University of Bristol Rationality and irrationality in intergroup relations. When we think of human attempts to understand the physical or the biological environment, man appears essentially as a n exploring and rational animal, stumbling heavily on his way, pulled back by his insufficiencies and stupidities, but still imperfectly rational, still engaged in what Sir Frederick Bartlett (1932) called many years ago the âeffort after meaning.â This effort does not translate itself into some mystical concept of a âgroup mind.ââ It works within the limits imposed by the capacities of individual human minds, and within the socially determined processes of the diffusion of knowledge. It is essentially a rational model, however imperfect the exploring rationality often appears to be. But there seems to be one exception to this model, one set of problems for the consideration of which we seem to have adopted a very different set of ideas. It is as if we were suddenly dealing with a different and strange animal that uses some of his abilities to adapt to some aspects of his environment, and is quite incapable of using them in order to adapt to others. T h e prevailing model of man as a
Journal of Social Issues – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1969
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