Joseph Heath (born 1967) is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He also teaches at the School of Public Policy and Governance. He received his bachelor of arts from McGill University, where his teachers included Charles Taylor, and his master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees are from Northwestern University, where he studied under Thomas A. McCarthy and Jürgen Habermas. He has published both academic and popular writings, including the bestselling The Rebel Sell. His philosophical work includes papers and books in political philosophy, business ethics, rational choice theory, action theory, and critical theory.
Joseph Heath is the recipient of the prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellowship (2012). In 2013, Heath was named to the Royal Society of Canada.
The central claim of The Rebel Sell is that counter-cultural movements have failed, and that they all share a common fatal error in the way they understand society; thus counter-culture is not a threat to "the system". For example, it is suggested of Adbusters' Blackspot campaign that the shoe's existence proves that "no rational person could possibly believe that there is any tension between 'mainstream' and 'alternative' culture."
It would make just as much sense to declare an annual "mortgage freedom day", in order to let mortgage owners know what day they "stop working for the bank and start working for themselves". ...But who cares? Homeowners are not really "working for the bank"; they're merely financing their own consumption. After all, they're the ones living in the house, not the bank manager.
- The Efficient Society, 2002.
- The Rebel Sell, 2004, with Andrew Potter.
- Filthy Lucre: Economics for People Who Hate Capitalism, 2009.
- Communicative Action and Rational Choice, 2001.
- Following the Rules. Practical Reasoning and Deontic Constraint, 2008.
- Heath, Joseph. Filthy Lucre. p. 90.
- Home page
- University of Toronto profile
- Audio file of lecture by Heath & Potter summarizing The Rebel Sell from TVO's Big Ideas
- Video (with mp3 available) of conversation between Heath and Will Wilkinson on Bloggingheads.tv
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