From Colonial Past to Global Reality
New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series
Chapter 1: The philosophical view
The tension between ideal and reality is perhaps the most striking feature of modern philosophy. This tension is particularly rich for the analysis of phenomena of power. This is what we see in the two poles of modern unitary philosophy. The ideal world of a priori knowledge, first and foremost of Kant, opens the door to scientific positivism and scientism of the modern world. Particularly useful in Kantian philosophy for this technical-scientific view regarding social phenomena and power are the a priori synthetic concepts, that is, those concepts which, although not purely analytical (deductible from logic) and therefore requiring an analysis and verification in practice, can be defined ex ante, that is, even before the reality that they seek to interpret. This Kantian idea is undoubtedly the ultimate philosophical foundation for the entire classical and neoclassical theoretical construction and, as a result, of much of the current economic construction, glorifying economic power. Indeed, only a presumptive concept defined purely in the world of ideas and that can be compared (though not confronted) with reality (as is the synthetic concept a priori) is able, for example, to justify marginalism in microeconomics, despite its widely known unachievable assumptions. As is known, it is marginalism that is behind microeconomic neoclassicism and its indulgent view of economic power. In Hegel, on the contrary, the reality seems self-explanatory and sufficient. Hegel seeks to make this ideal and idealized reality something which conforms to its universal dialectical rule.