This paper discusses the concept of Dána or charity as the foundation of Indian Sociallife. Dána has been in vogue in India since the Vedic times, but it was codified by the smritis which prescribe do’s and don’ts of the life of the individual. Limiting its scope to Yagnavalkya smriti the paper analyses the significance of Dána as a regulative principle of accumulation of wealth.
In this paper I analyze interpersonal and institutional recognition and discuss the relation of different types of recognition to various principles of social justice (egalitarianism, meritarianism, legitimate favouritism, principles of need and free exchange). Further, I try to characterize contours of good autonomous life, and ask what kind of preconditions it has. I will distinguish between five kinds of preconditions: psychological, material, cultural, intersubjective and institutional. After examining what the role of recognition is among such preconditions, and how (...) they figure in the work of Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser and Charles Taylor, I suggest a somewhat complex and hopefully rich picture of interpersonal and institutional recognition as a precondition of autonomous good life. (shrink)
This analysis maps the deepening global crisis and the principles of its resolution by life-value analysis and method. Received theories of economics and justice and modern rights doctrines are shown to have no ground in life value and to be incapable of recognizing universal life goods and the rising threats to them. In response to this system failure at theoretical and operational levels, the unifying nature and measure of life value are defined to provide the long-missing (...) basis for understanding the common interest, human rights and social justice—that is, the universal life necessities of humanity across cultures and the evolving civil commons infrastructures to ensure them. In contrast, the treaty-imposed corporate rights system miscalled “globalization” is structured to predate life means and support systems at all levels with no accountability beyond itself. Only the logic of life value, human rights and life-protective law, it is concluded, can comprehend or govern this inherently life-blind and cumulatively eco-genocidal regime. (shrink)
This Alfred Schutz Memorial Lecture discusses the relationship between the phenomenological life-world analysis and the methodology of the social sciences, which was the central motive of Schutz’s work. I have set two major goals in this lecture. The first is to scrutinize the postulate of adequacy, as this postulate is the most crucial of Schutz’s methodological postulates. Max Weber devised the postulate ‘adequacy of meaning’ in analogy to the postulate of ‘causal adequacy’ (a concept used in jurisprudence) and (...) regarded both as complementary and, in the context of sociological analysis, critical. Schutz extracted the two postulates from the Neokantian epistemology, dismissed the concept of causality, and reduced Weber’s two postulates of adequacy into one, namely, the adequacy of meaning. I discuss the benefits and shortcomings of this reduction. A major problem, in my view, is that Schutz’s reformulation lost the empirical concern that was inherent in Weber’s ‘causal adequacy’. As a result, the models of economics (which shaped Schutz’s conception of social science) are considered to be adequate if they are ‘understandable’ to an everyday actor, even when they are based on the most unrealistic assumptions. To recapture Weber’s empirical orientation I recommend a more restrictive interpretation of the postulate of adequacy that links it to qualitative research and unfolds the critical potential of Schutz’s phenomenological life-world analysis. My second goal is to report on some current developments in German sociology in which a number of approaches explicitly refer to Schutz’s analysis of the life-world and attempt to pursue ‘adequate’ empirical research. This lecture focuses on three approaches: ethnophenomenology, life-world analytic ethnography, and social scientific hermeneutics. (shrink)
This papers attempts to bridge business ethics to corporate social responsibility including the social and environmental dimensions. The objective of the paper is to suggest an improvement of the most commonly used corporate environmental management tool, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The method includes two stages. First, more phases are added to the life-cycle of a product. Second, social criteria that measure the social performance of a product are introduced. An application of this “extended” (...) LCA tool is given. (shrink)
Presently, the social responsibility literature is replete with the diverse ways in which work organizations and the regulatory nation states in which they are domiciled can improve the quality of their workers’ lives. But do workers themselves become motivated to contribute (i.e., give back) to society when they experience a work life of better quality than their peers? Specifically, which sectors of society do such workers contribute to? Through a questionnaire that was administered to a cross section of (...) workers in the private sector of Nigeria, this study found out that quality of work life (QWL) correlates significantly and positively with workers’ motivation to contribute to society. However, workers were less motivated to contribute to Nigeria’s government sector that is globally known for corruption than making contributions to the piety and social infrastructural sectors. Results also revealed that both the paternalistic and consultative forms of social responsibility were positively related with QWL. These results imply that social responsibility should be seen as a veritable platform on which satisfied stakeholders of business organizations can reciprocally make their own contributions for the overall good of society. By virtue of stakeholders’ contributions, the benefits of corporate social responsibility can actually reverberate into other sectors of societal life (e.g., the piety sector) that were never thought of during the design phase of socially responsible programmes. Finally, the study’s findings give credence to Anil Sarin’s Contributory Theory of Existence which states that people who have once received help from a particular organ of society (e.g., educational system, health care system, etc.) will be motivated to contribute to that organ or other organs of society. (shrink)
Patents for genetic material in theindustrialized North have expandedsignificantly over the past twenty years,playing a crucial role in the currentconfiguration of the agricultural biotechnologyindustries, and raising significant ethicalissues. Patents have been claimed for genes,gene sequences, engineered crop species, andthe technical processes to engineer them. Mostcritics have addressed the human and ecosystemhealth implications of genetically engineeredcrops, but these broad patents raise economicissues as well. The Catholic social teachingtradition offers guidelines for critiquing theeconomic implications of this new patentregime. The Catholic principle (...) of the universaldestination of goods implies that genes, genesequences, and engineered crop varieties areineligible for patent protection, although theprocesses to engineer these should be eligible.Religious leaders are likely to make a moresubstantive contribution to debates aboutagricultural biotechnology by addressing theselife patents than by speculating that geneticengineering is ``playing God.''''. (shrink)
We often face a bewildering array of different explanations for the same social facts (e.g. biological, psychological, economic, and historical accounts). But we have few guidelines for whether and when we should think of different accounts as competing or compatible. In this paper, I offer some guidelines for understanding when custom or norm accounts do and don’t compete with other types of accounts. I describe two families of non-competing accounts: (1) explanations of different (but similarly described) facts, and (2) (...) accounts which seem to differ but are really different parts or versions of the same underlying explanation. I argue that, while many types of apparent competitors don’t really compete with customs, there are some that do. I also describe some of the central problems, which suggest that custom accounts will compete poorly with their rivals. (shrink)
The term “social cognition” can be construed in different ways. On the one hand, it can refer to the cognitive faculties involved in social activities, defined simply as situations where two or more individuals interact. On this view, social systems would consist of interactions between autonomous individuals; these interactions form higher-level autonomous domains not reducible to individual actions. A contrasting, alternative view is based on a much stronger theoretical definition of a truly social domain, which is (...) always defined by a set of structural norms; moreover, these social structures are not only a set of constraints, but actually constitute the possibility of enacting worlds that would just not exist without them. This view emphasises the heteronomy of individuals who abide by norms that are impersonal, culturally inherited and to a large extent independent of the individuals. Human beings are socialised through and through; consequently, all human cognition is social cognition. The article argues for this second position. Finally, it appears that fully blown autonomy actually requires heteronomy. It is the acceptance of the constraints of social structures that enables individuals to enter new realms of common meaningfulness. The emergence of sociallife marks a crucial step in the evolution of cognition; so that at some evolutionary point human cognition cannot but be social cognition. (shrink)
Through a detailed re-reading of Saussure's work in the light of contemporary developments in the human, life and physical sciences, Paul Thibault provides us with the means to redefine and refocus our theories of social meaning-making. Saussure's theory of language is generally considered to be a formal theory of abstract sign-types and sign-systems, separate from our individual and social practices of making meaning. In this challenging book, Thibault presents a different view of Saussure. Paying close attention to (...) the original texts, including the Cours de Linguistic Generale, he demonstrates that Saussure was centrally concerned with trying to formulate a theory of how meanings are made. In addition to demonstrating the continuing viability of Saussure's thinking through a range of examples, Re-reading Saussure makes an important intervention in contemporary linguistic and semiotic debate. (shrink)
Unraveling all the mysteries of the khipu--the knotted string device used by the Inka to record both statistical data and narrative accounts of myths, histories, and genealogies--will require an understanding of how number values and relations may have been used to encode information on social, familial, and political relationships and structures. This is the problem Gary Urton tackles in his pathfinding study of the origin, meaning, and significance of numbers and the philosophical principles underlying the practice of arithmetic among (...) Quechua-speaking peoples of the Andes. Based on fieldwork in communities around Sucre, in south-central Bolivia, Urton argues that the origin and meaning of numbers were and are conceived of by Quechua-speaking peoples in ways similar to their ideas about, and formulations of, gender, age, and social relations. He also demonstrates that their practice of arithmetic is based on a well-articulated body of philosophical principles and values that reflects a continuous attempt to maintain balance, harmony, and equilibrium in the material, social, and moral spheres of community life. (shrink)
"Through the close analysis of musical performance and tradition, the scholarly contributiors to Island Songs provide a global review of how island songs, their lyrics, and their singers engage with the challenges of modernity, migration , ...
This paper argues that we need to go beyond norms and normativity in the study of sociallife. The main purpose of the paper is to offer concepts and resources for a study of familiarity and estrangement, which, it is argued, is better placed (than a study of norms and normativity) to remind us, as we constantly need to be reminded, of one the most difficult things about living together, namely, how we understand the world of (...) another person and with what attitude we approach all that which is unfamiliar to us. (shrink)
This research is concerned with the innate predispositions underlying human intentional communication. Human communication is currently defined as a circular and overt attempt to modify a partner's mental states. This requires each party involved to posse ss the ability to represent and understand the other's mental states, a capability which is commonly referred to as mindreading, or theory of mind (ToM). The relevant experimental literature agrees that no such capability is to be found in the human speci es at least (...) during the first year of life, and possibly later. This paper aims at advancing a solution to this theoretical problem. We propose to consider sharedness as the basis for intentional communication in the infant and to view it as a primitive, i nnate component of her cognitive architecture. Communication can then build upon the mental grounds that the infant takes as shared with her caregivers. We view this capability as a theory of mind in a weak sense.›. (shrink)
(2001). A quick peek into the abyss: The game of sociallife in Martin Hollis's trust within reason. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy: Vol. 4, Trusting in Reason: Martin Hollis and the Philosophy of Social Action, pp. 193-206. doi: 10.1080/13698230108403371.
Individuals actively and continually construct the knowledge required for their working lives. Two outcomes arise from this constructive process: (i) individual change (i.e. learning) and (ii) the remaking of culturally-derived practices comprising work. These arise through a relational interdependence between the contributions and agency of the personal and the social. The relationship is interdependent because neither the social nor personal contributions alone are sufficient. The social experience is important for articulating and providing access to work performance requirements. (...) However, personal factors such as individuals' capacities, subjectivities and agency shape how workers interpret and engage with what they experience and, consequently, how they learn and remake practice throughout their working life. This case is elaborated through a discussion about learning with considerations of intersubjectivity, personal epistemologies, pedagogy and curriculum as experience. (shrink)
The Dynamics of Social Practice -- Introducing Theories of Practice -- Materials and Resources -- Sequence and Structure -- Making and Breaking Links -- Material, Competence and Meaning -- Car-Driving: Elements and Linkages Making Links -- Breaking Links -- Elements Between Practices -- Standardization and Diversity -- Individual and Collective Careers -- The Life of Elements -- Modes of Circulation -- Transportation and Access: Material -- Abstraction, Reversal and Migration: Competence -- Association and Classification: Meaning -- Packing and (...) Unpacking -- Emergence, Disappearance and Persistence -- Recruitment, Defection and Reproduction -- First Encounters: Networks and Communities -- Capture and Commitment: Careers and Carriers -- Collapse and Transformation: The Dynamics of Defection -- Daily Paths, Life Paths and Dominant Projects -- Connections Between Practices -- Bundles and Complexes -- Collaboration and Competition -- Selection and Integration -- Coordinating Daily Life -- Circuits of Reproduction -- Monitoring Practices-as-Performances -- Monitoring Practices-as-Entities -- Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Performances -- Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Entities -- Aggregation -- Elements of Coordination -- Intersecting Circuits -- Representing the Dynamics of Social Practice -- Representing Elements and Practices -- Characterizing Circulation -- Competition, Transformation and Convergence -- Reproducing Elements, Practices and Relations between Them -- Time and Practice -- Space and Practice -- Dominant Projects and Power -- Promoting Transitions in Practice -- Climate Change and Behaviour Change -- Basis of Action -- Processes of Change -- Positioning Policy -- Transferable Lessons -- Practice Theory and Climate Change Policy -- Configuring Elements of Practice -- Configuring Relations between Practices -- Configuring Careers: Carriers and Practices -- Configuring Connections -- Practice Oriented Policy Making. (shrink)
Free will can be understood as a novel form of action control that evolved to meet the escalating demands of human sociallife, including moral action and pursuit of enlightened self-interest in a cultural context. That understanding is conducive to scientific research, which is reviewed here in support of four hypotheses. First, laypersons tend to believe in free will. Second, that belief has behavioral consequences, including increases in socially and culturally desirable acts. Third, laypersons can reliably distinguish free (...) actions from less free ones. Fourth, actions judged as free emerge from a distinctive set of inner processes, all of which share a common psychological and physiological signature. These inner processes include self-control, rational choice, planning, and initiative. (shrink)
Shame is notoriously ambivalent. On one hand, it operates as a mechanism of normalization and social exclusion, installing or reinforcing patterns of silence and invisibility; on the other hand, the capacity for shame may be indispensible for ethical life insofar as it attests to the subject’s constitutive relationality and its openness to the provocation of others. Sartre, Levinas and Beauvoir each offer phenomenological analyses of shame in which its basic structure emerges as a feeling of being exposed to (...) others and bound to one’s own identity. For Sartre, shame is an ontological provocation, constitutive of subjectivity as a being-for-Others. For Levinas, ontological shame takes the form of an inability to escape one’s own relation to being; this predicament is altered by the ethical provocation of an Other who puts my freedom in question and commands me to justify myself. For Beauvoir, shame is an effect of oppression, both for the woman whose embodied existence is marked as shameful, and for the beneficiary of colonial domination who feels ashamed of her privilege. For each thinker, shame articulates the temporality of sociallife in both its promise and its danger. (shrink)
1. In order to clear up the mystery of how consciousness is possible, we do not need to await further scientific developments in the study of the brain. The reason for the explanatory gap is that we have supposed mental life to be a natural phenomenon occurring inside the minds or brains of individuals. Descartes believed that consciousness occurred in individual minds, which he took to be immaterial. If we abandon immaterial substances, then we seem forced to say that (...) somehow consciousness arises from the chemical activity of that incredibly complex organ between our ears. But those who, as David Chalmers puts it, “take consciousness seriously”2 find it hard to see how the thoughts and feelings you are having right now could be produced by a “piece of meat” you could put in a jar. Do we, then, have to await the discovery of some non-physical properties of brains that could explain how consciousness happens? My claim is that we already have the concepts necessary to render consciousness an intelligible feature of the world as we know it. They are staring us right in the face, for they belong to the category of the social. Mental activity is a feature of our sociallife, and it can be explained and understood only by participants in that sociallife. Thus consciousness is not something that occurs in individuals, any more than my bank balance is a feature of me as an individual. Nor is it a natural phenomenon, in the sense in which the natural is contrasted with what is socially constructed— consciousness is more like a banking transaction than a chemical reaction. (shrink)
Douglas Harper and Patrizia Faccioli: The Italian Way: Food & SocialLife Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s10806-012-9379-x Authors Gigi Berardi, Department of Environmental Studies, Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Resurgent interest incommodities is linked to recent attempts toovercome the constraints posed by the binariesof economy/culture and production/consumption.Commodities and commodification represent acontentious convergence of economic, social,cultural, political, and moral concerns. Thisessay develops a conceptual framework forunderstanding this interconnectedness byexamining the relationship between commoditiesand our discourse, practices, and assumptionsabout food. We argue that the movement of afood artifact between local/global andglobal/local contexts is mediated by dynamicsof power and resistance that represent contestsof meaning regarding the criteria of that artifact's exchangeability. We (...) apply thisframework to the case of the tortilla, tracingits sociallife through an historical accountof its transformation from the staple food ofthe Mayan and Aztec people to its introductionas a fast food component of the diets of21st century Americans. This exampledemonstrates that food provides a powerful lensthrough which to trace and illustrate theinterconnectedness between material andsymbolic exchanges around the world that arecommonly associated with globalization. (shrink)
The moral justification of Will Kymlicka's theory of minority rights is unconvincing. According to Kymlicka, cultural embeddedness is a necessary condition for personal autonomy (which is, in turn, the precondition for the good life) and for that reason liberals should be concerned about culture. I will criticize this instrumentalism of social attachments and the moral monism behind it. On the basis of a modification of Axel Honneth's theory of recognition, I will reject the false opposition between the instrumental (...) value and the intrinsic value of culture. Honneth makes a distinction between three types of recognition: (1) love; (2) respect; and (3) social esteem. Recognition of cultural difference is situated in the third sphere. But the logic of a recognition of cultural difference also demands a non-evaluative recognition, a respect for difference. Difference-respect cannot be reduced to the recognition of personal autonomy or to the recognition of a culture as such. Difference-respect is concerned with a formal recognition of difference, namely the recognition of a culture's intrinsic value for the other. By recognizing the moral importance both of personal autonomy and of social attachments, we do not have to surrender to the reductive bent in modern moral philosophy. 1 Key Words: Axel Honneth identity instrumentalism intrinsic value of culture moral justification multiculturalism recognition value pluralism Will Kymlicka. (shrink)
This article reports on the third phase of a comparative epistemological, ontological, and social analysis of a variety of approaches to investigating human behavior. In focusing on the fate of scientific ideas once they leave the context in which they were developed, I hope not only to show that their communication for a broader audience imposes a shape on their interrelations different than they seem to have in the research context, but also to suggest that a study comparing different (...) approaches to the same phenomenon is more illuminating than one that focuses on a single approach. (shrink)
The life–mind continuity thesis holds that mind is prefigured in life and that mind belongs to life. The biggest challenge faced by proponents of this thesis is to show how an explanatory framework that accounts for basic biological processes can be systematically extended to incorporate the highest reaches of human cognition. We suggest that this apparent ‘cognitive gap’ between minimal and human forms of life appears insurmountable largely because of the methodological individualism that is prevalent in (...) cognitive science. Accordingly, a twofold strategy is used to show how a consideration of sociality can address both sides of the cognitive gap: (1) it is argued from a systemic perspective that inter-agent interactions can extend the behavioral domain of even the simplest agents and (2) it is argued from a phenomenological perspective that the cognitive attitude characteristic of adult human beings is essentially intersubjectively constituted, in particular with respect to the possibility of perceiving objects as detached from our own immediate concerns. These two complementary considerations of the constitutive role of inter-agent interactions for mind and cognition indicate that sociality is an indispensable element of the life–mind continuity thesis and of cognitive science more generally. (shrink)
This article proposes "equality" as a topic for interactionist research. By drawing on the perspectives of Herbert Blumer, Alfred Schutz, and Harold Garfinkel, an attempt is made to lay the theoretical groundwork for studying the interpretive and experiential aspects of equality. Blumer's fundamental premises of symbolic interactionism, Schutz's analysis of relevance and typification, and Garfinkel's treatment of reflexivity and indexicality are explicated and applied to the subject of equality. I then draw upon the moral theory of John Dewey to suggest (...) the positive role that interactionist theory and research might play in the resolution of problematic situations that are framed in terms of equality. Collectively, the complementary aspects of Blumer's, Schutz's, Garfinkel's, and Dewey's thought are used to justify and launch a program of research on a neglected yet important topic: the social construction of equality in everyday life. (shrink)
This introduction provides an overview of the life, career, and social thought of Gerhard Lenski. Following a preliminary description of Lenski's contributions, this essay is divided into two sections. The first section examines the origins, education, and biographical influences on Lenski as a major social theorist as well as the intellectual foundation of his sociological theories. The second section presents Lenski's work, impact, and legacy and sets the stage for the original essays that are grouped around four (...) of six key areas of Lenski's work, which has had enormous impact on both American and international sociology: (1) teaching sociology; (2) "status crystallization" and "status inconsistency"; (3) sociology of religion and "the religious factor"; (4) social stratification, "power and privilege"; (5) gender stratification in comparative-historical perspective; and (6) ecological-evolutionary theory. While these six areas do not correspond neatly to the progressive phases of Lenski's theory development and sociological career, they are interconnected and reflect Lenski's central concerns in asking the big questions about human societies and in providing explanations for understanding the processes of social change, differentiation, and inequality among and within human societies, across time and space, from hunting and gathering to postindus trial societies. (shrink)
In a comprehensive and innovative reassessment of the discipline, this book argues that classical and contemporary social theories must be studied in relation to the ambition that shaped and established sociology: the ambition to comprehend the relationship between social and moral life. Surveying a range of sociological analyses from Comte to feminism, postmodernism and rational choice theory, this book examines the various attempts that have been made to reconstruct the discipline over the last century, and the challenges (...) facing it today. The book situates sociology in its historical, philosophical and theological contexts and examines how the founders of the discipline developed competing analyses of the processes elementary to social and moral life through their distinctive sociological contributions. Individual chapters examine `Human Sociology', `Sacred Sociology', `Tragic Sociology', `Heroic Sociology' and `Normative Sociology'. The book moves on to discuss post-classical thought, and the attempted reconstruction of the subject. Separate chapters are devoted to `Conflict Sociology', `Feminist Sociology', `Racial Sociology', `Rational Sociology' and `Post//Modern Sociology'. The result is a landmark work in recent sociological study. Accomplished, erudite and alive with ideas, the book will be required reading for students of sociology, social theory, religious studies and cultural studies. (shrink)