This chapter discusses the concept of collective rationality. Collective rationality is rational cooperation guided by collective reasoning: ‘a cooperative effort, involving linguistic exchange, to answer a question or solve a problem confronting a group’. Debates concerning collective rationality reflect the divergent disciplinary backgrounds that influence its discussion. Two meanings of the concept of ‘collective rationality’ may be distinguished. The first is a collective decision, where ‘collective rationality’ records a form of group process to arrive at a decision. This may not reflect anything other than an aggregation of individual decisions (collective action). In the second, ‘collective rationality’ is a position or decision made by a collective entity. The ‘rationality’ reflects the position of a collective entity and is indicative of its collective agreement, however temporary (collective reasoning). At essence, both collective action and collective reasoning are debates about a collective good.
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