Consider a group of people whose preferences satisfy the axioms of one of the current versions of utility theory, such as von Neumann-Morgenstern (1944), Savage (1954), or Bolker-Jeﬀrey (1965). There are political and economic contexts in which it is of interest to ﬁnd ways of aggregating these individual preferences into a group preference ranking. The question then arises of whether methods of aggregation exist in which the group’s preferences also satisfy the axioms of the chosen utility theory, and in which (...) at the same time the aggregation process satisﬁes certain plausible conditions (e.g., the Pareto conditions below). (shrink)
Philippe van Parijs (2003) has argued that an egalitarian ethos cannot be part of a post- Political Liberalism Rawlsian view of justice, because the demands of political justice are confined to principles for institutions of the basic structure alone. This paper argues, by contrast, that certain principles for individual conduct—including a principle requiring relatively advantaged individuals to sometimes make their economic choices with the aim of maximising the prospects of the least advantaged—are an integral part of a Rawlsian political conception (...) of justice. It concludes that incentive payments will have a clearly limited role in a Rawlsian theory of justice. (shrink)
This paper proposes an approach to the question of meaning and understanding based on the idea of constitutive rules and their relationship to the social objects they are used to create. This approach implicates mutual attention as an essential aspect of the social processes constitutive of social objects and mutual intelligibility. Social objects as such include the meaning, perception and coherence of things, identities and talk, etc. There is a relatively unexplored but important line of argument in sociology that has, (...) from the beginning, explained the coherence and mutual intelligibility of social objects and associations in terms of constitutive practices and social facts. This line of argument begins with Emile Durkheim (1893) and carries through the work of Harold Garfinkel to current studies of work and interaction, human computer interaction and talk. The argument is that we use constitutive practices (Constitutive rules or constitutive background expectancies) to create social objects and make coherent and shared meanings. To act is in this sense for Garfinkel (2006) to “mean”. Explaining the consistency of social objects and orders in terms of constitutive orders, rules, or practices is an approach that meets the challenges posed to social science and philosophy by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1953), Peter Winch (1958) and Paul Grice (1989). (shrink)
The first part of this paper makes five points: First, the problem of Otherness is different and differently constructed in modern differentiated societies. Therefore, approaches to Otherness based on traditional notions of difference and boundary between societies and systems of shared belief will not suffice; Second, because solidarity can no longer be maintained through boundaries between ingroup and outgroup, social cohesion has to take a different form; Third, to the extent that Otherness is not a condition of demographic, or belief (...) based, exclusion in modern societies, but rather something that happens to people otherwise available to one another in interaction, othering is a processthat occurs over the course of interaction, turn by turn, not a set of beliefs or a state of mind; Fourth, othering may be supported by accounts and narratives, and these may exist before the fact – or be articulated after the fact. But, over the course of an ongoing interaction, beliefs and narratives do not explain what goes wrong with practices; Fifth, practices require reciprocity and trust. Therefore, practices require a morestringent form of morality – not a less stringent form – and moresocial cohesion – not less – than traditional society.The second part of the paper illustrates these five points with an extended analysis of a cross-race interaction in which accounts are invoked, reciprocity breaks down, and participants are rendered as Accountable Others. (shrink)
Anne Warfield Rawls argues that, although Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religion is the crowning achievement of his sociological accomplishments, it has been consistently misunderstood. Rather than a work on primitive religion or the sociology of knowledge, Rawls asserts that Durkheim's analysis represents an attempt to establish a unique epistemological basis for the study of sociology and moral relations. Based on detailed analysis of the primary text, this book will be an important and original contribution to contemporary debates on social (...) theory and philosophy. (shrink)
This article reports on a study of interaction between Americans who self-identify as Black and White that reveals underlying expectations with regard to conversation that differ between the two groups. These differences seem not to have much to do with class or gender, but rather vary largely according to self-identification by "race." The argument of this paper will be that the social phenomena of "race" are constructed at the level of interaction whenever Americans self-identified as Black and White speak to (...) one another. This is because the Interaction Order expectations with regard to both self and community vary between the two groups. Because the "language games" and conversational "preferences" practiced by the two groups are responsive to different Interaction Orders, the "working consensus" is substantially different, and as a consequence, conversational "moves" are not recognizably the same. It will be argued that a great deal of institutional discrimination against African Americans can be traced to this source. (shrink)
Durkheim's lectures on pragmatism, given in 1913-14, constitute both a significant critique of pragmatism and a clarification of Durkheim's own position. Unfortunately, these lectures have received little attention, most of it critical. When they have been taken seriously, the analysis tends to focus on their historical context and not on the details of Durkheim's actual argument. This is partly because the tendency to interpret Durkheim's theory of knowledge in idealist terms makes a nonsense of his criticisms of pragmatism. It is (...) also due to a lack of serious appraisal of the lectures as a series of arguments in their own right. (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer an approach to the history of moral and political philosophy that takes its inspiration from John Rawls. All the contributors are philosophers who have studied with Rawls and they offer this collection in his honor. The distinctive feature of this approach is to address substantive normative questions in moral and political philosophy through an analysis of the texts and theories of major figures in the history of the subject: Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, and (...) Marx. By reconstructing the core of these theories in a way that is informed by contemporary theoretical concerns, the contributors show how the history of the subject is a resource for understanding present and perennial problems in moral and political philosophy. This outstanding collection will be of particular interest to historians of moral and political philosophy, historians of ideas, and political scientists. (shrink)
There are many forms of utilitarianism, and the development of the theory has continued in recent years. I shall not survey these forms here, nor take account of the numerous refinements found in contemporary discussions. My aim is to work out a theory of justice that represents an alternative to utilitarian thought generally and so to all of these different versions of it. I believe that the contrast between the contract view and utilitarianism remains essentially the same in all these (...) cases. Therefore I shall compare justice as fairness with familiar variants of intuitionism, perfectionism, and utilitarianism in order to bring out the underlying differences in the simplest way. With this end in mind, the kind of utilitarianism I shall describe here is the strict classical doctrine which receives perhaps its clearest and most accessible formulation in Sidgwick. The main idea is that society is rightly ordered, and therefore just, when its major institutions are arranged so as to achieve the greatest net balance of satisfaction summed over all the individuals belonging to it.9.. (shrink)
Goffman is credited with enriching our understanding of the details of interaction, but not with challenging our theoretical understanding of social organization. While Goffman's position is not consistent, the outlines for a theory of an interaction order sui generis may be found in his work. It is not theoretically adequate to understand Goffman as an interactionist within the dichotomy between agency and social structure. Goffman offers a way of resolving this dichotomy via the idea of an interaction order which is (...) constitutive of self and at the same time places demands on social structure. This has significant implications for our understanding of social organization in general. (shrink)
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The existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre is critiqued from the point of view of Goffmanian sociology of everyday life. Despite many parallels between the two positions, the philosophical viewpoint should not be taken as necessarily more sophisticated than the sociological. Meaning, self, and institutional order are interactional achievements, and thus studies in conversational analysis and ethnomethodology become the basis for a critique of epistemology.