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Interpretation and Rationality

Developing Donald Davidson's Ideas in International Political Theory

Nikolay Gudalov

attention in international political theory (IPT). 1 I will argue that Davidson can help IPT firmly (re-)connect the theorisations of language and rationality, and that he shows rational communication between very different contexts to be possible without

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From Jewish Sentiments to Rational Exhortations

Battle Missives in the Israel Defense Forces

Netta Galnoor

sense of solidarity and to justify sacrifice. However, the First Lebanon War in 1982 marked a turning point. Israeli commanders turned to rational justifications for risking life in battle, using less emotive and more realistic language that emphasized

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The Rational Stage

John Dover Wilson and Hamlet Criticism Between the Wars

Mark Gauntlett

After the First World War, critical interest in Hamlet was particularly intense. The War had precipitated a crisis of rationality, and now, along with a wide range of conventional positions and assumptions, the rationality of Shakespeare’s play came into question. On one side of a protracted debate, John Dover Wilson marched at the head of those critics who argued and defended the rationality of Hamlet. For Wilson, approaches which threatened the traditional understanding of the play also threatened good sense. In particular, he set himself against those views which, by undermining the coherence and authority of Shakespeare and his play, served to undermine their rationality. Yet it was W.W. Greg – the most ‘rational’ of critics, and in other respects Wilson’s powerful ally – who supplied the most pressing challenge to articulate the full defence not only of the rational Hamlet, but also of the rational Elizabethan stage.

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Bernard Matolino

Introduction In this article I seek to pursue two aims. Firstly, I seek to contest Emmanuel Ani’s reading of Wiredu regarding his support for the role of rationality in securing consensus in traditional African polities. I seek to show that as

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The historical anthropology of thought

Jean-Pierre Vernant and intellectual innovation in ancient Greece

S. C. Humphreys

This article illustrates the need for a historical anthropology of the longue durée, dealing with pre-modern societies, by analyzing the work of Jean-Pierre Vernant on the development of thought in ancient Greece. Vernant's anthropologies began with Marx and the historical psychologist Ignace Meyerson; he was influenced by the Durkheimian Louis Gernet and later by Lévi-Strauss. His early interest in relating Greek rationality to social organization led him increasingly into work on Greek religion and tragedy. This article builds on his work by studying the social contexts of communication that facilitated the proposal and elaboration of unconventional ideas.

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Postcolonial Finance

The Political History of ‘Risk-Versus-Reward’ Investment in Emerging Markets

Cecilia Schultz

1999: 482 ). Section three explores how this political identity resonates with contemporary models of rational economic man – homo œconomicus – in neoclassical economics, the dominant governmentality of modern finance. The fourth section examines how

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Zhuoyao Li

Recent discussions by Martha Nussbaum and Steven Wall shed new light on the concept of reasonableness in political liberalism and whether the inclusion of epistemic elements in the concept necessarily makes political liberalism lose its antiperfectionist appeal. This article argues that Nussbaum’s radical solution to eliminate the epistemic component of reasonableness is neither helpful nor necessary. Instead, adopting a revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness in terms of a weak view of rationality that is procedural, external and second-order rather than a strong view that is substantial, internal and first-order can help political liberalism maintain an epistemic dimension in the idea of reasonableness without becoming perfectionist. In addition, political liberalism can defend a stronger account of respect for persons against liberal perfectionism on the basis of the revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness. Both arguments serve to demonstrate the strength of the political liberal project.

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Navigating through contradictory rationalities

Experiences of development in Mexico

Martin J. Larsson

English abstract: This article discusses the idea of policy coherence for development, and its relation to the experience of development along the Grijalva River in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Through an analysis of different understandings of the garbage in the river, and of the attempts to deal with the garbage, I highlight tensions between different generations of policies, between different levels of government, and between implementing the goals of governmental representatives and a meaningful participation by citizens. To understand these tensions, the article draws attention to the coexistence of experience-based rationalities, which are important to take into account when formulating policies, and when moving from policies to concrete projects.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo discute la idea de la coherencia en las políticas públicas para el desarrollo, y su relación con la experiencia de desarrollo sobre el Río Grijalva, en el estado de Chiapas, México. A través de un análisis de diversos entendimientos de la basura en el Río, subrayo las tensiones entre diferentes generaciones de políticas públicas; entre diferentes niveles de gobierno; y las tensiones entre la implementación de metas de los representantes gubernamentales y una participación significativa por parte de los ciudadanos. Para entender estas tensiones, el artículo enfatiza la co-existencia de racionalidades basadas en la experiencia práctica, que son importantes considerar al formular políticas públicas, y al moverse de las políticas públicas a proyectos concretos.

French abstract: Cet article examine l’idée de cohérence dans les stratégies politiques pour le développement et sa relation avec l’expérience du développement autour du fleuve Grijalva, dans l’état du Chiapas, au Mexique. À travers l’analyse des multiples significations des déchets dans le fleuve, je souligne les tensions entre différentes générations de politiques publiques, entre différents niveaux de gouvernement, et entre la mise en oeuvre des objectifs par les représentants gouvernementaux et la participation significative des citoyens. Pour comprendre ces tensions, l’article insiste sur la coexistence de rationalités fondées sur l’expérience pratique, qu’il est important de prendre en compte dans l’élaboration des politiques publiques, et lors du passage de ces politiques publiques aux projets concrets.

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The Rational Actor Reform Paradigm

Delivering the Goods but Destroying Public Trust?

Peter Taylor-Gooby

This paper discusses the impact of an important trend in service delivery in response to the substantial pressures that now face European welfare states: the New Public Management, combining centrally imposed targets and the promotion of market systems within state services. It traces the logic underlying the reform back to the rational self-regarding actor theories of human behaviour of the Enlightenment. Using the example of the UK NHS, recently reformed in a way that follows the rational actor paradigm, it considers the impact on long-term public trust.

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The Logic of Welfare

Religious and Sociological Foundations of Social Policy Rationality

Elmar Rieger

The article aims to contribute to the sociological theory of the welfare state by addressing a fundamental puzzle of social policy, namely, the weakness of its claim to be a rational effort of society dealing with problems of social integration. Drawing on the work of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, I distinguish between the cultural or ideational side of the welfare state and the social engineering or outcome side, arguing to take the rhetoric and symbolism of social policy more seriously. The integration of society is more due to the communicative action of social policy than to its organizational quality. As early as the axial age civilizations, symbolism and ideology emerged as an autonomous field of social conflict and societal union. Taking ancient Israel as an example, I argue that societal integration may take place even in the absence of strong institutional correlates of social politics. This can help to explain why the welfare state in modern society is compatible with ever-increasing economic and social inequality.