Communicative Action and Rational Choice / Edition 1

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In this book Joseph Heath brings Jürgen Habermas's theory of communicative action into dialogue with the most sophisticated articulation of the instrumental conception of practical rationality-modern rational choice theory.

Heath begins with an overview of Habermas's action theory and his critique of decision and game theory. He then offers an alternative to Habermas's use of speech act theory to explain social order and outlines a multidimensional theory of rational action that includes norm-governed action as a specific type.In the second part of the book Heath discusses the more philosophical dimension of Habermas's conception of practical rationality. He criticizes Habermas's attempt to introduce a universalization principle governing moral discourse, as well as his criteria for distinguishing between moral and ethical problems. Heath offers an alternative account of the level of convergence exhibited by moral argumentation, drawing on game-theoretic models to specify the burden of proof that the theory of communicative action and discourse must assume.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"This book is an original and important contribution to the literature on Habermas and the theory of communicative action. It is without equal in working out the implications of Habermas's theory in the philosophy of language and social theory." James Bohman, Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262582247
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Series: Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 375
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Heath is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Introduction 1
I Communicative Action 11
1 The Theory of Communicative Action 13
1.1 Outline of the Theory 17
1.2 Speech Act Theory 26
1.3 The Genesis of Communicative Action 35
1.4 The Structure of the Argument 45
2 Language and Strategic Action 49
2.1 The Instrumental Conception of Rationality 52
2.2 Game Theory 59
2.3 Signaling Games 65
2.4 Cooperative Alternatives 73
2.5 The Nature of Communication 78
3 Communication and Justification 83
3.1 Commitment and Instrumental Rationality 86
3.2 Discursive Commitment 92
3.3 The Three Validity Claims 107
3.4 The Analogy between Rightness and Truth 119
4 The Origins of Accountability 129
4.1 Equilibrium Selection 130
4.2 Two Solutions 135
4.3 A Problem 145
4.4 Social Norms 150
4.5 Differences from Habermas 161
II Discourse Ethics 173
5 Foundations of Discourse Ethics 175
5.1 Moral Noncognitivism 176
5.2 The Discourse Theory of Truth 180
5.3 The Discourse Theory of Rightness 189
5.4 The Dialogical Theory of Justification 195
5.5 The Discourse Principle 211
6 Universalization 219
6.1 Why Convergence? 220
6.2 The Universalization Principle 227
6.3 Moral and Ethical Questions 236
6.4 Bargaining and Consensus 242
7 Cognitivism and Convergence 255
7.1 Convergence and Representation 258
7.2 A Pragmatist Theory of Convergence 266
7.3 Convergence and Social Norms 272
7.4 Constructing Convergence 277
8 Transcendental Pragmatics 281
8.1 Transcendental Arguments 283
8.2 Revising the Rules of Discourse 289
8.3 Cultural Relativity 298
8.4 Why Argumentation? 303
8.5 Summary of Conclusions 307
Abbreviations of Works by Habermas 313
Symbols Used in the Text 315
Notes 317
Bibliography 349
Index 359
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