Hegel, Institutions, and Economics
Performing the Social
To Be Published April 1st 2014 by Routledge – 256 pages
Hegel’s philosophy today, although widely read, is rarely examined in the context of contemporary discussions in economics. This book aims to rectify this, arguing that in the theory of institutions in particular, we can see developments that are Hegelian in nature. The volume therefore brings together recent interpretations of Hegel’s social and political theory and contemporary approaches to the economics of institutions and institutional economics.
The book considers some of the following questions: What is the nature of institutions? How is institutional reality connected to the ontology of the mind and what is the role of institutions in the social ontology? What are the advantages of Hegel’s ethical thought; could we interpret it in a meaningful way to meet both theoretical and pragmatic concerns? In answering these questions, the book draws on recent work in behavioural economics, experimental economics and neuroeconomics, putting these into the context of modern analytical philosophy and cognitive sciences. The authors argue that this conceptual synthesis can be achieved within a Hegelian framework that allows building a unified theory of human mind as action in institutional contexts. They also draw conclusions for institutional design and policies.
This exploration provides a fresh perspective on both Hegelian themes and institutional theory, emphasising the relevance of Hegel’s work for present-day theoretical discussions, whilst also shedding light on issues that are at the heart of fundamental tensions existing within institutional economics.
Introduction 1. Setting the Scene. Hegel and Economics 2. Thinking with Hegel: Institutions, Language, and Performativity 3. Theoretical Consequences: Towards an Externalist theory of economic action 4. Hegel, Ethics and Economics: Reading Sen, Reading Smith 5. Dialectical Naturalism in Action: Group Identities and Recognition. Methodological Postscriptum. On the Way from Economic Mainstream to Dialectics: the Uneasy Case of Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen