San Diego Law Review

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AALS: Rationality of Rule-Following


In this Article, the author discusses the problem of the rationality of rule-guided behavior. He points our a hidden assumption of the dilemma, which he calls the "autonomy assumption." It holds that people who have adopted rules are free not to follow them. Nevertheless, these people choose to follow the rules each time they deem the rules applicable. Each act of compliance implies choice. His suggestion is that rules operate as constraints on action - one who adopts a rule is constraining his future self to follow it. The rule constrains nonconformity, but it does not compel the intentional action.

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