Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 12 Jun 2008
This interdisciplinary study establishes connections between divergent approaches to rationality in philosophy, social science, and literary studies. Livingston provides a broad survey of the basic assumptions and questions associated with concepts of rationality in philosophical accounts of action, in decision theory, and in the theory of rational choice. He gives examples of the ways in which rationality is involved in the writing and reading of literary works, ranging from Icelandic sagas to Beckett, Dreiser, Lem, Poe and Zola. Topics examined include the role of concepts of desire, intention, and planning in action explanations, the relation between cognition and motivation, the rationality of desire, atomic versus agential perspectives on rationality, the rationality of groups and institutions, and the question of the rationality of science.
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ISBN-13: 9780521064804
ISBN-10: 0521064805
Pagini: 268
Dimensiuni: 151 x 229 x 15 mm
Greutate: 0.4 kg
Ediția: 1
Editura: Cambridge University Press
Colecția Cambridge University Press
Locul publicării: Cambridge, United Kingdom


Introduction: literature and rationality; Part I. Theories and Questions: 1. Rationality: some basic issues; 2. Agency, rationality, and literary knowledge; Part II. Textual Models: 3. Naturalism and the question of agency; 4. Agent's rationality; 5. Plans and irrationality; 6. Science, reason and society Coda: 'Der Bau'; Notes; Bibliography.


Review of the hardback: 'Paisley Livingston makes a novel and valuable contribution both to the study of literature and to the theory of rationality.' Jon Elster
From the hardback review: 'A powerful plea for realist literary criticism that challenges the assumptions of such major critical trends as deconstructionism, semiotics, and cultural studies, and offers a convincing alternative to their claims. Well informed and well-argued, it touches crucial issues in a provocative way and offers an original alternative to the dominant modes of critical discourse.' Thomas Pavel