Rationality in Practice Theory: Implications on Qing and Li Theory of Social Organization

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Joo-hyun CHO, Keimyung University, Republic of Korea
The social theory of rationality general enough to be equally applicable to both Asian and Western experiences is now possible through the efforts by many pragmatically oriented philosophers and social scientists during the last century and recent developments in cognitive science, neuroscience, AI, robotics, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral economics. This theory of rationality based on practice theory culminates more than a century-long attempts to escape from the conceptual constraints of representational epistemology in philosophy and the tradition of sociological research on rationality initiated by Weber and, later, Habermas.

I will first briefly present a preliminary theory of social practices as symbolic complex adaptive systems able to maintain both stability and adaptability relying sorely on each agent’s ability of normative judgment on actions and judgmental criteria. Coupled with a theory of human agency based embodied-embedded cognitive science, this theory of social practices offers a most promising social theory of rationality not only consistent with the current scientific researches but also compatible with the long tradition of Western sociological and philosophical researches.

Then I will offer persuasive arguments for the claim that thus constructed theory of rationality is free from cultural biases possibly originating from its Western intellectual origin just as has been theories of modern natural sciences previously. This fact, in turn, implies that the social theory of rationality presented in this paper offers a common theoretical ground to analyze and compare roles of rationality and empathy in social practices including social organizations, institutions, and norms in Western and Asian societies. This will allow us a chance to view the issue of balance between emotion and reason as emphasized in Asian philosophical tradition from a new perspective. The remaining part of my paper will focus on the topic of the elements of rationality that can be discerned in Asian social traditions.