Balancing acts: Rational agency and efficacious action

Abstract
In this paper I try to problematize our conception of rational agency and to suggest that this conception is a matter of some practical and political significance. This is done on the one hand by indicating why more attention should be paid to the role of practical know-how, or skill, in the application of general laws or principles to particular cases, and on the other by looking to a Chinese model of efficacious action, where much attention is paid to cultivating the skills required to make the transition from general to particular, albeit at the expense of recognizing the significance of what we would think of as scientific understanding.
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