Reason rules...: the utility of rationality and the rationality of utility

Reason rules...: the utility of rationality and the rationality of utility Almost every theory of human behavior is based upon some assumption of rationalty. Such an assumption is commonly believed to be necessary in order to distinguish rational behavior, which is, from non-rational behavior, which is not amenable to scientific investigation. This article presents a thorough re-examination of this assumption, an inquiry which turns out to raise all the central issues of both the methodology and the theory of behavioral inquiry generally. It leads to the somewhat surprising conclusion that the notion of rationality does not have any meaningful role to play in behavioral inquiry, and that there is no sense in distinguishing rational from non-rational or irrational behavior. It also shows that the generalization of the utility notion in terms of information makes it into a much more powerful and subtle tool of analysis than it commonly appears to be taken for. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Reason rules...: the utility of rationality and the rationality of utility

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1004298330577
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Almost every theory of human behavior is based upon some assumption of rationalty. Such an assumption is commonly believed to be necessary in order to distinguish rational behavior, which is, from non-rational behavior, which is not amenable to scientific investigation. This article presents a thorough re-examination of this assumption, an inquiry which turns out to raise all the central issues of both the methodology and the theory of behavioral inquiry generally. It leads to the somewhat surprising conclusion that the notion of rationality does not have any meaningful role to play in behavioral inquiry, and that there is no sense in distinguishing rational from non-rational or irrational behavior. It also shows that the generalization of the utility notion in terms of information makes it into a much more powerful and subtle tool of analysis than it commonly appears to be taken for.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 30, 2004

References

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