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