1st Edition

Technocracy and the Epistemology of Human Behavior The Debate over Power Without Knowledge

Edited By Paul Gunn Copyright 2023
    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Power Without Knowledge: A Critique of Technocracy (2019), Jeffrey Friedman presented a sweeping reinterpretation of modern politics and government as technocratic, even in many of its democratic dimensions. Building on a new definition of technocracy as governance aimed at solving social and economic problems, Friedman showed that the epistemic demands that such governance places on political elites and ordinary people alike may be overwhelming if technocrats fail to attend to the ideational heterogeneity of the human beings whose control is the object of technocratic power. Yet a recognition of ideational heterogeneity considerably complicates the task of predicting behavior, which is essential to technocratic control—as Friedman demonstrated with pathbreaking critiques of the homogenizing strategies of neoclassical economics, positivist social science, behavioral economics, and populist democratic politics.

    In Technocracy and the Epistemology of Human Behavior, thirteen political theorists, including Friedman himself, debate the implications of Power Without Knowledge for social science, modern governance, the politics of expertise, post-structuralism, anarchism, and democratic theory; and Friedman responds to his critics with an expansive defense of his vision of contemporary politics and his political epistemology of ideationally diverse human beings.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of the Critical Review.

    Introduction: Political Epistemology Beyond Democratic Theory  
    Paul Gunn 
    1. Exit, Voice and Technocracy 
    Jonathan Benson 
    2. Disagreement, Epistemic Paralysis, and the Legitimacy of Technocracy 
    Étienne Brown and Zoe Phillips Williams 
    3. A Family Affair: Populism, Technocracy, and Political Epistemology 
    Kevin J. Elliott 
    4. Technocracy, Governmentality, and Post-Structuralism 
    Oscar L. Larsson 
    5. Social Science and the Problem of Interpretation: A Pragmatic Dual(ist) Approach 
    Adam B. Lerner 
    6. The Spiral of Responsibility and the Pressure to Conflict 
    Eric MacGilvray 
    7. Architects and Engineers: Two Types of Technocrat and Their Relation to Democracy 
    Alfred Moore 
    8. What Follows from the Problem of Ignorance? 
    Zeynep Pamuk 
    9. Power, Knowledge, and Anarchism 
    Robert Reamer 
    10. Why Do Experts Disagree? 
    Julian Reiss 
    11. Political Epistemology, Technocracy, and Political Anthropology: Reply to a Symposium on Power Without Knowledge 
    Jeffrey Friedman 


    Paul Gunn is Lecturer in Political Economy and Public Policy in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, and Associate Editor of the Critical Review.