Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction (Hardback)
  • Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction (Hardback)
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Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction (Hardback)

(author)
£67.00
Hardback 268 Pages / Published: 12/12/1991
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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.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521405409
Number of pages: 268
Weight: 570 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
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
"Paisley Livingston makes a novel and valuable contribution both to the study of literature and to the theory of rationality." Jon Elster
"This book is a major contribution to the study of literature. It challenges both traditional dogmatic approaches and fashionable post-structuralist views. The alternative it offers is refreshingly constructive and thoroughly innovative....[W]e should be grateful to Livingston for bringing home such precious gifts of information, presented in remarkably lucid language....It is not possible in this short review to do justice to the exceptional richness of Livingston's book, and the summary presented here fails to capture the depth of insight offered by its author....If, by some miraculous event, literary scholarship comes to realize the importance of the issue and to convince itself at last that here, in the analysis (and not just repudiation) of rationality, resides one of its most promising and most rewarding domains, it is to Paisley Livingston that it may turn for instruction and guidance." Willie Van Peer, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature

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