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Monday, March 2, 2020

Folk standards of sound judgment: Rationality vs. Reasonableness

Igor Grossman and others
PsyArXiv Preprints
Last edited on 10 Jan 20


Normative theories of judgment either focus on rationality – decontextualized preference maximization, or reasonableness – the pragmatic balance of preferences and socially-conscious norms. Despite centuries of work on such concepts, a critical question appears overlooked: How do people’s intuitions and behavior align with the concepts of rationality from game theory and reasonableness from legal scholarship? We show that laypeople view rationality as abstract and preference-maximizing, simultaneously viewing reasonableness as social-context-sensitive and socially-conscious, as evidenced in spontaneous descriptions, social perceptions, and linguistic analyses of the terms in cultural products (news, soap operas, legal opinions, and Google books). Further, experiments among North Americans and Pakistani bankers, street merchants, and samples engaging in exchange (vs. market-) economy show that rationality and reasonableness lead people to different conclusions about what constitutes good judgment in Dictator Games, Commons Dilemma and Prisoner’s Dilemma: Lay rationality is reductionist and instrumental, whereas reasonableness integrates preferences with particulars and moral concerns.

The research is here.