Autonomy, Adaptation, and Rationality—A Critical Discussion of Jon Elster’s Concept of “Sour Grapes,” Part II

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (2):173-205 (1999)


This paper argues against Jon Elster's contention that there is a fundamentalincompatibility between, on one hand, autonomy and rationality and, on theother hand, adaptation to conditions of one's existence in the sense that one'sdesires or preferences are adjusted to what it is possible to achieve. While thefirst part of the paper more narrowly concentrated on Elster's discussion ofthese ideas, this second part goes on to a more general discussion of the conceptof rationality. On the basis of this discussion, it is claimed that Elster's conclusionsconcerning autonomy and adaptation are premised on a defective conceptionof human experience and rationality. Moreover, the claim is made that thesedefects are also characteristic of "rational choice theory" more generally.

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References found in this work

The Tacit Dimension. --.Michael Polanyi & Amartya Sen - 1966 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality.Jon Elster - 1983 - Editions De La Maison des Sciences De L'Homme.
Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences.Jon Elster - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
Ulysses and the Sirens: Studies in Rationality and Irrationality.Jon Elster (ed.) - 1979 - Editions De La Maison des Sciences De L'Homme.

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Citations of this work

In Defense of Adaptive Preferences.Donald W. Bruckner - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):307 - 324.

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