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False Rationality and the Tragedy of the Commons: Toward a More Pertinent Approach to Social Dilemmas

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Meyer, Leandro F. F.; Braga, Marcelo José
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 5
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 18-21, 2014
Date: 2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9387
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): social dilemmas
institutional analysis--IAD framework
tragedy of the commons
Abstract: "In Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future, Edgar Morin points to disjunction, false rationality, reductionism and closed specialization as essential problems that challenge our ability to generate pertinent knowledge in general. The standard theory of social dilemmas offers one of the most striking examples of how pertinent knowledge can be lost amid the rationalizations generated by disciplinary specialization. The latest developments in the study of social dilemmas devote an increasing amount of attention to cognition, belief systems, valuations, and language. However, the developments in this field operate almost entirely under epistemological assumptions that recognize only the instrumental form of rationality and deny that 'value judgments' or 'moral questions' have cognitive content. This standpoint erodes the moral feature of the choice situation and prevents the acknowledgment of the links connecting cognition, inner growth, and moral reasoning. It also deemphasizes the significance of these links to achieving cooperative solutions to many social dilemmas. Concurrently, this standpoint renders mysterious the role of communication and mutual understanding in promoting cooperation in those situations. The presentation brings the epistemological issue to the fore in order to introduce a proposal that enlarges the Institutional Analysis and Development framework by integrating moral cognitivism and Action Logic into it to describe orders of development as discrete meaning making stages. The presentation advances an empirical strategy to test the power of alternative models of human valuation to predict the mixed choices of the participants in social dilemmas experiments under similar institutional conditions, including different uses of communication."

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