Sociological Forum

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 21–41 | Cite as

Shrewdly irrational

  • Robert H. Frank


This comment on Professor Etzioni's essay consists of three parts. First, it suggests that much of the evidence he describes, both for and against the rationality hypothesis, is much weaker than it appears. Second, it discusses some additional evidence that poses difficulty for the narrow rationalist view. Finally, it examines Etzioni's “caring and sharing” evidence, which poses the sharpest challenge of all to the rationalists. It suggests that although “caring and sharing” is indeed irrational by the conventional standard, there are good reasons why someone who is purely self-interested might wish to become a caring and sharing person. To be such a person, it argues, is to be “shrewdly irrational.”


Good Reason Social Issue Rationalist View Conventional Standard Rationality Hypothesis 
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Copyright information

© Eastern Sociological Society 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. Frank
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityUSA

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