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Rationality and its cognates (rational, reason, reasonableness), are, in anthropology, usually ascribed to ideas or thought (‘magic is irrational, science is rational’), to action (‘cloud-seeding is rational, rain dance is irrational’), or to social arrangements (‘feud is an irrational feature of social organization, bureaucracy a rational feature’). Some history will help explain this proliferation, while more recent debates show how to make some simplification.