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October 2021

Discursive rationality and the division of labour: How cooperation emerges

Journal/Book: Amer J Econ Sociol. 1999; 58: 41 East 72ND Street, New York, NY 10021, USA. Amer J Econ Sociology Inc. 713-727.

Abstract: One of the great achievements of economic science is the explanation of the benefits of the division of labour in market economies. However, despite its merits this utilitarian explanation is insufficient as an account for the widespread division of labour, This insufficiency stems from the normative shortcomings of the harmony-of-interests doctrine, which cannot justify the respect of private-property titles and, therefore, cannot explain on purely utilitarian grounds the fact that the division of labour is as widespread as it in fact is. Mariam Thalos has recently provided a partial solution to this problem by arguing that religious belief in God performs a public function that facilitates human co-operation. In critical elaboration of her thesis, the division of labour is explained by taking into account a different aspect of human reason, namely, discursive rationality.

Note: Article Hulsmann JG, SUNY Buffalo, Dept Philosophy, Buffalo,NY 14260 USA


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