A powerful and provocative critique of the foundations of Rational Choice theory and the economic way of thinking about the world, written by a former leading practitioner. The target is a dehumanizing ideology that cannot properly recognize that normal people have attachments and commitments to other people and to practices, projects, principles, and places, which provide them with desire-independent reasons for action, and that they are reflective creatures who think about what they are and what they should be, with ideals that can shape and structure the way they see their choices. The author's views are brought to bear on the economic way of thinking about the natural environment and on how and when the norm of fair reciprocity motivates us to do our part in cooperative endeavors. Throughout, the argument is adorned by thought-provoking examples that keep what is at stake clearly before the reader's mind.
Part I. Attachments, Reasons, and Desires: 1. Attachments: five stories; 2. Narratives, identities, rationality; Part II. Strokes of Havoc: The Market Ideal and the Disintegration of Lives, Places, and Ecosystems: 3. The market Utopia; 4. Dis-integration; Part III. Living in Unity, Doing your Part: Rationality, Recognition, and Reciprocity: 5. Introduction: doing your part; 6. The rationality of reciprocity; 7. Normativity, recognition, and moral motivation; 8. Citizens and workers: the argument illustrated.
"This passionate book is a powerful conceptual, empirical, and normative critique of Rational Choice theory by a former practitioner."
-David A. Welch, University of Toronto, Ethics and International Affairs
"This is an excellent and enjoyable book...As a critique of welfarism, market idealism, and (especially) psychological egoism, Taylor's Rationality and the Ideology of Disconnection is valuable and rewarding. I strongly recommend it on these terms."
-Frank Lovett, The Review of Politics