Rationality, Science, Markets

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Rationality, Science, Markets
Winter 2011

Gary Herrigel


This course examines basic oppositions in modern discussions of action in market society: for eg, instrumental vs practical reason, technical vs commercial reason, success oriented vs communication oriented action, production and labor vs praxis. The interest will be in understanding: 1.) the way in which these ideas about action are bound up with different understandings of science; and 2.) the normative implications that flow from these oppositions. A guiding concern in the course will be whether or not there are alternatives to or alternative ways to think about these oppositions. The course will also seek to stimulate thought on how the way we think about these categories shapes the way we think about the possibilities for reform in market societies.

Students will be expected to write a twenty-five page paper setting several of the authors’ dealt with in the course in dialogue with one another.
All students are also required to give a presentation on one of the readings. Team efforts are encouraged. The idea is not to summarize the reading. Rather, the aim should be to outline how the work should best be taught for the day.
Required Books:

Week One:

Week Two:

  • Thorstein Veblen, Theory of Business Enterprise (Transactions Publishers)

Week Three:

  • Emil Durkheim, Professional Ethics and Civic Morals (General Books/Routlege/Free Press)

Week Four:

  • Friedrich Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, V. 1: Rules and Order (University of Chicago Press)

  • Friedrich Hayek, “Economics and Knowledge”, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” “The Meaning of Competition” all in Idem, Individualism and Economic Order (University of Chicago Press)

Week Five:

  • Recommended: Habermas, “The Classical Doctrine of Politics in Relation to Social Philosophy” in idem, Theory and Practice (Beacon) 1973, pages 41-81

Week Six:

  • Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, (Chicago)

Week Seven:

  • John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty. Volume 4 of the Later Works of John Dewey, 1929(Southern Illinois Press)

Week Eight:

  • Debra Satz, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale. The Moral Limits of Markets (Oxford)

Week Nine:

  • Martin Hartmann and Axel Honneth. Paradoxes of capitalism. Constellations (2006) vol. 13 (1) pp. 41-58

  • Albena Azmanova. Capitalism Reorganized: Social Justice after Neo‐liberalism. Constellations (2010) vol. 17 (3) pp. 390-406

  • Mary Parker Follett, Community is a process. The Philosophical Review (1919) vol. 28 (6) pp. 576-588

  • Charles F Sabel, Design, Deliberation, and Democracy: On the New Pragmatism of Firms and Public Institutions. unpublished ms (1995) pp. 1-82

  • Recommended: Roberto Mangiabera Unger, The Self Awakened/Pragmatism Unbound (Harvard)

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