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Reason in Action: Essays in the Philosophy of Social Science

Reason in Action: Essays in the Philosophy of Social Science

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Martin Hollis
Cambridge University Press, 12/7/1995
EAN 9780521447799, ISBN10: 0521447798

Paperback, 296 pages, 21.6 x 14 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

Did Adam and Eve act rationally in eating the fruit of the forbidden tree? That can seem to depend solely on whether they had found the best means to their ends, in the spirit of the 'economic' theories of rationality. In this 1995 book, Martin Hollis respects the elegance and power of these theories but judges their paradoxes endemic. He argues that social action cannot be understood by viewing human beings as abstract individuals with preferences in search of satisfaction, nor by divorcing practical reason from questions of the rationality of norms, principles, practices and ends. These essays, focused on the themes of 'rational choice', 'roles and reasons' and 'other cultures, other minds', make the point and explore alternative approaches. Culled in revised form from twenty-five years' work, the essays range across periods and disciplines with a philosophical imagination and vivid prose, which will engage philosophers and social scientists alike.

1. Prologue
reason in action
Part I. Rational Choice
2. Three men in a drought
3. Rational preferences
4. The ant and the grasshopper
5. Moves and motives
6. A rational agent's gotta do what a rational agent's gotta do!
Part II. Roles and Reasons
7. Of masks and men
8. Honour among thieves
9. Dirty hands
10. A death of one's own
11. Friends, Romans and consumers
Part III. Other Cultures, Other Minds
12. The limits of irrationality
13. Reason and ritual
14. The social destruction of reality
15. Hook, line and sinker
16. Say it with flowers
17. Reasons of honour.