How should guide ones actions on the international arena? What are the relations between morality and rationality in international politics? Is ethical guidelines mere wrappings, or do these guidelines have influence on its own? These questions are often asked and are interesting to study closer.
This thesis highlights the following question: How do morality and rationality motivate actions, in international politics? In answering this question, the following questions are discussed: (i) what is rational, what is ethical and how do people act in the prisoner's dilemma? (ii) What is rational, what is ethical and how do people act in ultimatum and dictator games? (iii) is morality only used as a rhetorical wrapping or is it a motivation on its own?
In discussing these questions, game theory is used. Experiments on how people act in situations that resemble the prisoner's dilemma, ultimatum and dictator games are referred to. These experiments show that people tend to act less rational than game theory (and rationality) predicts.
Different definitions of rationality are discussed, but Elster's thin theory is mainly used. Different ethical theories are also discussed. Utilitarianism and "the golden rule" are used throughout the thesis, as ethical guidelines. John Rawls' maximin principle is also referred to.