Ricoeur Economicus: Can Economic Exchange Involve Mutual Recognition?

Todd Mei

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


    Poststructural criticisms of classical and neoclassical economic conceptions of human motivation and agency often include rejections of how market exchange is conceived to involve only the desires and rationality of a solitary human agent. While many of these criticisms are illuminating, they also tend not to offer a positive, constructive alternative.

    In this chapter, I discuss the contributions of Paul Ricoeur's understanding of mutual recognition and how it can be used--albeit perhaps despite Ricoeur's own intention and critical assessment of economics--to retrieve a theory of exchange in which mutuality is possible.

    My analysis consists of five sections. First, I recapitulate Ricoeur’s criticism of exchange. Second, I examine how the economist Richard Ebeling attempts to read mutuality in exchange through the hermeneutics of Ricoeur and why this attempt fails. Third, I revive Ricoeur’s broader conception of value in relation to care for the other. This allows me, in the fourth section, to correlate Ricoeur’s discussion of ethical value to exchange-value. Finally, I join exchange to mutual recognition via Ricoeur’s discussion of epieikeia (equity)
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPaul Ricoeur and the Task of Political Philosophy
    EditorsGreg S. Johnson, Dan R. Stiver
    Place of PublicationLanham, MD
    PublisherLexington Books
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9780739167748
    ISBN (Print)9780739167731
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Publication series

    NameSeries on the Thought of Paul Ricoeur
    PublisherLexington Books


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