Complexity and Rationality in Public Life

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Increasing complexity in the contemporary world calls into question prevailing notions of rationality in public policy and political life. Even in their most refined forms, instrumental‐analytic strategies of decision are inherently limited when confronted with complexity. Communicative rationality, rooted in the intersubjective understanding of competent actors, could cope more effectively with complex social problems. By implication, political institutions grounded in instrumental rationality may be less effective than those providing for reasoned discourse among concerned actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-442
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


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