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The Rationality Principle Idealized

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Abstract:

According to Popper’s rationality principle, agents act in the most adequate way according to the objective situation. I propose a new interpretation of the rationality principle as consisting of an idealization and two abstractions. Based on this new interpretation, I critically discuss the privileged status that Popper ascribes to it as an integral part of all social scientific models. I argue that as an idealization, the rationality principle may play an important role in the social sciences, but it also has inherent limitations that inhibit it from having the privileged status that Popper ascribes to it in all cases.

Keywords: Abstractions; Idealizations; Models; Popper; Social Sciences

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2011.604448

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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