Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rationality means the capacity to exercise reason, to think, infer, and reach conclusions logically. The word rationality derives from the Latin noun ratio , meaning not only calculation but also method, reason, and order. Some of the most basic questions asked about rationality include how and why we become rational and whether nonhuman animals or artificial intelligences can be rational as well. In addition to these epistemological questions, the human capacity for rationality has prompted questions that bear on political life. Some of the most important of these include: Is rationality a capacity nearly all human beings develop, or something only a few exhibit fully? Must we be rational to be moral, or to be free? How different thinkers answer these questions bears on how they assess the political implications of human rationality. Claims about who ought to be accorded political rights or exercise political power are often grounded in ...