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Philosophy and Politics - Critical Explorations

Imposed Rationality and Besieged Imagination

Practical Life and Social Pathologies

Authors: Pereira, Gustavo

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  • Only book dealing with the cognitive processes that underlie non-conscious distortions in applying justice 
  • Explains how our beliefs about a good life can be distorted and lead us to follow a life centered in consumerism
  • Introduces a perspective which has not been intensively developed in the social pathologies debate
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eBook $59.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-26520-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-26519-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Social pathologies are social processes that hinder how individuals exercise their autonomy and freedom. In this book, Gustavo Pereira offers an account of such phenomena by defining them as a cognitive failure that affects the practical imagination, thus negatively interfering with our practical life. This failure of the imagination is the consequence of the imposition of a type of practical rationality on a practical context alien to it, caused by a non‑conscious transformation of the individuals’ set of beliefs and values. The research undertaken provides an innovative explanation in terms of microfoundations based on the mechanism of “availability heuristic”, by which the diminished exercise of the imagination turns the intuitively available or prevailing rationality into the one that regulates behaviour in inappropriate contexts. Additionally, this incorrect regulation results in a progressive distortion of the shared sense of the affected practical contexts, which becomes institutionalized.

Consumerism, bureaucratism, moralism, juridification, some forms of corruption and the particular Latin American case of “malinchism” can be interpreted as social pathologies insofar as they imply such distortion. This way of conceptualizing social pathologies integrates the traditional sociological macro‑explanation manifested through the negative consequences of the processes of social rationalization with a micro‑explanation articulated around the findings of cognitive psychology such as availability heuristic.

Understanding social pathologies as a cognitive failure allows us to identify the introduction of normative friction as the main way to counteract their effects. One of the potential effects of normative friction, as a specific form of cognitive dissonance, is the intense exercise of the imagination, thus operating as a condition of possibility for the exercise of autonomy and reflection. Democratic ethical life, understood as a shared democratic culture, as well as social institutions and narratives, are the privileged social spaces and means to trigger reflective processes that can counteract social pathologies through a reflective reappropriation of the meaning of the shared practical context.

An extraordinary contribution by a Critical Theorist to the return of the concept of imagination today. It takes up the challenge once taken by Kant to think about imagination as the pivotal activity not only of knowledge and experience, but above all, for action. The author claims that imagination makes criticism possible (pathologies) and it allows us to envision alternative views into the path for social transformation. Without imagination nothing is possible.

María Pía Lara, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Mexico

About the authors

Gustavo Pereira is Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy and Director of the Department of Philosophy of Praxis at the Faculty of Humanities, Universidad de la República (Uruguay). He has founded and is co-director of the interdisciplinary research group “Ethics, Justice and Economy” at the same University. His research has been mainly focused on social justice and theory of democracy, and more recently on social philosophy, in particular social pathologies, alienation and the cognitive microfoundations of those social phenomena. Some of his books are Medios, capacidades y justicia distributiva (UNAM, 2004), Las voces de la igualdad (Proteus, 2010) and Elements of a Critical Theory of Justice (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $59.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-26520-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-26519-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Imposed Rationality and Besieged Imagination
Book Subtitle
Practical Life and Social Pathologies
Authors
Series Title
Philosophy and Politics - Critical Explorations
Series Volume
9
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-26520-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-26520-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-26519-9
Series ISSN
2352-8370
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 190
Number of Illustrations
4 b/w illustrations
Topics