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Judge Richard A. Posner - the doyen of the law and economics movement - is probably the leading proponent of the hypothesis that legal subjects act as if they were economically rational. Over the years, however, Posner's conception of rationality has devolved from end-means reasoning by a conscious individual human actor, to unconscious instinct which is, nevertheless, beneficial to an individual subject (animal or human) to the mechanistic reproductive activity of individual genes which may or may not be beneficial to either the organism of which the gene is a part - or even to the gene itself. Indeed, all that seems to be left of the "rational" component of Posnerian rationality might be the positive normative connotations of the term itself.
Jeanne L. Schroeder,
Economic Rationality, Empathy, and Corporate Responsibility,
George Washington Law Review
Available at: https://larc.cardozo.yu.edu/faculty-articles/389