"Di Iorio offers a new approach to Hayek's Sensory Order, linking neuroscience to the old Verstehen tradition and to contemporary theories of self-organizing systems; this should be on the reading list of everyone who is interested in Hayek's thought."Barry SmithUniversity at Buffalo, editor of The Monist"This impressive and well-researched book breaks new ground in our understanding of F.A. Hayek and of methodological individualism more generally. It shows that methodological individualism sanctions neither an atomistic view of society nor a mechanical determinism. The book carefully analyzes an important tradition in the social sciences, and compares it to many important philosophical, sociological and economic systems of thought. This is an enlightening book for all scholars interested in the methodological problems of the social sciences."Mario J. RizzoNew York University"One of Hayek's most important contributions is his linking of complex methodological individualism, which deals with the emergence of spontaneous orders and unintended collective structures in complex self-organizing social systems, with a cognitive psychology. What makes Francesco Di Iorio's book of great interest is that, by building on Hayek's seminal book The Sensory Order, it deepens the connections between cognition and rules of just conduct, taking into account relevant theories on subjectivity and consciousness such as phenomenology, hermeneutics and enactivism."Jean PetitotÉcole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, Paris"In this thoughtful and enlightening book Francesco Di Iorio uses Hayek's cognitive psychology as the starting point for investigation of the relationship between the autonomy of the agent and socio-cultural influences within methodological individualism. The book provides an illuminating and innovative analysis of a central issue in the philosophy of social science by setting Hayek's view on mind and action in fruitful relation to approaches such as Gadamer's hermeneutics, Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, Varela's and Maturana's enaction, Boudon's interpretative sociology, Popper's fallibilism and Mises' praxeology. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is its argument that hermeneutics and fallibilism refer not to two different methods but to the same one."Dario AntiseriEmeritus Professor at LUISS University, Rome"Francesco Di Iorio's book explores, in an original way, the connections between Hayek's methodological individualism and his fascinating idea that human mind is both an interpretative device and a self-organizing system. It is a brilliant, clearly written work, characterized by a certain intellectual courage, which makes a remarkable contribution to the sociology of knowledge."Gérald BronnerParis Diderot University
This book contributes to the developing dialogue between cognitive science and social sciences. It focuses on a central issue in both fields, i.e. the nature and the limitations of the rationality of beliefs and action. The development of cognitive science is one of the most important and fascinating intellectual advances of recent decades, and social scientists are paying increasing attention to the findings of this new branch of science that forces us to consider many classical issues related to epistemology and philosophy of action in a new light.
Analysis of the concept of rationality is a leitmotiv in the history of the social sciences and has involved endless disputes. Since it is difficult to give a precise definition of this concept, and there is a lack of agreement about its meaning, it is possible to say that there is a `mystery of rationality'. What is it to be rational? Is rationality merely instrumental or does it also involve the endorsement of values, i.e. the choice of goals? Should we consider rationality to be a normative principle or a descriptive one? Can rationality be only Cartesian or can it also be argumentative? Is rationality a conscious skill or a partly tacit one? This book, which has been written by an outstanding collection of authors, including both philosophers and social scientists, tries to make a useful contribution to the debates on these problems and shed some light on the mystery of rationality. The target audience primarily comprises researchers and experts in the field.