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Rational RitualCulture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge$
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Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158280.001.0001

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(p.94) 4 Conclusion
Rational Ritual

Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter summarizes key themes. The book has attempted to show that the distinction between rationality and irrationality in the Western tradition cannot be easily maintained. It starts with a narrow, unadorned conception of rationality in the context of coordination problems and shows that the common knowledge required is substantially related to issues of intersubjectivity, collective consciousness, and group identity. It starts with isolated individuals facing real, practical problems of coordination and shows that transcending the “transmission” view of communication (first-order knowledge) and including the “ritual” view (common knowledge) is exactly what is required. By associating common knowledge with cultural practices, this book suggests a close and reciprocal relationship between the perspectives of rationality and culture, which are often thought separate or even antagonistic.

Keywords:   common knowledge, intersubjectivity, collective consciousness, group identity, rationality, irrationality, cultural practices, communication

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