Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Thomas Uebel"

Titel: Logical Empiricism as Critical Theory? The Debate Continues
Autor: John O'Neill / Thomas Uebel
Seite: 379-398

Abstract: Is logical empiricism incompatible with a critical social science? The longstanding assumption that it is incompatible has been prominent in recent debates about welfare economics. Sen’s development of a critical and descriptively rich welfare eco nomics is taken by writers such as Putnam, Walsh and Sen to involve the excising of the influence of logical empiricism on neo-classical economics. However, this view stands in contrast to the descriptively rich contributions to political economy of members of the left Vienna Circle, such as Otto Neurath. This paper considers the compatibility of the meta-theoretical commitments of Neurath and others in the logical empiricist tradition with this first-order critical political economy.

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Titel: Self-love, Self-interest and the Rational Economic Agent
Autor: John O'Neill / Thomas Uebel
Seite: 184-204

Abstract: Hume has a special place in justifications of claims made for rational choice theory to offer a unified language and explanatory framework for the social sciences. He is invoked in support of the assumptions characterising the instru-mental rationality of agents and the constancy of their motivations across different institutional settings. This paper explores the problems with the expansionary aims of rational choice theory through criticism of these appeals to Hume. First, Hume does not assume constancy. Moreover, Hume's sensitivity to the relationships be-tween institutional setting and individual motivation owes something to the relative transparency of the plural language of vices and virtues that he employs. Second, rational choice theory's minimal modification of Hume's account of the relation of reason and the passions through the introduction of constraints of consistency on preferences is unstable.

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