1st Edition

Incommensurability and Commensuration: The Common Denominator The Common Denominator

By Fred D'Agostino Copyright 2003

    This book was published in 2003.This volume presents a detailed examination of incommensurability in the value-theoretical sense. Exploring how choosers deal with problems and constraints of choice, the author draws on work in cognitive psychology, in sociology, in jurisprudence, in economics, and in the theory of value to show how choosers learn to make "trade-offs" when there is potential incommensurability among the options they are considering. The analysis is also informed by recent work in the tradition of Michel Foucault. With so many modern devices and ideals of government dependent on the comparability of options, this book is timely and can inform public debate about de-regulation, user-pays, accountability, and the substitution of market mechanisms for government regulation and supply.

    Preface, Acknowledgements, I: Orientation and Motivation, 1. Introduction, 2. Incommensurability: An Introductory Sketch, 3. Incommensurability and Commensuration, 4. Incommensurability and the Bush/Gore Election Crisis, 5. Prospectus, II: Some Questions about Incommensurability, 6. An Historical and Conceptual Overview, 7. Regret and the Locus of Incommensurability, 8. Incommensurability and the “Single Scale”, 9. Trade Offs and Historicity, 10. Three Kinds of Incommensurability, 11. Incommensurability: How Many Orders?, 12. Metaphysics or Morals of Incommensurability, III: The Pragmatics of Commensuration, 13. The Original Position and Rawls’s Functional Approach, 14. The Circumstances of Commensuration, 15. The Conditions for Commensuration, 16. The Constraints on Commensuration, IV: The Ethics of Commensuration, 17. Standards for Commensuration, 18. Commensuration via Reduction, 19. Commensuration via Separation, V: The Metaphysics of Commensuration, 20. Commensuration and Relativism, 21. Commensuration and “Collectivism”, VI: The Analytics of Commensuration, 22. An Analysis of Analytics, 23. The Constitution of Commensurators, 24. The Rhetorics and Sociology of Commensuration, VII: The Dialectics of Commensuration, 25. The Interface, 26. Assessing Commensuration, 27. Philosophy: The Practical Turn, Bibliography, Index


    Agostino, Fred