Reflexivity and Social Science


In social life rationality must be—and generally is—finely tuned to deal with differences in order to make the best of them so that we can achieve individual and collective goals. Some people prefer to speak French, some English; a few people are pianists, but there are many more who like to listen to piano music; some individuals are very good at fixing cars, and enjoy doing it for a living, whereas others have trouble finding the oil reservoir. We map our activities in terms of such differences. In economic realms, in contrast, we have identity of interests—the pursuit of our own particular well-being. The complementarity of social interests helps to limit exploitation and cheating (free-riding) in economic life. But not entirely. This is the analytical problem I pursue in this book.


Social Contract Economic Life Social Rationality Collective Goal Economic Realm 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1993

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