This article provides information about the meaning of rationality:
The term rationality denotes thought and action which are conscious in accord with the rules of logic and empirical knowledge, where objectives are coherent, mutually consistent and achieved by the most appropriate means.
The conviction that rationality, or reason, is the distinctive characteristic of human beings has made it a central theme in western philosophy for over two thousand years. In so far as this has led to an over-estimation of the place and power of reason in human society, it has been criticised as the doctrine of rationalism.
Max Weber, especially in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, 1921, has been responsible for the most extensive use of the term in sociology. He classifies all action into four types: “purposively rational, (‘Zweckrational’) action, where means are correctly chosen to obtain ends; value rational (‘Wertrational’) where action is in accord with conscious value standards; effectual; and traditional; the last two types being regarded as deviations from rational action”.
In his essay The Change to Change: Modernisation, Development, and Politics Huntington, has identified the following characteristics of the modernisation process:
i. Modernisation, and by implication development, is a revolutionary process. Efforts are made to transform rural agrarian cultures into urban industrial cultures. This is what Alvin Toffler would describe as the move from the first wave to the second wave.
ii. The process of both modernisation and development are complex and multidimensional with a series of cognitive, behavioural and institutional modifications and restructuring.
iii. Both are systemic processes since variation in one dimension produces important co-variations in other dimensions.
iv. They are global processes.
v. They are lengthy processes.
vi. Movement towards the goals of modernisation and development takes place through identifiable phases and sub-phases.
vii. They are homogenising processes.
viii. Except temporary breakdowns, both are irreversible processes.
ix. They are progressive processes. In the long run they contribute to human well-being, both culturally and materially.