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The Rationality of Rule-Guided Behavior: A Statement of the Problem, 42 University of San Diego Law Rev. 55 (2005)


It is often thought that rules are problematic because of their over- and underinc1usiveness. The worry presumably is that it can never be rational to guide one's conduct by rules because any rule will give this wrong recommendation in some cases, and it can never be rational to follow the wrong recommendation. To my mind, this isn't the real problem with rules, if only because the problem exists even in those instances when rules are not over- or underinc1usive-that is, even when they give the right result. For even when they give the right result, we can still ask: Why do I have a reason to guide my actions by the rule rather than just doing the right thing? If it is the right thing to do, then that is the only reason I need, not because the rule told me to do the right thing.

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