How to Integrate Economic, Social, and Political Theory: Revise the Rationality Principle

  • John Wettersten


Economic research is often isolated from social and political deliberations. Politicians put distinct results together in ad hoc ways. This state of affairs is explained as a result of equating rationality with coherence, system, and justification; the rationality principle, according to which social facts are to be explained as the result of coherent and/or justified plans of individuals, is singled out as the prime source of the isolation. A revised version is proposed which dispenses with the need for justification and/or coherence for (partially) rational action of individuals. Partially rational actions are attempts to solve problems within given institutional contexts; individual rationality is a social activity whose value depends on the quality of social standards which individuals use to guide their thought. This revision removes barriers between economic, social, and political theories, without blocking social scientific explanation. Indeed, it opens up possibilities now blocked.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Wettersten
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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