Laurent Dobuzinskis, PhD


My research interests have changed over the years. I began my career working along two streams: the philosophy of social science—in particular, the theory of complex systems; and the role of ideas in the policy process (e.g., think tanks), public administration, and governance in general. But I gradually moved toward the study of the history of political and economic ideas. To be a little more specific, I analyze and critically discuss ideas advanced by liberal thinkers, especially, albeit not exclusively, those of 18th and 19th century French thinkers. But I am also interested in Austrian economics (e.g., F.A. Hayek). Although leaning toward classical liberalism, I have a preference for “nonideal theory” as a framework for achieving a pragmatic synthesis of complementary perspectives on civil society, markets, and political institutions. “Nonideal” implies refraining from a dogmatic insistence on pursuing a perfect solution to problems that typically do not admit of such solutions and, in a pragmatic manner, settling instead for what is feasible. Nonideal, however, does not equate with an absence of ethical commitment. Thus I strongly advocate seeking ways to achieve fair reciprocity in market exchanges, and in the uses of political power.

I have published three single-authored books: The Self-Organizing Polity: An Epistemological Analysis of Political Life (1987), Moral Discourse in the History of Economic Thought (2022), and Economic Growth and Inequality: The Economists’ Dilemma (2023), I have co-edited several volumes, as well as of articles and book chapters on an eclectic range of issues concerning practical and theoretical developments in public policy and political economy, from the implications of the concept of governance,  to the challenges and prospects of globalization, to the pros and cons of a basic income guarantee to the uses of game theory, among other topics. And I have published some papers more specifically focused on political theory and the French civic republican tradition in particular.