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It was with a certain amount of surprise mixed in roughly equal proportions with curiosity that I recently accepted the task of writing a review of a work, published in…
It was with a certain amount of surprise mixed in roughly equal proportions with curiosity that I recently accepted the task of writing a review of a work, published in 2001, on the encounter between the Enlightenment (meaning the French Enlightenment) and postmodernism. Reading in the Scottish Enlightenment suggests a need to know something about the wider European context though the exclusivity of France as the Enlightenment or as the home of Enlightenment is no longer a sustainable proposition. The Scots, in their energetic Universities, were as much involved with applying Newton and developing Locke or extending Shaftesbury or countermanding Mandeville as they were with the continental philosophies. The proposition put to me, to persuade me to the task, was the work was likely to contain ideas that intellectual historians of economics might profit from. A reflection on the significance of two potentially conflicting sets of ideas ought to have significance for the study of 18th-century economics developed within the cultural context of wider Enlightenment thought.
Capitalism, religion and science (including calculative sciences such as accounting) have a long and turbulent relationship that, today, is manifest in the “War on…
Capitalism, religion and science (including calculative sciences such as accounting) have a long and turbulent relationship that, today, is manifest in the “War on Terror”. As social ideologies, religion and science have played a sometimes decisive influence in the history of capitalism. What can one learn from these past encounters to better understand their relationship today? This paper explores the historical origins of this relationship as a struggle over the ideals of the Enlightenment: – as decline of the modern and the rise of the postmodern. The paper begins by tracing the evolution of Christianities and their different potentials in both resisting and accommodating the extant social order. Islam, in contrast, has,until recently, enjoyed a relatively sheltered existence from capitalism, and today, some factions present a militant stance against the market and the liberal democratic state. Overall, the Enlightenment and modernist projects are judged to be jeopardy – a condition fostered by orthodox economics and accounting ideology, where it is now de rigueur to divide the secular from the non‐secular, the normative from the positive, and the ethical from the pragmatic or realist. Finally, the mechanisms behind this Enlightenment regression are examined here using literary analysis, as a modest prelude to developing a new politics for a progressive accounting; one that seeks to restore the integrity and probity of the Enlightenment Ideal.
Enlightenment philosophers profoundly influenced the emergence of democracy. Enlightenment ideas underlie much of the theory and practice of public procurement today…
Enlightenment philosophers profoundly influenced the emergence of democracy. Enlightenment ideas underlie much of the theory and practice of public procurement today. Economic theory, dating from the writings of Adam Smith and his mentor Frances Hutcheson, assumes that suppliers will act in their own self interest. Knowing this, public buyers seek to fashion incentives to align the private interests of suppliers with public needs. But Hutcheson and others argued that civic duty and benevolence should guide public servants in seeking value for their fellow citizens. That argument is the basis of our codes of ethics. The clams of public procurement to being a profession will be greatly bolstered when it is recognized that our knowledge base is rooted in the same Enlightenment thinking that undergirds other professions and academic disciplines.
Purpose – Appreciating the continuing relevance and contribution of Theodor W. Adorno's work requires acknowledgement of the difficulty to grasp his philosophy in a way…
Purpose – Appreciating the continuing relevance and contribution of Theodor W. Adorno's work requires acknowledgement of the difficulty to grasp his philosophy in a way that is consistent with that which is to be understood, as the necessary first step to achieving concordant understanding.
Design/methodology/approach – To assay an understanding of Adorno's quest for the object beyond the concept, it is best to undertake a journey through the complexity of his thinking, beginning with the book he wrote with Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment.
Findings – The difficulty to capture the substance of philosophy in a manner that allows for representation arises from the inherently processual character of philosophy, which is always both unfinished and without secure summation of report at any step along the way. Indeed, the difficulty is all the greater with respect to Adorno, in light of his postulate that philosophy “must strive, by means of the concept, to transcend the concept.”
Research limitations/implications – Adorno's obsession to overcome the compulsion of identity made him perceptive and blind at the same time. To liberate his insights from their reconciliatory-philosophical shroud, one would have to expose the concept of rationality to the same obsessive gaze under which false generalities dissolve in Adorno's philosophy.
Originality/value – The inherently processual character of Adorno's philosophy makes his writings especially germane to present conditions of modern society, as they highlight the importance of efforts to develop theories that are sufficiently sensitive to the dynamic character of modern society, including its inconsistencies and its contradictions.
While transhumanists and posthumanists understand the human condition as mutable, for transhumanists, this represents the possibility for enhancement, opening up a…
While transhumanists and posthumanists understand the human condition as mutable, for transhumanists, this represents the possibility for enhancement, opening up a teleological narrative of evolution toward. For posthumanists, it represents a fracturing of the liberal human subject, undermining its hegemonic principles. The former advocates the potentiality of instrumental rationality, the latter engages with values, demanding ethical consideration of the implications of the unmooring. This paper aims to conceive of a way to underpin posthumanist thought to enable to serve a more effective critique of transhumanist aims.
This is a theoretical paper that outlines a history of transhumanist thought and the roots of posthumanism. It provides a partially reconstructed enlightenment humanist framework to bolster the effectiveness of posthumanism as a critique of transhumanist thought.
The paper recognizes Theodor Adorno's conception that the central contradiction inherent to enlightenment thinking is the entanglement of knowledge and power. Hence, the metanarrative of progress as historical fact is fundamentally imbued with an imperial, colonizing force. For reason to achieve its promise as the organ of progress, it must become self-aware of its own limitations and its own potential destructiveness. Humility is, thus, vital in the task of preventing instrumental reason leading to inhuman ends.
Whilst developments such as “metahumanism” attempt to bring “posthumanism” and “transhumanism” into direct conversation, it is done from the perspective of uniting their positions. Here, the author endeavors instead to consider their antithetical nature and in particular whether posthumanism can provide an effective critique of transhumanism. Drawing on Adorno and Feenberg in particular, the author attempts to justify the posthuamanist theory but also to employ a partially reconstructed enlightenment humanism to bolster its fruitfulness as a critique of transhumanism.
In order to appreciate recent practical and theoretical changes in the field of public administration, this article contrasts the ancient to the modern view of “politics”…
In order to appreciate recent practical and theoretical changes in the field of public administration, this article contrasts the ancient to the modern view of “politics”. These contrasting views of politics are used to explain and evaluate the ongoing debate in public administration scholarship between what the authors call the contemporary “communitarian” school and the new public management school. By placing these competing schools of thought in public administration in the larger context of the history of political thought, the authors reveal some of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. They argue that in fact these two competing schools of thought capture the tension between the ancient and the modern views as they have developed in the history of Western political thought.
Allen’s critique of current Frankfurt School theory presents the joint methods of “problematizing genealogy” and “metanormative contextualism” as alternative for the…
Allen’s critique of current Frankfurt School theory presents the joint methods of “problematizing genealogy” and “metanormative contextualism” as alternative for the normative grounding of critical theory. Through a close reading of Allen’s critique, I investigate whether Allen’s identification of philosophy of history is an accurate diagnosis of the problems of the normative grounding of current Frankfurt School theory, whether Allen’s distinction between metanormative and normative levels is tenable for critical theory, and whether Allen’s methodology constitutes a viable alternative for the normative grounding of critical theory. As an alternative, I suggest scrutinizing the grounding strategies of current Frankfurt School theory to expand beyond their genealogy in Enlightenment thought, and address the question of what made the affirmative form of thought underlying current Frankfurt School theory a historical possibility. Expanding on Allen’s reiteration of the mediated nature of categories, I suggest that the stark contrast between forms of thought underlying first- and second-generation Frankfurt School critical theory needs to be understood not in relation to philosophy of history but against the backdrop of the specific context of the European historical present that informs its normative universe.
Austrian economist Ludwig Mises’s central role in the socialist calculation debates has been consensually acknowledged since the early 1920s. Yet, only recently Nemeth…
Austrian economist Ludwig Mises’s central role in the socialist calculation debates has been consensually acknowledged since the early 1920s. Yet, only recently Nemeth, O’Neill, Uebel, and others have drawn particular attention to Mises’s encounter with logical empiricist Otto Neurath. Despite several surprising agreements, Neurath and Mises certainly provide different answers to the questions “what is meant by rational economic theory” (Neurath) and whether “socialism is the abolition of rational economy” (Mises). Previous accounts and evaluations of the exchange between Neurath and Mises suffer from attaching little regard to their idiosyncratic uses of the term “rational.” The paper at hand reconstructs and critically compares the different conceptions of rationality defended by Neurath and Mises. The author presents two different resolutions to a detected tension in Mises’s deliberations on rationality: the first is implicit in Neurath’s, O’Neill’s, and Salerno’s reading of Mises and faces several interpretational problems; the author proposes a divergent interpretation. Based on the reconstructions of Neurath’s and Mises’s conceptions of rationality, the author suggests some implications with respect to Viennese Late Enlightenment and the socialist calculation debates.
This conceptual paper examines the claim of ahistorical, transcultural universality in aspects of Enlightenment thinking as it has been embedded in the assumptions of…
This conceptual paper examines the claim of ahistorical, transcultural universality in aspects of Enlightenment thinking as it has been embedded in the assumptions of classical economic theory. Specifically, with respect we query to presupposing rationality and maximization, that all nations are on an evolutionary course to betterment conceptualized as development and progress.
Using historical data, examined from a cross-cultural perspective, the arguments put forth in England in the late seventeenth century to justify the enclosures and private property, that led to revolution, are shown to have introduced new institutions, including private property, entrepreneurship and self-regulating markets.
Maximizing behavior is shown to be the result of successive generations being socialized under the new institutional arrangements that, conflated with modernity, were then taken to the Americas and South Asia as part of British colonial/imperial expansion.
When economic theory is examined in its cultural and historical context it is just one of a large number of possible cultural patterns.
If contemporary economic and social institutions, and the behaviors they produce, are but one of a number of alternative possibilities, many of the problems facing so many can be rethought and perhaps ameliorated with new institutional arrangements.