more from Jonathan Wolff

Single Idea 20483

[catalogued under 24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / c. A unified people]

Full Idea

We need to distinguish between individual and collective rationality. Collective rationality is what is best for each individual, on the assumption that everyone else will act the same way.

Gist of Idea

Collective rationality is individuals doing their best, assuming others all do the same


Jonathan Wolff (An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev) [2006], 1 'Hobbes')

Book Reference

Wolff,Jonathan: 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev)' [OUP 2006], p.15

A Reaction

Wolff is surmising what lies behind Hobbes's Laws of Nature (which concern collective rationality). The Prisoner's Dilemma is the dramatisation of this distinction. I would making the teaching of the distinction compulsory in schools.

Related Idea

Idea 20498 We should decide whether voting is for self-interests, or for the common good [Wolff,J]