Compact stars by Glendenning

By Glendenning

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Therefore pure theories, in this case of homo oeconomicus, that deal only with one aspect of human nature, will surely miss important points about social reality. , sets of social rules, had to be created in order to remove us from the burden of having to make decisions in each situation; common rules also make the behaviour of other people more predictable. (b) following rules that have proved to be effective in the past may often be a better strategy than risking mistakes by trying new strategies in every new situation; (c) if an actor is known for the fact that he will follow a particular rule in a specific situation, he may obtain benefits by just following the rule, Vanberg illustrates this by a man of whom is known that he will not give in to blackmailers; as a consequence he will less likely be a target for blackmail.

To be sure, both Sanderson and Turner, for example, analyse domains like religion, education and science and describe their relevance for social evolution within the conceptual frame of their theories. Yet obviously they see no reason to distinguish between social structures and cultural ones. This makes sense in large comprehensive theories of society, which take culture for granted and which deal mainly with the evolution of social structures. Again, as in the case of the theories mentioned in (1), there may be some doubts as to whether things are so simple.

Culture often even determines the goals, as can be seen in the example of religious belief. Therefore no theory of rational actors can capture the factual behaviour of people in real situations without considering at least these three components. Let me summarise: at best theories of rational actors can cope with the emergence and evolution of social ordering structures, but they are blind to the importance of culture. That is not to say that these theories are worthless, on the contrary. They give important insights into the problem, what people can do when in doubtful situations, where no established rules fit.

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