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Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason Paperback – February 4, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0674447561 ISBN-10: 0674447565
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[Incommensurability, Incomparablility, and Practical Reason] is not only an extraordinary collection of all-stars, it contains original papers by just about all the all-stars that have been most insightful in helping us think about issues of incommensurability...Everyone with a real interest in incommensurability must closely study this book. (David Sobel Philosophical Quarterly)

About the Author

Ruth Chang is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (January 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674447565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674447561
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eric Titus on September 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Human dignity, utility, happiness, pleasure; liberal democracy, socialism, tribalism, anarchy--we constantly face the prospect of judging between values in systems of morality and politics. And when we don't face that, we certainly face the problem of weighing the different goods of life, such as health, pleasure, education, familial piety, etc. This basic problem inspires the essays in this book.

The basic question, laid out by Chang in the introduction is this: How can we choose between things of different values? If goods are commensurable, then they can be laid on a common scale and given a precise value based on the scale. If they're comparable, they might not be able to be precisely valued, but they can at least be compared to see whether something is relatively better or worse. If they cannot be compared, or if they are incommensurable, we must specify how and why. The essays in this anthology try to take this basic scheme, apply it to problems in practical reasoning, and see where the ideas go.

Unless you're an academic, you probably won't be into a book like this. However, it centers around an important question for value theory: How can we compare the various goods in life? It's an academic question, but it's one we consider often when we're faced with a difficult decision (especially one that requires we choose one value or virtue at the expense of another), or when we're faced with explaining ourselves to someone who thinks differently than us (which happens more and more frequently in the age of globalization).
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42 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
1. Introduction -- Ruth Chang 2. Incommensurability: What's the Problem? -- James Griffin 3. Incommensurability: Four Proposals -- David Wiggins 4. Is Incommensurability Vagueness? -- John Broome 5. Practical Reason and Incommensurable Goods -- Elizabeth Anderson 6. Incommensurability and Agency -- Joseph Raz 7. Value, Comparability, and Choice -- Donald Regan 8. Incommensurability and Practical Reasoning -- Elijah Millgram 9. Leading a Life -- Charles Taylor 10. Comparing the Incomparable: Trade-offs and Sacrifices -- Steven Lukes 11. Abstract and Concrete Value: Plurality, Conflict, and Maximization -- Michael Stocker 12. Commensuration and Public Reason -- John Finnis 13. Incommensurability and Kinds of Valuation: Some Applications in Law -- Cass Sunstein
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bergamini Manuele on August 30, 2014
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