Joseph Heath


Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto (,

and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto (

Fellow, Trudeau Foundation (


University College (#149)

15 King’s College Circle,

Toronto, ON, M5S 3H7


Phone: 416.978.8094



I participate in a group blog here:



All of my course websites are on Blackboard:


Working Papers

I generally post these to Academia:



My work is all related, in one way or another, to critical social theory in the tradition of the Frankfurt School. The hallmark of this tradition is that of close engagement with the social sciences, but in a way that involves a rejection of value-neutrality, in favour of a style of inquiry governed by what Jürgen Habermas once called the “emancipatory interest” of human reason. In the late 20th century, critical theorists became increasingly preoccupied with the so-called “normative foundations of social criticism.” Rather than doing critical theory, they spent most of their time worrying about how a critical theory of society might even be possible, given the all-encompassing nature of culture and ideology. The result has been a generation of critical theorists who seldom get around to actually criticizing anything. This is a dead-end that I have tried to avoid in my work. As a result, there are two distinct dimensions to my writing. I do academic work, which attempts to address questions of normative foundations, and I also do popular work, where I engage in critical commentary.



Academic Books

Morality, Competition and the Firm

This is a collection of published and previously unpublished papers on business ethics and contractualism, published by Oxford University Press in 2014.


Following the Rules

This is a more general book on rational action theory and moral philosophy, published by Oxford University Press in 2008. It was originally titled “Deontic Constraint.” A summary can be found in this review, by Joseph Mendola. A Japanese translation has recently appeared, heroically translated by Hirokazu Takizawa, published by NTT Publishing.


Communicative Action and Rational Choice

This is a critical study of Habermas’s theory of communicative action, from the perspective of contemporary rational choice theory. It was published by MIT Press in 2001. A summary can be found in this review, by Cristina Lafont.



Popular Books

Enlightenment 2.0

This book was being published by HarperCollins in 2014. It is also available in Japanese translation. You can find a video of me talking it up (here).


Filthy Lucre

This book was published by HarperCollins in Canada and by Scribe/Penguin in Australia/New Zealand. The U.S. edition was published by Random House under the title Economics Without Illusions. French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese (traditional) translations are available. Italian and Croatian are forthcoming. You can find some video of me talking it up here, here and here. For those who read the book, enjoyed it, and want more, you can find drafts of two chapters that didn’t make in at the bottom of this page.


The Rebel Sell (co-authored with Andrew Potter)

This book was published by HarperCollins in Canada, John Wiley in the U.K. The American edition was published under the title Nation of Rebels, by HarperBusiness. The book has since appeared in the following languages: Spanish, French, German, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Indonesian, Polish, Serbian, Korean, and Japanese.


The Efficient Society

This book was published by Penguin in Canada, and also is available in French translation (from Les presses de l’Université de Montreal).




Academic Papers (organized by topic)

Justice and Morality

• “The Structure of Intergenerational Cooperation,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, 41:1 (2013): 31-66 (link) (ms)

• “Ideal Theory in an n-th Best World,” Journal of Global Ethics, 9:2 (2013): 159-172.

“Letting the World In: Empirical Approaches to Ethics,” The Ethics Forum, 7:3 (2012): 93-107 (full text).

Why Cash Violates Neutrality,” with Vida Panitch, Basic Income Studies, 5 (2010), art. 4 (full text)

• “Three Evolutionary Precursors to Morality,” Dialogue, 48 (2009): 717-752 ( link )

• “Political Egalitarianism,” Social Theory and Practice, 34 (2008): 486-516 ( ms ).

• “The Benefits of Cooperation,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, 34 (2006): 313-351 ( ms ).

• “Envy and Efficiency,” Revue de philosophie économique, 13 (2006). ( ms )

• “Rawls on Global Distributive Justice: A Defence,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy Supplementary Volume, ed. Daniel Weinstock (Lethbridge: University of Calgary Press, 2007). ( full text )

• “On the Scope of Egalitarian Justice,” Les ateliers de l’éthique, 1 (2006). ( link )

• “Dworkin’s Auction,” Politics, Philosophy and Economics, 3 (2005): 313-335. ( full text )

• “Resource Egalitarianism and the Politics of Recognition,” Adding Insult to Injury, ed. Kevin Olson (London: Verso, 2004).

• “The Transcendental Necessity of Morality,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 67 (2003). ( full text )

• “Culture: Choice or Circumstance?” Constellations, 5:2 (1998): 183-200. ( full text)

• “Immigration, Multiculturalism and the Social Contract,” Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 10:2 (1997):343-61. ( full text)

• “Intergenerational Cooperation and Distributive Justice,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 27:3 (1997):361-76. ( full text )

• “A Multi-Stage Game Model of Morals by Agreement,” Dialogue, 35:3 (1996): 529-52 ( link ).


Business Ethics

Market Failure or Government Failure? A Response to Jaworski” Business Ethics Journal Review, 1(8) (2013): 50–56 (full text)

“Business Ethics and the ‘End of History’ in Corporate Law,” Journal of Business Ethics, 102, supp. 1 (2011): 5-20 (ms – please note title change).

• “Business Ethics and (or as) Political Philosophy,” with Jeffrey Moriarty and Wayne Norman, Business Ethics Quarterly, 20 (2010): 427-452.

• “The Uses and Abuses of Agency Theory,” Business Ethics Quarterly, 19 (2009): 497-528 (ms).

• “Business Ethics and Moral Motivation: A Criminological Perspective,” Journal of Business Ethics, 83 (2008): 595-614. ( full text )

• “Reasonable Restrictions on Underwriting,” Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Vol. 7, ed. Patrick Flanagan, Patrick Primeaux and William Ferguson (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006). ( ms )

• “An Adversarial Ethic for Business: or, When Sun-Tzu met the Stakeholder,” Journal of Business Ethics, 69 (2006). ( ms )

• “Business Ethics Without Stakeholders,” Business Ethics Quarterly, 16 (2006): 533-557 ( ms ).

• “Stakeholder Theory, Corporate Governance, and Public Management,” with Wayne Norman, Journal of Business Ethics, 53 (2004): 247-265. ( full text )

• “A Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics,” Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy, Vol. 9 (Berlin: Springer: 2004). ( full text )


Action Theory

Procrastination and the Extended Will,” with Joel Anderson, The Thief of Time, eds. Mark White and Chrisoula Andreou (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). ( ms ) (longer version)

• “Methodological Individualism,” Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (2005). ( link )

• “Practical Irrationality and the Structure of Decision Theory,” in Sarah Stroud and Christine Tappolet, eds Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality (Oxford: Clarendon, 2003).

• “The Robustness of Altruism as an Evolutionary Strategy,” with Scott Woodcock, Biology and Philosophy 17:4 (2002): 567-590. ( full text)

• “Rational Choice with Deontic Constraint,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 31:3 (2001): 361-388.

• “Brandom et les sources de la normativité,” Philosophiques, 28 (2001) : 27-46. ( full text) ( english version)

• “A Pragmatist Theory of Convergence,” Pragmatism, Canadian Journal of Philosophy Supplementary Volume XXII, ed. C.J. Misak (Lethbridge: University of Calgary Press, 1999).

• “The Structure of Normative Control,” Law and Philosophy, 17:4 (1998): 419-442. ( full text)

• “Foundationalism and Practical Reason,” Mind 106:3 (1997):452-73. ( full text)


Critical Theory

“Three Normative Models of the Welfare State,” Public Reason, 3 (2011): 13-44 (full text).

“Thorstein Veblen and American Social Criticism,” in Cheryl Misak, ed. Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) (ms).

• “Liberal Autonomy and Consumer Sovereignty,” Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism, ed. Joel Anderson and John Christman (Cambridge: Cambridge Univeristy Press: 2005).

• “Liberalization, Modernization, Westernization,” Philosophy and Social Criticism, 30 (2004): 665-690.

• “Les soins de santé comme marchandises,” Éthique publique 5:1 (2003): 84-89. ( english version)

• “Reply to Narveson,” Dialogue 42:2, (2003): 373-78.

• “Should Productivity Growth be a Social Priority?” Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress, vol. 2, ed. Andrew Sharpe, Keith Banting, France St-Hilaire (Ottawa: CSLS-IRPP, 2002). ( full text)

• "Problems in the Theory of Ideology," Pragmatism and Critical Theory, ed. James Bohman and William Rehg (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001).

• “The Structure of Hip Consumerism,” Philosophy and Social Criticism, 27 (2001): 1-17. ( full text)

• "Ideology, Irrationality and Collectively Self-Defeating Behaviour," Constellations, 7:3 (2000): 363-371. ( full text)



• “Rebooting Discourse Ethics,” Philosophy and Social Criticism (forthcoming).

• “Legitimation Crisis in the Later Work of Jurgen Habermas” The Journal of Shanghai Administrative Institute, 11:5 (2010) (chinese) (english version)

• “Justice: Transcendental not Metaphysical,” in Fabian Freyenhagen and James Gordon Finlayson, Habermas and Rawls: Disputing the Political (London: Routledge, 2010).

• “System and Lifeworld,” in Barbara Fultner, ed. Habermas: Key Concepts (London: Acumen, 2010).

“Habermas and Analytical Marxism,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (2009): 891-920.

• “Reply to Critics,” Dialogue, 34:2 (2005): 391-398 (symposium on Communicative Action and Rational Choice).

• “Habermas,” Blackwell Companion to Pragmatism, John Shook and Joseph Margolis, eds. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005).

• “What is a Validity Claim?” Philosophy and Social Criticism, 24:4 (1998):23-41. ( full text )

• “Is Language a Game?” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 26:1 (1996): 1-28. ( full text )

• “Rational Choice as Critical Theory,” Philosophy and Social Criticism, 22:5 (1996): 43-62. ( full text )

• “Threats, Promises and Communicative Action,” European Journal of Philosophy, 3:3 (1995): 225-41. ( full text )

• “The Problem of Foundationalism in Habermas’s Discourse Ethics,” Philosophy and Social Criticism, 21:1 (1995): 77-100. ( full text )



The Myth of Shared Values in Canada (Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Management Development, 2003). ( link )



Unpublished Work:


• “The Democracy Deficit in Canada” (ms)

• “Two Myths about Canada-U.S. Integration” (ms)


The above links are fairly old. I’m posting all new working papers to my page on


Bonus Material


• Two deleted chapters from Filthy Lucre:

            Spare the rod, spoil the child

            More democracy


Last updated January 25, 2015