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Models of Man
Philosophical Thoughts on Social Action

$89.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Philosophy Classics

Geoffrey Hawthorn
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  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107113763

$ 89.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • All social theorists and philosophers who seek to explain human action have a 'model of man'; a metaphysical view of human nature that requires its own theory of scientific knowledge. In this influential book, Martin Hollis examines the tensions that arise from the differing views of sociologists, economists and psychologists. He then develops a rationalist model of his own which connects personal and social identity through a theory of rational action and a priori knowledge, allowing humans to both act freely and still be a subject for scientific explanation. Presented in a fresh series livery and including a specially commissioned preface written by Geoffrey Hawthorn, Hollis's important work is made available to a new generation of readers.

    • Unique to Cambridge, this classic book has been revived and rebranded for a twenty-first-century readership
    • Proposes an account of human action that allows us to act freely while being subjects for scientific explanation
    • Offers an accessible and engaging exploration of metaphysical views of human nature
    • Features a specially commissioned Preface written by Geoffrey Hawthorn
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "[Hollis's] extremely clear, sharp, witty style … makes the entire book very well worth reading. I find his central point entirely persuasive, and it may well be that his careful and courteous defence of it will be the best way to bring it home to those who still see witchcraft in any suggestion that the world must be explained in different ways for different purposes."

    "Why do human beings behave in detail exactly as they do and not in some other way? What, if anything, causes them so to act? How can we validly explain the fact that they do in practice act this way and not differently? … It is the distinctive merit of Martin Hollis's exceedingly clever … little book to ram home the priority of these vertiginous metaphysical questions to any intellectually coherent attempt to understand one another, individually or by the gross. Radical interpretation is simply the stuff of human life; and the social sciences are radical interpretation on stilts."
    New Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107113763
    • length: 172 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 156 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface to this edition Geoffrey Hawthorn
    1. Two models
    Part I. Plastic Man:
    2. Nature and nurture
    3. The regularity of the moral world
    Part II. Autonomous Man:
    4. Life's short comedy
    5. Personal identity and social identity
    6. Elements of action
    Part III. Other Minds:
    7. The rational and the real
    8. Ideal understanding
    9. Envoi: actor and context
    Index of names.

  • Author

    Martin Hollis
    Martin Hollis (1938–98) was a philosopher of the social sciences and game theory and is best known for his rationalism. He was Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia and eventually Pro-Vice-Chancellor until his death in 1998.


    Geoffrey Hawthorn

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