The Concept of Rationality for a City
The central aim of this paper is to argue that there is a meaningful sense in which a concept of rationality can apply to a city. The idea will be that a city is rational to the extent that the collective practices of its people enable diverse inhabitants to simultaneously live the kinds of life they are each trying to live. This has significant implications for the varieties of social practices (including social customs, physical infrastructure, and laws) that constitute being more or less rational. Some of these implications may be welcome to a theorist that wants to identify collective rationality with a notion of justice, while others are unwelcome. There are some significant challenges to this use of the concept of rationality, but I claim that these challenges at the city level have parallels at the individual level, and may thus help deepen our understanding of rationality at all levels.
KeywordsCities Rationality Decision theory Collective agency Rational choice
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of interest
Kenny Easwaran declares that he has no conflicts of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.
- Alexander C (1965) A city is not a tree. Architect Forum 122(1):58–62Google Scholar
- Aron H (2017) A guide to L.A. etiquette in 6 public spaces. LA WeeklyGoogle Scholar
- Bernstein S (2003) Turning left on red is part of driving culture. The Los Angeles TimesGoogle Scholar
- Bostrom N (2012) The superintelligent will: motivation and instrumental rationality in advanced artificial agents. Minds and MachinesGoogle Scholar
- Cohen A (2008) The ultimate Kantian experience: Kant on dinner parties. Hist Philos Q 25(4):315–336Google Scholar
- Evnine S (2005) Containing multitudes: reflection, expertise, and persons as groups. Episteme 57–64Google Scholar
- Goldsmith S (1963) Designing for the disabled: a manual of technical information. Royal Institute of British Architects, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Goldsmith S (2000) Universal design: a manual of practical guidance for architects. Architectural Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Kolodny N (2007) How does coherence matter? Proc Aristot Soc 107:229–263Google Scholar
- Kopec M, Titelbaum M (2016) The uniqueness thesis. Philosophy CompassGoogle Scholar
- Omohundro S (2008a) The basic AI drives. In: Wang P, Goertzel B, Franklin S (eds) Proceedings of the first AGI conference, vol 171. Frontiers in artificial intelligence and applicationsGoogle Scholar
- Omohundro S (2008b) The nature of self-improving artificial intelligence. unpublishedGoogle Scholar
- Pierce J, Kolden C (2015) The hilliness of U.S. cities. Geogr Rev 104(4):600–851Google Scholar
- Searle J (1990) Collective intentions and actions. In: Cohen P, Morgan J, Pollack M (eds) Intentions in communication. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 401–415Google Scholar
- Tollefsen D (2002) Collective intentionality. Internet Encyclopedia of PhilosophyGoogle Scholar
- Walker J (2011) Human transit. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Whyte WH (1980) The social life of small urban spaces. Project for Public SpacesGoogle Scholar