Joseph Heath

  • Année après année, les Canadiens constatent avec un mélange d'incompréhension et d'incrédulité que les Nations unies placent leur pays parmi ceux où il fait le mieux vivre sur la planète. Pourquoi se classent-ils si bien ? Étonnamment, ce n'est ni parce qu'ils sont les plus riches ni parce qu'ils vivent dans une société particulièrement juste. Pour Joseph Heath, la réponse est presque trop évidente pour qu'on la remarque : le Canada est une société efficiente ! Comparativement à d'autres pays, écrit-il, on réussit à obtenir un maximum de résultats avec un minimum d'effort et de gaspillage. Un essai fascinant et provocateur sur le présent et l'avenir économique et social de la société canadienne.
    Joseph Heath est titulaire de la chaire de recherche du Canada en éthique et économie politique à l'Université de Montréal.

  • In this collection of provocative essays, Joseph Heath provides a compelling new framework for thinking about the moral obligations that private actors in a market economy have toward each other and to society. In a sharp break with traditional approaches to business ethics, Heath argues that the basic principles of corporate social responsibility are already implicit in the institutional norms that structure both marketplace competition and the modern business corporation. In four new and nine previously published essays, Heath articulates the foundations of a market failures approach to business ethics. Rather than bringing moral concerns to bear upon economic activity as a set of foreign or externally imposed constraints, this approach seeks to articulate a robust conception of business ethics derived solely from the basic normative justification for capitalism. The result is a unified theory of business ethics, corporate law, economic regulation, and the welfare state, which offers a reconstruction of the central normative preoccupations in each area that is consistent across all four domains. Beyond the core theory, Heath offers new insights on a wide range of topics in economics and philosophy, from agency theory and risk management to social cooperation and the transaction cost theory of the firm.

  • For centuries, philosophers have been puzzled by the fact that people often respect moral obligations as a matter of principle, setting aside considerations of self-interest. In more recent years, social scientists have been puzzled by the more general phenomenon of rule-following, the fact that people often abide by social norms even when doing so produces undesirable consequences. Experimental game theorists have demonstrated conclusively that the old-fashioned picture of economic man, constantly reoptimizing in order to maximize utility in all circumstances, cannot provide adequate foundations for a general theory of rational action. The dominant response, however, has been a slide toward irrationalism. If people are ignoring the consequences of their actions, it is claimed, it must be because they are making some sort of a mistake. In Following the Rules, Joseph Heath attempts to reverse this trend, by showing how rule-following can be understood as an essential element of rational action. The first step involves showing how rational choice theory can be modified to incorporate deontic constraint as a feature of rational deliberation. The second involves disarming the suspicion that there is something mysterious or irrational about the psychological states underlying rule-following. According to Heath, human rationality is a by-product of the so-called language upgrade that we receive as a consequence of the development of specific social practices. As a result, certain constitutive features of our social environment-such as the rule-governed structure of social life-migrate inwards, and become constitutive features of our psychological faculties. This in turn explains why there is an indissoluble bond between practical rationality and deontic constraint. In the end, what Heath offers is a naturalistic, evolutionary argument in favor of the traditional Kantian view that there is an internal connection between being a rational agent and feeling the force of ones moral obligations.

  • **Format papier épuisé** Le premier numéro du magazine Nouveau Projet. Inclut notre dossier «(Sur)vivre au 21e siècle», avec des textes de Charles Taylor, Joseph Heath et Andrew Potter, Mathieu Arsenault, Caroline Allard, Hugo Séguin, Nicholas Carr et autres.

  • In this fascinating account of what makes Canada such a successful society, Joseph Heath celebrates the much-maligned value of efficiency and asks some searching questions about the forces that threaten to undermine our quality of life. Canada is an efficient society, much more efficient than our neighbour to the south, where personal liberty takes precedence over collective well-being. This is one of the reasons, Heath argues, that the United Nations Annual Human Development Report consistently ranks Canada as the best place in the world to live. But this efficiency is under siege. Can we resist the allure of short-sighted tax cuts? Can we maintain our quality of life in the face of relentless pressure to increase our productivity - both at work and at home?
    This is a profound and important look at how government and business conspire to improve our lives - and at the dramatic changes that will decide our social and economic future.

  • For centuries, philosophers have been puzzled by the fact that people often respect moral obligations as a matter of principle, setting aside considerations of self-interest. In more recent years, social scientists have been puzzled by the more general phenomenon of rule-following, the fact that people often abide by social norms even when doing so produces undesirable consequences. Experimental game theorists have demonstrated conclusively that the old-fashioned picture of "economic man," constantly reoptimizing in order to maximize utility in all circumstances, cannot provide adequate foundations for a general theory of rational action. The dominant response, however, has been a slide toward irrationalism. If people are ignoring the consequences of their actions, it is claimed, it must be because they are making some sort of a mistake.

    In Following the Rules, Joseph Heath attempts to reverse this trend, by showing how rule-following can be understood as an essential element of rational action. The first step involves showing how rational choice theory can be modified to incorporate deontic constraint as a feature of rational deliberation. The second involves disarming the suspicion that there is something mysterious or irrational about the psychological states underlying rule-following. According to Heath, human rationality is a by-product of the so-called "language upgrade" that we receive as a consequence of the development of specific social practices. As a result, certain constitutive features of our social environment-such as the rule-governed structure of social life-migrate inwards, and become constitutive features of our psychological faculties. This in turn explains why there is an indissoluble bond between practical rationality and deontic constraint.

    In the end, what Heath offers is a naturalistic, evolutionary argument in favor of the traditional Kantian view that there is an internal connection between being a rational agent and feeling the force of one's moral obligations.

  • **Format papier épuisé** Le premier numéro du magazine Nouveau Projet. Inclut notre dossier «(Sur)vivre au 21e siècle», avec des textes de Charles Taylor, Joseph Heath et Andrew Potter, Mathieu Arsenault, Caroline Allard, Hugo Séguin, Nicholas Carr et autres.

  • Dominée par la fabulation et l'émotivité, soumise aux diktats de l'information en continu et des clips de 30 secondes, la politique semble avoir perdu la raison. Dans ce texte écrit expressément pour Nouveau Projet, Joseph Heath et Andrew Potter présentent leur solution pour que notre univers politique retrouve la raison: le «slow politics».

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