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A Humanist Science$
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Philip Selznick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758628

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758628.001.0001

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Rationality and Responsibility

Rationality and Responsibility

Chapter:
(p.83) 7 Rationality and Responsibility
Source:
A Humanist Science
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758628.003.0007

This chapter examines the conflict between rationality and moral responsibility, arguing that fidelity to purpose has many benefits, but fosters a retreat from responsibility. This tension affects business, law, politics, education, and military planning when a specialized technique trumps or replaces moral judgment. In the nineteenth century, a “romantic” reaction against the eighteenth century found moral worth in history, culture, localism, and nationalism. This perspective undermined rationality in that it is divorced from fellowship and commitment. The chapter concludes that in an interdependent world, fidelity to purpose is subject to norms of responsibility.

Keywords:   fidelity to purpose, rationality, moral judgment, moral responsibility

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