On Their Honor

Dueling: Deadly, Perhaps, But Hardly Irrational

April 9, 2010

Dueling may seem to be the ultimate irrational act, whether pistols at 20 paces or a swashbuckling sword fight at much closer quarters. But an AmherstCollege professor believes that duels were dangerous games that participants played for very rational reasons having to do with creditworthiness, honor and maintaining one’s social standing.