Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Der ökonomische Ansatz in den Sozialwissenschaften II

1989 (11) Issue 1



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Table of Contents

Title: Hermeneutik als Heilmittel? Der ökonomische Ansatz und das Problem des Verstehens
Author: Hans Albert
Page: 1-22

Abstract: Social scientists usually presuppose that individual behaviour is meaningful and understandable. At the same time they aim at nomological explanations. This is criticized by some economists who recommend a hermeneutical turn to overcome the crisis in economic and sociological thinking. The author tries to show that it is counterproductive to turn to hermeneutics to solve social science problems, and that it is misleading to use Max Weber in support of this claim, because Weber's ideas are incompatible with hermeneutics à la Heidegger.

Title: Der ökonomische Erklärungsansatz in der Soziologie
Author: Erich Weede
Page: 23-51

Abstract: The economic approach to sociology accepts purposeful behavior at the level of the individual, but rejects functionalism at the group level. It posits rationality or the attempt to maximize utilities. In general, it assumes stable preferences and selfishness. Here, the rational action model of human behavior is applied to the division of labor, exchange, and team production; to social norms and deviant behavior; to rebellions and revolutions. A focus on inequalities in resource endowments and motivation together with insights from the logic of collective action provide the typical point of departure in these analyses.

Title: Der Homo Oeconomicus: Ausnahmeerscheinung in jeder Situation oder Jedermann in Ausnahmesituationen?
Author: Reinhard Zintl
Page: 52-69

Abstract: Even if formally precise, the economic concept of rationality has different empirical implications depending on how it is used in theory building. If it is used as a tool of microfoundation in multi-level analysis it can be applied universally, but does not imply a specific model of human behavior. As a means of constructing microtheories proper it is, on the other hand, translated into a definite model of man but can be applied only to specific situations. This model, known as homo oeconomicus or economic man, should not be taken as an assertion about human nature but rather as a shorthand description of the behavior enforced and stabilized by social situations of a certain type.

Title: Methodologische Überlegungen zum ökonomischen Imperialismus
Author: Karl Homann / Andreas Suchanek
Page: 70-93

Abstract: Starting point is the thesis that economics as well as other social sciences - is imperialistic with regard to the area of its subject, but not with regard to its approach. Underlying economics is the following schema: Try to explain under the presumption that actors maximize their expected utility under constraints. Conditions and possibilities of interdisciplinary research within all sciences being considered imperialistic are discussed according to this schema. Theoretical guide-lines are provided by the systematic connection of 'problem' and 'schema', as well as the concept of 'fruitfulness' as primary criterion of judgement.

Title: Wissen, Präferenzen und Kommunikation - eine ökonomische Theorie
Author: Ulrich Witt
Page: 94-109

Abstract: Given that individual information processing and memory capacity are severely limited, many institutional and procedural properties of the social communication process can be explained within an individualistic approach as the outcome of a co-evolution of action-inherent knowledge and preferences. This argument is outlined by referring to phenomena such as the competitive release of information (advertising), the role of celebrities and the rent they collect, and some characteristic 'critical mass' features.