This paper examines the epistemological arguments about markets and planning that emerged in a series of unpublished exchanges between Hayek and Neurath. The exchanges reveal problems for standard accounts of both the socialist calculation debates and logical empiricism. They also raise questions concerning the sources of ignorance and uncertainty in modern economies, and the role of market and non-market organisations in the distribution and coordination of limited knowledge, which remain relevant to contemporary debates in economics. Hayek had argued that Neurath's (...) work exemplified the errors of rationalism that underpinned the socialist project. In response Neurath highlighted assumptions about the limits of reason and predictability that the two theorists shared and attempted to turn those assumptions back against Hayek in a defence of the possibility of socialist planning. The paper critically compares Neurath's and Hayek's criticisms of rationalism and considers how far Neurath is successful in his attempt to employ Hayek's assumptions against Hayek himself. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 I would like to thank the staff at the Vienna Circle Institute for their assistance in consulting their copy of the Neurath Nachlass. I owe a debt of gratitude to Thomas Uebel and David Archard for their comments on earlier versions of this paper. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board and a Manchester University Hallsworth Fellowship in writing this paper. (shrink)
A tension is sometimes evident between some philosophical and anthropological approaches to environmental values, in particular between philosophical aspirations for a thin, cosmopolitan moral language that transcends local culture, and anthropological aspirations to uncover a thick normative vocabulary that is local to particular cultures. The potential dangers in the philosophical project of presenting specific local understandings and evaluations of nature as universal are illustrated in other papers in this volume. However at the same time they also highlight a false a (...) ssumption that underpins the apparent conflict between the two disciplinary approaches, the assumption that wider cosmopolitan conversations require abstraction from thick normative vocabulary. Examples of local resistance to the imposition of particular understandings of nature point in the opposite direction, illustrating the way in which it is as one moves to thicker descriptions with greater interpretative depth that the possibility and actuality of shared conversation around values emerges. The project of engaging in more universal ethical reflection is quite compatible with the project of uncovering interpretative depth. The general critical project of philosophy is enriched by engagement with the anthropological project. (shrink)
Hayek's epistemic arguments against planning were aimed not just against socialism but also the tradition of ecological economics. The concern with the physical preconditions of economic activity and defence of non-monetary measures in economic choice were expressions of the same rationalist illusion about the scope of human knowledge that underpinned the socialist project. Neurath's commitment to physicalism, in natura calculation and planning typified these errors. Neurath responded to these criticisms in unpublished notes and correspondence with Hayek. These highlighted the epistemological (...) premises his work shared with Hayek's, representing a response to Hayek from Hayek's own assumptions. This paper examines the cogency and continuing relevance of the arguments in this debate. (shrink)
Hayek's epistemic arguments against central planning and in defence of market economies have recently been redeployed by some market-socialists against more decentralized models of non-market socialism. This paper considers the cogency of these arguments through an examination of an unpublished exchange in the socialist calculation debates between Hayek and a proponent of non-market associational models of socialism, Otto Neurath. Contrary to the standard view of the debates, Neurath shared many of the assumptions of Hayek's epistemic arguments and similarly criticized technocratic (...) models of planning. The paper outlines Neurath's defence of associational socialism from his early role in the Bavarian revolution through his engagement in the post-war housing movements in Vienna and the unity of science movement. While Neurath's response to Hayek is not entirely successful, his proposals for associational models of socialism point to problems not just in Hayek's criticisms of non-market socialism, but also those of more recent market-socialists. (shrink)
Deliberative or discursive models of democracy have recently enjoyed a revival in both political theory and policy practice. Against the picture of democracy as a procedure for aggregating and effectively meeting the given preference of individuals, deliberative theory offers a model of democracy as a forum through which judgements and preferences are formed and altered through reasoned dialogue between free and equal citizens. Much in the recent revival of deliberative democracy, especially that which comes through Habermas and Rawls, has Kantian (...) roots. Deliberative institutions are embodiments of the free public use of reason that Kant takes to define the enlightenment project. Within the Kantian model the public use of reason is incompatible with the use of rhetoric. While this paper rejects strong rhetorical criticisms of deliberative democracy which render all communication strategic, it argues that rhetorical studies of deliberation have highlighted features of deliberation which point to significant weaknesses in Kantian approaches to it. Two features are of particular importance: the role of testimony and judgements of credibility in deliberation; and the role of appeal to emotions in public discourse. Both from the Kantian perspective are potential sources of heteronomy. However, the appeal to testimony and emotion are features of public deliberation that cannot and should not be eliminated. For those committed to the enlightenment values that underlie the deliberative model of democracy the question is whether these rhetorical features of deliberation are incompatible with those values. The paper argues that they are compatible. It does so by defending an Aristotelian account of rhetoric in public deliberation which denies the Platonic contrast between reasoned discourse and rhetoric which the Kantian model inherits. (shrink)
"Nature" and "wilderness" are central normative categories of environmentalism. Appeal to those categories has been subject to two lines of criticism: from constructivists who deny there is something called "nature" to be defended; from the environmental justice movement who point to the role of appeals to "nature" and "wilderness" in the appropriation of land of socially marginal populations. While these arguments often come together they are independent. This paper develops the second line of argument by placing recent appeals to "wilderness" (...) in the context of historical uses of the concept to justify the appropriation of land. However, it argues that the constructivist line is less defensible. The paper finishes by placing the debates around wilderness in the context of more general tensions between philosophical perspectives on the environment and the particular cultural perspectives of disciplines like anthropology, in particular the prima facie conflict between the aspirations of many philosophers for thin and cosmopolitan moral language that transcends local culture, and the aspirations of disciplines like anthropology to uncover a thick moral vocabulary that is local to particular cultures. (shrink)
What is it for a situation to be worse or better for someone? This paper considers an answer to that question which draws on a distinction implicit in a work of Chekhov between a happy and a worthwhile life. It examines the implications of that answer for recent debates about equality, outlining the virtues of a virtues-based egalitarianism.
One influential approach to environmental problems holds that their solution requires the definition of full liberal property rights over goods that will enable their value to be registered in actual or hypothetical markets. How adequate is that solution? In this paper I offer reasons to be sceptical, by placing recent liberal arguments in the context of older debates about property, in particular those concerned with the distribution of care. Although proposals for the extension of liberal property rights over environmental goods (...) often appeal to arguments from the need to distribute care, I show that there are conflicts between them. Care for particular places that embody the life of a community that has an existence over time is often expressed through resistance to liberal property rights. We express mutual obligations to members of a community through a denial of exclusive property rights over certain common goods. Also, what constitutes care for environmental goods itself is contested across class, occupation, culture, and history. Conflicts between those with different conceptions of care are often expressed through conflicts in property rights. The justification of property rights by appeal to particular accounts of proper care has, from the time of Locke to the present, been invoked to legitimate the appropriation of goods. The introduction and maintenance of liberal property-rights regimes involves the creation and sustenance of a particular distribution of social power, and should be understood as such. (shrink)
Problems of representation lie at the centre of recent experiments in deliberative democracy. The problems are not primarily social scientific questions concerning the statistical representiveness of small-scale deliberative institutions but normative questions about their political and ethical legitimacy. Experiments in deliberative democracy often rely for their representative legitimacy on appeals to the presence of members of different groups. However, they often do so without clear sources of authorisation and accountability from those represented. The representation of nonhumans and future generations in (...) deliberative institutions is still more problematic. In the necessary absence of their authorisation, accountability, and presence, claims to speak on their behalf relies on epistemic claims, coupled with care. To highlight these problems is not to claim that small deliberative institutions are illegitimate but rather to point out the need for a clearer account of their role in democratic institutions and the proper sources of contestability of their outcomes. (shrink)
Landscapes are public environments in which different communities and individuals dwell and which matter to them in ways which are not always consistent. As such they are open to strong conflicts about what the future of landscapes ought to be and who has an entitlement to involvement in a decision about that future. How should such conflicts be resolved? One influential approach is that embodied in the practice of cost-benefit analysis: the strength of preferences for different landscapes is measured by (...) individuals' willingness to pay and the potential Pareto improvement efficiency criterion is employed as a rule of choice. This paper contends that this approach is flawed. It examines an economic valuation study of landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales. Drawing on interviews with farmers in the Dales and on in-depth discussion groups with respondents to other economic valuation studies, it argues that landscape conflicts involve issues of identity that cannot be captured in terms of preference satisfaction and conflicts of perceived rights which could not in principle be resolved by cost-benefit analysis. (shrink)
Recent rhetorical critiques of philosophy and science assume a contrast between rational argument and rhetoric that is inherited from an antirhetorical tradition in philosophy. This article rejects that assumption. Rhetoric is compatible with reasoned discourse in a strong sense originally outlined by Aristotle. Rhetorical analysis reveals the inadequacy of purely demonstrative accounts of rational argument and cognitive accounts of the conditions for rational assent to propo sitions. Social studies of the rhetoric of science, and in particular of credibility claims, need (...) not fall into the forms of relativism and global antirealism with which they have become associated. (shrink)
This paper responds to Pope John Paul's "Veritatis Splendor". It defends one of its claims, that some human acts are intrinsically evil, and relates it to another, that one should live in truth. It outlines two versions of the idea of living in truth and argues that the Thomist position defended in the encyclical is to be preferred. However, the paper rejects the encyclical's authoritarianism. It criticizes not the concept of 'authoritative teaching' as such -- all teaching presupposes epistemological (...) authority -- but the way in which the encyclical's characterization of such authority is incompatible with one of its preconditions -- reasoned dialogue. (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish two problems of induction: a problem of the uniformity of nature and a problem of the variety of nature. I argue that the traditional problem of induction that Popper poses—the problem of uniformity—is not that which is relevant to science. The problem relevant to science is that of the variety of nature. *I would like to thank Bob Hale, Russell Keat and the Journal's referee for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
In a recent article, ?Marxism and Radical Democracy?,1 Femia argues that Marxism is incompatible with radical democracy. In so doing he specifically reiterates2 a now common claim that the notion of scientific socialism defended by Marx and Engels and prevalent in the Second International is anti?democratic. This claim has not only been made by critics of Marxism.3 It has been a major criticism of classical Marxism within the Western Marxist tradition, in particular? in the work of the Frankfurt School.4 It (...) is one of the main reasons why the classical Marxism of Engels and the Second International has been rejected as positivist and vulgar: no modern sophisticated Marxist admits to either positivism or vulgarity. In this paper I examine and reject Femia's arguments for the claim that the notion of scientific socialism is undemocratic. I argue that the orthodox view of Marxism as a scientific theory is compatible with democracy, and indeed encourages a democratic understanding of socialism. A thoroughly vulgar Marxism is thoroughly democratic. (shrink)