Entering and leaving the movie theater today I opted to use the stairs, while my two friends took the escalators. It dawned on me as I left that, while one escalator went upward, and the other moved downward, the staircase (and any staircase, for that matter), paradoxically goes neither upward nor downward and yet also goes both upward and downward. Or as the old riddle has it, "What goes up and down but does not move? … A set of stairs!"
Since rationality and irrationality have been on my mind of late, the analogy came to me that, ex hypothesi, the category of "rational action" is the upward moving escalator, while the downward moving escalator corresponds to "irrational action." For those who add a third category, "non-rational action," I suppose that would have to be the immobile, bidirectional staircase. Moving neither upward nor downward, the stairs are non-moving; analogously, being neither rational nor irrational, non-rational actions just sort of happen. They don't register any motion on the Rational-Irrational Meter.
But the analogy seems flawed for this reason: the only reason a staircase "goes" up or down is when we ascend or descend the stairs. It is our willed action to go up or down that invests the otherwise immobile stairs with a direction and a sense of motion. Hence, when combined with our walking (which I, in this analogy, correlate to our making a decision), a staircase is either "rational" (upward) or "irrational" (downward). Apart from our using its bidirectionality for some purpose, of course, the stairs really are "non-rational."
The point is that I still see no place for "non-rational reasons" in a theory of action. The only staircase that would be truly non-rational would be a completely flat one, in which case, however, it would not be a staircase.