Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
Abstract Rationality is commonly identified with axioms and rules, such as consistency, which are defined without reference to context, but are imposed in all contexts. In this chapter, I focus on the social context of rational behavior. My thesis is that traditional axioms and rules are incomplete as behavioral norms in the sense that their normative validity depends on the social context of the behavior, such as social objectives, values, and motivations. In the first part, I illustrate this thesis by showing that social context can determine whether an axiom or rule is satisfied or not. In the second part, I describe an alternative to context-independent rationality: a domain-specific theory of rational behavior derived from the evolutionary theory of cooperation.