else. That's what my high end system is for - high quality sound and focused listening.
So when it comes to my goal of focused listening, contrary to your claim, I do indeed find that I am much more able to focus on listening when I'm spinning vinyl, vs when I am streaming music. When I have millions of tracks at the swipe of my fingertip, I tend to engage music that way, swiping, swiping, swiping through tracks...looking for the next thing "i might like better" like how being on the internet tends to produce this mindset for many people. When I play vinyl I effortlessly forget "seeking the next track" and just listen to a whole album (usually). That's what I'm seeking, that's what listening to vinyl satisfies among other things. Now, the fact YOU might not have the same psychological reaction to streaming doesn't negate for a moment the reality of my own psychological reaction. Therefore streaming may be the reasonable choice for YOUR purposes, but not always for MINE. So, no, it's wrong to say "logically these things are all irrelevant." In fact, "some things" affect how people experience "other things."
You deliberately choosing the vinyl setup over your digital one, despite having the same master available for both is akin to people choosing a different EQ profile, depending on the mood of the day.
To reiterate: I'm not saying it is "wrong" to do so, but it is not logical behavior. It is emotional behavior.
And that is what I wanted to express in my first post about humans being "irrational" creatures. That absolutely includes myself of course.
While I appreciate you include yourself, you are still suggesting some divide between "rational" and "irrational" behaviour with regards to choosing which format to listen to. You have been trying to defend that listening to digital would be "rational" while choosing vinyl would represent "irrational" choices. For all the reasons I've given, that's just not so. Dig down to the reasons you WANT to use the most accurate source you can and you will inevitably hit your own emotional desire as the reason. You aren't just some disapationate scientist in persuing a good sound system and listening to music. The underlying motivation is no doubt a love of music and ultimately how YOU want to experience it. You prefer as much accuracy as possible. It's a personal choice and we can talk about "what actions would be rational GIVEN the desire for sonic accuracy." But that's just a preference-driven choice, just like mine to often play vinyl. Given differences in individuals and their goals, there is no rational/irrational divide embedded IN THE MEDIUM. It all boils down to achieving what the individual desires to achieve, so satisfy his/her preference.