To naturalize religion we must identify what religion is, and what aspects of it we are trying to explain. In this paper religious social institutional behavior is the explanatory target, and an explanatory hypothesis based on shared primate socialdominance psychology is given. The argument is that various religious features, including the high status afforded the religious, and the high status afforded to deities, is an expression of this socialdominance psychology in a context for (...) which it did not evolve: high density populations made possible by agriculture. (shrink)
Four aspects of Mazur & Booth's target article are discussed from a comparative perspective using teleost fish as a reference: (a) the relationship between aggression, dominance, and androgens; (b) the interpretation of the data in light of the challenge hypothesis; (c) the potential role of testosterone as a physiological mediator between social status and the expression of male characters; and (d) the fact that metabolic conversions of testosterone may be important in its effect on aggression/ dominance.
A number of animal species from different lineages live socially. One of the features of social living is the formation of dominance hierarchy. Despite its obvious benefit in the survival probability of the species, the hierarchical structureitself poses psychological and physiological burden leading to the chronic activation of stress related pathways. Considering these apparently conflicting observations, here we propose that social hierarchy can act as a selective force in the evolution of social species. We also discuss (...) its role on social psychology. (shrink)
While doctors generally enjoy considerable status, some believe that this is increasingly threatened by consumerism, managerialism, and competition from other health professions. Research into doctors’ perceptions of the changes occurring in medicine has provided some insights into how they perceive and respond to these changes but has generally failed to distinguish clearly between concerns about “status,” related to the entitlements associated with one’s position in a social hierarchy, and concerns about “respect,” related to being held in high regard for (...) one’s moral qualities. In this article we explore doctors’ perceptions of the degree to which they are respected and their explanations for, and responses to, instances of perceived lack of respect. We conclude that doctors’ concerns about loss of respect need to be clearly distinguished from concerns about loss of status and that medical students need to be prepared for a changing social field in which others’ respect cannot be taken for granted. (shrink)
There is converging evidence from developmental and cognitive psychology, as well as from neuroscience, to suggest that the self is both special and social, and that self-other interaction is the driving force behind self-development. We review experimental findings which demonstrate that human infants are motivated for social interactions and suggest that the development of an awareness of other minds is rooted in the implicit notion that others are like the self. We then marshal evidence from functional neuroimaging explorations (...) of the neurophysiological substrate of shared representations between the self and others, using various ecological paradigms such as mentally representing one's own actions versus others' actions, watching the actions executed by others, imitating the others' actions versus being imitated by others. We suggest that within this shared neural network the inferior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere play a special role in the essential ability to distinguish the self from others, and in the way the self represents the other. Interestingly, the right hemisphere develops its functions earlier than the left. (shrink)
Dominance hierarchies are ubiquitous in the societies of human and non-human animals. Evidence from comparative, developmental, and cognitive psychological investigations is presented that show how socialdominance hierarchies shaped the evolution of the human mind, and hence, human social institutions. It is argued that the pressures that arise from living in hierarchical social groups laid a foundation of fundamental concepts and cognitive strategies that are crucial to surviving in socialdominance hierarchies. These include (...) recognizing and reasoning transitively about dominance relations, fast-track learning of social norms (permissions, prohibitions, and obligations), detecting violations of social norms (cheating), monitoring reciprocal obligations, and reading the intentions of others. (shrink)
Many commentators have remarked upon the striking points of correspondence that can be found in the works of Freud and Nietzsche. However, this essay argues that on the subject of desire their work presents us with a radical choice: Freud or Nietzsche. I first argue that Freud’s theory of desire is grounded in the principle of inertia, a principle that is incompatible with his later theory of Eros and the life drive. Furthermore, the principle of inertia is not essentially distinct (...) from his later theory of the death drive. Consequently, Freud’s theory of desire can only be interpreted consistently as a monism of the death drive. I then analyze Nietzsche’s attempt to ground his theory of desire in the concept of the will to power. I argue that Nietzsche’s view of desire is fundamentally opposed to the key elements of Freud’s theory of desire: the principle of constancy, the Freudian definition of the drive, and the pleasure principle. Next, I explicate the stakes of this opposition by analyzing the social consequences of each view for morality and justice. I argue that the Freudian subject seeks to dominate the social other, and that there is an insurmountable conflict between the satisfaction of desire and the demands of social life. Consequently, Freud’s view allows only for a negative conception of the social good in which morality is defined as the intrinsically impossible task of eliminating evil, and justice can be achieved only through the equal distribution of instinctual frustration. Finally, I argue that in Nietzsche’s theory of desire there is no essential conflict between individual desire and social life. The Nietzschean subject desires to manifest power in the form of activity that is independent of external agents, not to dominate the other. Consequently, Nietzsche’s view allows for the possibility of a positively defined concept of the social good in which morality is the affirmation and enhancement of every subject’s happiness, and justice can be achieved through the promotion and protection of an equality of power among subjects. (shrink)
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)
Social identity poses one of the most important challenges to rational choice theory, but rational choice theorists do not hold a common position regarding identity. On one hand, externalist rational choice ignores the concept of identity or reduces it to revealed preferences. On the other hand, internalist rational choice considers identity as a key concept in explaining social action because it permits expressive motivations to be included in the models. However, internalist theorists tend to reduce identity to desire—the (...) desire of a person to express his or her social being. From an internalist point of view, that is, from a viewpoint in which not only desires but also beliefs play a key role in social explanations as mental entities, this article rejects externalist reductionism and proposes a redefinition of social identity as a net of beliefs about oneself, beliefs that are indexical, robust, and socially shaped. (shrink)
The human ability to represent, conceptualize, and reason about mind and behavior is one of the greatest achievements of human evolution and is made possible by a “folk theory of mind” — a sophisticated conceptual framework that relates different mental states to each other and connects them to behavior. This chapter examines the nature and elements of this framework and its central functions for social cognition. As a conceptual framework, the folk theory of mind operates prior to any particular (...) conscious or unconscious cognition and provides the “framing” or interpretation of that cognition. Central to this framing is the concept of intentionality, which distinguishes intentional action (caused by the agent’s intention and decision) from unintentional behavior (caused by internal or external events without the intervention of the agent’s decision). A second important distinction separates publicly observable from publicly unobservable (i.e., mental) events. Together, the two distinctions define the kinds of events in social interaction that people attend to, wonder about, and try to explain. A special focus of this chapter is the powerful tool of behavior explanation, which relies on the folk theory of mind but is also intimately tied to social demands and to the perceiver’s social goals. A full understanding of social cognition must consider the folk theory of mind as the conceptual underpinning of all (conscious and unconscious) perception and thinking about the social world. (shrink)
This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s notion (...) of the looping effect of the human sciences, can be developed into an argument for the view that there is no theory-independent true nature of intentional action. If the Davidsonian line of thought is correct, the theory of collective intentionality is, in a sense, true if we accept the theory. Key Words: collective intentionality • experimental economics • social identity theory • Donald Davidson • Ian Hacking • constructivism • action • agency • philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
This paper proposes an empirical hypothesis that in some cases of social interaction we have an immediate perceptual access to others' minds in the perception of their embodied intentionality. Our point of departure is the phenomenological insight that there is an experiential difference in the perception of embodied intentionality and the perception of non-intentionality. The other's embodied intentionality is perceptually given in a way that is different from the givenness of non-intentionality. We claim that the phenomenological difference in the (...) perception of embodied intentionality and non-intentionality translates into an account of how, in some cases of social cognition, we perceive mental properties in the perception of embodied intentionality. The hypothesis derives support from a host of recent empirical studies in social neuroscience which demonstrate the importance of embodied engagements in understanding other minds. These studies reveal that embodied intersubjective interaction often builds on our ability to understand other minds in an immediate perceptual way not adequately investigated by theory-theory (TT) and simulation theories (ST) of mind-reading. We argue that there is a genuine, nontrivial difference in the informational content of the perception of embodied intentionality and the perception of non-intentionality which leads to a further difference in the way information is processed in the case of perception of embodied intentionality as opposed to the perception of non-intentionality. The full significance of such difference is appreciated only within an account of perception which views perception and action as tightly coupled. Thus, we propose an "action-oriented account of social perception" to develop a neurophilosophical account of the perceptual knowledge of other minds. (shrink)
In this paper recognition is taken to be a question of social ontology, regarding the very constitution of the social space of interaction. I concentrate on the question of whether certain aspects of the theory of recognition can be translated into the terms of a socio-ontological paradigm: to do so, I make reference to some conceptual tools derived from John Searle's social ontology and Robert Brandom's normative pragmatics. My strategy consists in showing that recognitive phenomena cannot be (...) isolated at the level of human interaction, and are, rather, in part proper to animal interaction as well. Furthermore, it is argued that recognitive powers are constitutive powers more basic than deontic ones and play a role much broader than the one they in fact assume in Searle and in Brandom. (shrink)
This paper presents the history of the Frankfurt School’s inclusion of normative concerns in social science research programs during the period 1930-1955. After examining the relevant methodology, I present a model of how such a program could look today. I argue that such an approach is both valuable to contemporary social science programs and overlooked by current philosophers and social scientists.
Andrew Bourke’s Principles of Social Evolution identifies three stages that characterize an evolutionary transition in individuality and deploys inclusive fitness theory to explain each stage. The third stage, social group transformation, has hitherto received relatively little attention from inclusive fitness theorists. In this review, I first discuss Bourke’s “virtual dominance” hypothesis for the evolution of the germ line. I then contrast Bourke’s inclusive fitness approach to the major transitions with the multi-level approach developed by Richard Michod, Samir (...) Okasha and others. I suggest that, rather than choosing between these approaches, we should exploit the strengths of both. Finally, I stress the need for a firmer conceptual grasp of the nature of social group transformation. (shrink)
This article addresses the question whether the model of social criticism as 'connected' or 'loyal' which is advanced by Richard Rorty and Michael Walzer offers an adequate picture of social criticism. Two claims are made. First, it is suggested that loyalty is an internally conflicted concept, with three components: a recognition of situatedness in a particular relationship; an affirmation of that relationship by the loyal agent; a set of values or local principles. Where the third component is prominent, (...) loyalty is more reflective and distanced; where the second component predominates, loyalty slips into unreflective commitment. Second, it is argued that Rorty and Walzer conflate the social critic's recognition of his or her situatedness in contexts of power with the affirmation of that situatedness. It is concluded that the model of loyal social criticism is mislead mg, and that the practice of the critic must be tempered by the operation of the sense of injustice. Key Words: connection • loyalty • Rorty • social criticism • Walzer. (shrink)
Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) are correct that religion is an evolutionary by-product, not an adaptation, but they do not go far enough. Once supernatural beliefs are enabled by processes they describe, numerous social-cognitive mechanisms related to attachment, social exchange, coalitional psychology, status and dominance, and kinship are crucial for explaining the specific forms religion takes and individual and cultural differences therein.
Jon Elster worries about the explanatory power of the social sciences. His main concern is that they have so few well-established laws. Elster develops an interesting substitute: a special kind of mechanism designed to fill the explanatory gap between laws and mere description. However, his mechanisms suffer from a characteristic problem that I will explore in this article. As our causal knowledge of a specific problem grows we might come to know too much to make use of an Elsterian (...) mechanism but still lack a law. We might then find ourselves in the paradoxical position of knowing more relevant causal truths about the phenomenon we are interested in than we did before, but being able to explain less. If this possibility is realized in social science settings, as I argue it might well be, Elster?s mechanistic account is threatened. Moreover, even if the possibility is rarely realized in that way, it raises, simply as a possibility, a conceptual problem with Elster?s mechanistic framework. (shrink)
Evidence from many species suggests that social, developmental, and cognitive variables are important influences on aggression. Few direct activational or organizational effects of hormones on aggression and dominance are found in nonhuman primates. Female aggression and dominance are relatively frequent and occur with low testosterone levels. Social, cultural, and developmental mechanisms have more important influences on dominance and aggression than hormones.
Rational choice theory enjoys unprecedented popularity and influence in the behavioral and social sciences, but it generates intractable problems when applied to socially interactive decisions. In individual decisions, instrumental rationality is defined in terms of expected utility maximization. This becomes problematic in interactive decisions, when individuals have only partial control over the outcomes, because expected utility maximization is undefined in the absence of assumptions about how the other participants will behave. Game theory therefore incorporates not only rationality but also (...) common knowledge assumptions, enabling players to anticipate their co-players' strategies. Under these assumptions, disparate anomalies emerge. Instrumental rationality, conventionally interpreted, fails to explain intuitively obvious features of human interaction, yields predictions starkly at variance with experimental findings, and breaks down completely in certain cases. In particular, focal point selection in pure coordination games is inexplicable, though it is easily achieved in practice; the intuitively compelling payoff-dominance principle lacks rational justification; rationality in social dilemmas is self-defeating; a key solution concept for cooperative coalition games is frequently inapplicable; and rational choice in certain sequential games generates contradictions. In experiments, human players behave more cooperatively and receive higher payoffs than strict rationality would permit. Orthodox conceptions of rationality are evidently internally deficient and inadequate for explaining human interaction. Psychological game theory, based on nonstandard assumptions, is required to solve these problems, and some suggestions along these lines have already been put forward. Key Words: backward induction; Centipede game; common knowledge; cooperation; epistemic reasoning; game theory; payoff dominance; pure coordination game; rational choice theory; social dilemma. (shrink)
Research from ethology and evolutionary biology indicates the following about the evolution of reasoning capacity. First, solving problems of social competition and cooperation have direct impact on survival rates and reproductive success. Second, the social structure that evolved from this pressure is the dominance hierarchy. Third, primates that live in large groups with complex dominance hierarchies also show greater neocortical development, and concomitantly greater cognitive capacity. These facts suggest that the necessity of reasoning effectively about (...) class='Hi'>dominance hierarchies left an indelible mark on primate reasoning architectures, including that of humans. In order to survive in a dominance hierarchy, an individual must be capable of (a) making rank discriminations, (b) recognizing what is forbidden and what is permitted based one's rank, and (c) deciding whether to engage in or refriin from activities that will allow one to move up in rank. The first problem is closely tied to the capacity for transitive reasoning, while the second and third are intimately related to the capacity for deontic reasoning. I argue that the human capacity for these types of reasoning have evolutionary roots that reach deeper into our ancestral past than the emergence of the hominid line, and the operation of these evolutionarily primitive reasoning systems can be seen in the development of human reasoning and domain-specific effects in adult reasoning. (shrink)
Exploiting the skills of others enables individuals to reduce the risks and costs of resource innovation. Social corvids are known to possess sophisticated social and physical cognitive abilities. However, their capacity for imitative learning and its inter-individual transmission pattern remains mostly unexamined. Here we demonstrate the large-billed crows' ability to learn problem-solving techniques by observation and the dominance-dependent pattern in which this technique is transmitted. Crows were allowed to observe one of two box-opening behaviours performed by a (...) dominant or subordinate demonstrator and then tested regarding action and technique. The observers successfully opened the box on their first attempts by using non-matching actions but matching techniques to those observed, suggesting emulation. In the subsequent test sessions, dominant observers (i.e. those dominant to the bird acting as demonstrator) consistently used the learned technique, whereas subordinates (i.e. those subordinate to the bird acting as demonstrator) learned alternative techniques by explorative trial and error. Our findings demonstrate crows' capacity to learn by observing behaviours and the effect of dominance on transmission patterns of behavioural skills. Keywords: social learning; imitation; emulation; affordance; culture; innovation. (shrink)
Social justice education, it is argued, is a form of and essential to moral education, especially for dominant group affiliated students. Under this condition, one of the essential goals of social justice education must be raising an awareness of dominance. The meaning of dominance is discussed and it is argued that overly simplistic conceptions of what dominance means may lead to the mistaken assumption that in order to recognise one's own dominance, one has to (...) reject the values of the dominant group. The distinction between the "dominance of values" and the "values of the dominant group" is suggested but found inadequate. What is required is a critical analysis of the complexity, subtlety and systemic interrelatedness and embeddedness of dominant beliefs, values and standards in western, democratic societies. Without a serious approach to the complexities of dominance, future teachers will not be able to tend successfully to all their students, will not be able to contribute to social justice and will be able to hide all this behind good intentions. (shrink)
Testosterone is related to dominance, but in a broader sense than Mazur & Booth suggest. Dominance need not be competitive. It can arise from strong personal characteristics that produce admiration and deference in others. To understand the testosterone–dominance relationship fully, we must examine behaviors that affect ordinary social encounters. Baseline testosterone levels may be more important than testosterone changes in predicting everyday dominance.
The comparison between biological and social macroevolution is a very important (though insufficiently studied) subject whose analysis renders new significant possibilities to comprehend the processes, trends, mechanisms, and peculiarities of each of the two types of macroevolution. Of course, there are a few rather important (and very understandable) differences between them; however, it appears possible to identify a number of fundamental similarities. One may single out at least three fundamental sets of factors determining those similarities. First of all, those (...) similarities stem from the fact that in both cases we are dealing with very complex non-equilibrium (but rather stable) systems whose principles of functioning and evolution are described by the General Systems' Theory, as well as by a number of cybernetic principles and laws. -/- Secondly, in both cases we do not deal with isolated systems; in both cases we deal with a complex interaction between systems of organic systems and external environment, whereas the reaction of systems to external challenges can be described in terms of certain general principles (that, however, express themselves rather differently within the biological reality, on the one hand, and within the social reality, on the other). -/- Thirdly, it is necessary to mention a direct ‘genetic’ link between the two types of macroevolution and their mutual influence. -/- It is important to emphasize that the very similarity of the principles and regularities of the two types of macroevolution does not imply their identity. Rather significant similarities are frequently accompanied by enormous differences. For example, genomes of the chimpanzees and the humans are very similar – with differences constituting just a few per cent; however, there are enormous differences with respect to intellectual and social differences of the chimpanzees and the humans hidden behind the apparently ‘insignificant’ difference between the two genomes. Thus, in certain respects it appears reasonable to consider the biological and social macroevolution as a single macroevolutionary process. This implies the necessity to comprehend the general laws and regularities that describe this process, though their manifestations may display significant variations depending on properties of a concrete evolving entity (biological, or social one). An important notion that may contribute to the improvement of the operationalization level as regards the comparison between the two types of macroevolution is the one that we suggested some time ago – the social aromorphosis (that was developed as a counterpart to the notion of biological aromorphosis well established within Russian evolutionary biology). We regard social aromorphosis as a rare qualitative macrochange that increases in a very significant way complexity, adaptability, and mutual influence of the social systems, that opens new possibilities for social macrodevelopment. In our paper we discuss a number of regularities that describe biological and social macroevolution and that employ the notions of social and biological aromorphosis such as ones of the module evolution (or the evolutionary ‘block assemblage’), ‘payment for arogenic progress’ etc. (shrink)
Explanatory contrastivists hold that we often explain phenomena of the form p rather than q. In this paper, I present a new, social‐epistemological model of contrastive explanation—accountabilism. Specifically, my view is inspired by social‐scientific research that treats explanations fundamentally as accounts; that is, communicative actions that restore one's social status when charged with questionable behaviour. After developing this model, I show how accountabilism provides a more comprehensive model of contrastive explanation than the causal models of contrastive explanation (...) that are currently en vogue. (shrink)
The testosterone–dominance model is noteworthy but should incorporate the ecological factors that often underlie variability in basal testosterone. This is evident in the ethnic testosterone differences discussed in the target article (sect. 8). The significance of acute changes in testosterone levels in response to competition is also poorly understood. Significant metabolic effects have been reported, suggesting that other physiological explanations should be explored, independent of potential behavioral or social factors.
In The Excessive Subject: A New Theory of Social Change, Molly Anne Rothenberg uncovers an innovative theory of social change implicit in the writings of radical social theorists, such as Pierre Bourdieu, Michel de Certeau, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj ?i?ek. Through case studies of these writers' work, Rothenberg illuminates how this new theory calls into question currently accepted views of social practices, subject formation, democratic interaction, hegemony, political solidarity, revolutionary acts, and the ethics of (...) alterity. Finding a common dissatisfaction with the dominant paradigms of social structures in the authors she discusses, Rothenberg goes on to show that each of these thinkers makes use of Lacan's investigations of the causality of subjectivity in an effort to find an alternative paradigm. Labeling this paradigm 'extimate causality', Rothenberg demonstrates how it produces a nondeterminacy, so that every subject bears some excess; paradoxically, this excess is what structures the social field itself. Whilst other theories of social change, subject formation, and political alliance invariably conceive of the elimination of this excess as necessary to their projects, the theory of extimate causality makes clear that it is ineradicable. To imagine otherwise is to be held hostage to a politics of fantasy. As she examines the importance as well as the limitations of theories that put extimate causality to work, Rothenberg reveals how the excess of the subject promises a new theory of social change. By bringing these prominent thinkers together for the first time in one volume, this landmark text will be sure to ignite debate among scholars in the field, as well as being an indispensable tool for students. (shrink)
No national tradition of social theory has been more seductive to Anglo-American readers than the French.There has been a long-standing fascination with French ideas and debates. This extraordinarily accomplished book, written by one of Britain's leading commentators on social theory, provides a peerless account of the French tradition.The book: provides a systematic account of French social theory from the aftermath of the French Revolution (St Simon, Bazard and Comte) to the contemporary scene dominated by Kristeva, Deleuze, Bourdieu (...) and Baudrillard; divides French social theory into three logically coherent cycles: 1800-80 (positivist); 1880-1940 (anthropological); 1940-2000 (Marxist); provides a detailed guide to the three phases of postwar French social theory - existential, structural and post-structural; and situates the discussions of individuals and schools in the relevant social and political contexts. The book is a masterpiece of erudition and scholarship but is written throughout in an engaging and informative style. It will be required reading for anyone interested in social theory and sociology. (shrink)
Now that complex Agent-Based Models and computer simulations spread over economics and social sciences - as in most sciences of complex systems -, epistemological puzzles (re)emerge. We introduce new epistemological concepts so as to show to what extent authors are right when they focus on some empirical, instrumental or conceptual significance of their model or simulation. By distinguishing between models and simulations, between types of models, between types of computer simulations and between types of empiricity obtained through a simulation, (...) section 2 gives the possibility to understand more precisely - and then to justify - the diversity of the epistemological positions presented in section 1. Our final claim is that careful attention to the multiplicity of the denotational powers of symbols at stake in complex models and computer simulations is necessary to determine, in each case, their proper epistemic status and credibility. (shrink)
Mazur & Booth (1998) (M&B) suggested that high testosterone (T) relates to status, dominance, and (anti-) social behaviour. However, low T also relates to status and to formal dominance. The General Trait Covariance (GTC) model predicts both relations under the assumption that high and low T modulates the genotype in ways that enforce the development of almost polar covariant patterns of body, brain, intellectual, and personality traits, irrespective of race. The precise modelling of these dose-dependent molecular body-intelligence-personality-behaviour (...) relations requires that causes, mechanisms, and effects enjoy equal operational standing. (shrink)
Social contracts are the mechanisms by which society legitimizes professions and grants them authority and autonomy to carry out their functions. The nursing profession is currently renegotiating its contract with society in a manner which clearly reflects a change from physician dominance, and emphasis on illness care to increased independent and autonomous functioning within a newly developing framework of nursing science which emphasizes health care. In return for their services, nurses are also negotiating for those benefits which historically (...) they have not received. These include legitimization of their newly acquired autonomous role functions, and adequate reimbursement mechanisms and structures. When the contemporary role of the nurse is fully legitimzed, the impact on contemporary society and health care is likely to be enormous. (shrink)
Schizophrenia may not have reduced reproductive success in ancestral times as much as it does today, so explaining how genes for it evolved is more understandable given this prehistoric perspective. Ethological analysis of schizophrenia – understanding how basic emotional behaviors, such as dominance striving, are affected by the condition – might prove useful for comprehending and treating its social emotional symptoms.
In this article, we present, assess and give reasons to reject the popular claim that shame is essentially social. We start by presenting several theses which the social claim has motivated in the philosophical literature. All of them, in their own way, regard shame as displaying a structure in which ‘others’ play an essential role. We argue that while all these theses are true of some important families of shame episodes, none of them generalize so as to motivate (...) the conclusion that shame is an essentially social emotion. We consider each thesis in turn, explaining in the process their connections with one another as well as the constraints on a theory of shame they help uncover. Finally, we show how a non-social picture of shame is not only capable of meeting these constraints, but has the further virtue of shedding light on those situations in which others seem to play no role in why we feel shame. (shrink)
Mazur & Booth's target article presents strong evidence that social factors influence testosterone; however, the evidence for an effect of testosterone on dominance is considerably weaker. Although social and biological factors may interact, as suggested in the reciprocal model, findings in rhesus monkeys suggest that social factors may predominate. Finally, research is needed to evaluate whether androgens during early life influence later dominance.
"This book takes a new angle on a much-studied phenomenon, focusing on the role of domination and identity construction, understanding and self-knowledge, moral transformation and the social community, systems of training and hierarchy used ...
This text provides an overview of debates in the sociology of technology, including definitions of the main terms and concepts and discussion of the dominant positions, especially in recent scholarship. At the same time, it develops a novel perspective on the subject based in critical theory, bridging work in the sociology of science and technology with wider debate in social theory. It integrates empirical and theoretical elements in well-themed chapters and draws on interesting contemporary examples such as mobile phones (...) and computer games to offer a distinctive sociological perspective on an important dimension of social life. (shrink)
I this paper, I draw on recent research on the radically embodied and perceptual bases of conceptualization in linguistics and cognitive science to develop a new way of reading and evaluating abstract concepts in social theory. I call this approach Sociological Idea Analysis. I argue that, in contrast to the traditional view of abstract concepts, which conceives them as amodal “presuppositions” removed from experience, abstract concepts are irreducibly grounded in experience and partake of non-negotiable perceptual-symbolic features from which a (...) non-propositional “logic” naturally follows. This implies that uncovering the imagistic bases of allegedly abstract notions should be a key part of theoretical evaluation of concepts in social theory. I provide a case study of the general category of “structure” in the social and human sciences to demonstrate the analytic utility of the approach. (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)
Even long after their formal exclusion has come to an end, members of previously oppressed social groups often continue to face disproportionate restrictions on their freedom, as the experience of many women over the last century has shown. Working within in a framework in which freedom is understood as independence from arbitrary power, Mary Wollstonecraft provides an explanation of why such domination may persist and offers a model through which it can be addressed. Republicans rely on processes of rational (...) public deliberation to highlight and combat oppression. However, where domination is primarily social rather than legal or political (such as where cultural attitudes, traditions and values exert an arbitrary and inhibiting force) then this defence against domination is often negated. Prejudice, she argues, ‘clouds’ people’s ability to reason and skews debate in favour of the dominant powers, thereby entrenching patterns of subjection. If they are to be independent, then, citizens require not only political rights but a platform from which to add their perspectives and interests to the background social values which govern political discussion. (shrink)
This major study of Hobbes's political philosophy draws on recent developments in game and decision theory to explore whether the thrust of the argument in Leviathan, that it is in the interests of the people to create a ruler with absolute power, can be shown to be cogent. Professor Hampton has written a book of vital importance to political philosophers, political and social scientists, and intellectual historians.
Mirror neurons are widely regarded as an important key to social cognition. Despite such wide agreement, there is very little consensus on how or why they are important. The goal of this paper is to clearly explicate the exact role mirror neurons play in social cognition. I aim to answer two questions about the relationship between mirroring and social cognition: What kind of social understanding is involved with mirroring? How is mirroring related to that understanding? I (...) argue that philosophical and empirical considerations lead us to accord a fairly minimal role for mirror neurons in social cognition. (shrink)
John Rawls (1921-2002) was one of the 20th century's most important philosophers and continues to be among the most widely discussed of contemporary thinkers. His work, particularly A Theory of Justice, is integral to discussions of social and international justice, democracy, liberalism, welfare economics, and constitutional law, in departments of philosophy, politics, economics, law, public policy, and others. Samuel Freeman is one of Rawls's foremost interpreters. This volume contains nine of his essays on Rawls and Rawlsian justice, two of (...) which are previously unpublished. Freeman places Rawls within historical context in the social contract tradition, addresses criticisms of his positions, and discusses the implications of his views on issues of distributive justice, liberalism and democracy, international justice, and other subjects. This collection will be useful to the wide range of scholars interested in Rawls and theories of justice. (shrink)
This paper comments on Gallagher’s recently published direct perception proposal about social cognition [Gallagher, S. (2008a). Direct perception in the intersubjective context. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 535–543]. I show that direct perception is in danger of being appropriated by the very cognitivist accounts criticised by Gallagher (theory theory and simulation theory). Then I argue that the experiential directness of perception in social situations can be understood only in the context of the role of the interaction process in (...) class='Hi'>social cognition. I elaborate on the role of social interaction with a discussion of participatory sense-making to show that direct perception, rather than being a perception enriched by mainly individual capacities, can be best understood as an interactional phenomenon. (shrink)
We propose to understand social affordances in the broader context of responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances in general. This perspective clarifies our everyday ability to unreflectively switch between social and other affordances. Moreover, based on our experience with Deep Brain Stimulation for treating OCD patients, we suggest that psychiatric disorders may affect affordance-responsiveness, including responsiveness to social affordances.
This book addresses key topics in social theory such as the basic structures of social life, the character of human activity, and the nature of individuality. Drawing on the work of Wittgenstein, the author develops an account of social existence that argues that social practices are the fundamental phenomenon in social life. This approach offers new insight into the social formation of individuals, surpassing and critiquing the existing practice theories of Bourdieu, Giddens, Lyotard, and (...) Oakeshott. In bringing Wittgenstein's work to bear on issues of social theory the book shows the relevance of his work to a body of thought to which it has never been applied. The book will be of particular interest to philosophers of the social sciences, a wide range of social theorists in political science and sociology, as well as some literary theorists. (shrink)
Children are not simply molded by the environment; through constant inference and interpretation, they actively shape their own social world. This book is about that process. Elliot Turiel's work focuses on the development of moral judgment in children and adolescents and, more generally, on their evolving understanding of the conventions of social systems. His research suggests that social judgements are ordered, systematic, subtly discriminative, and related to behavior. His theory of the ways in which children generate (...) class='Hi'>social knowledge through their social experiences will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and students in child development and education. (shrink)
In my 1990 work – Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice – I argued for four modifications of Rawls’s principles of social justice and rendered a modified version of his theory in four principles, the first of which is the Basic Rights Principle demanding the protection of people’s security and subsistence rights. In both his Political Liberalism (1993) and Justice as Fairness (2001) Rawls explicitly refers to my version of his theory, clearly accepting three of my four proposed modifications (...) but rejecting the fourth -- the demand for social and economic (in addition to political) democracy – on grounds that it automatically justifies socialism as opposed to capitalism. I argue, contrary to Rawls, that it is not true that this demand automatically picks (democratic) socialism as the preferable socioeconomic/political system and that a Social and Economic Democracy Principle demanding workplace and neighborhood democracy is officially neutral between these two systems … although plausible empirical assumptions may, indeed, favor the former. I then reprise my second version of Rawls’s theory of social justice which is composed of the following principles arranged in a very strong order of priority (if not quite a lexical order): (1) Basic Rights Principle, (2) Equal Basic Liberties Principle, (3) Fair Equality of Opportunity Principle, (4) Modified Difference Principle, and (5) Social and Economic Democracy Principle. (shrink)
This article will compare and contrast two very different accounts of convention: the game-theoretical account of Lewis in Convention, and the account initially proposed by Margaret Gilbert (the present author) in chapter six of On Social Facts, and further elaborated here. Gilbert’s account is not a variant of Lewis’s. It was arrived at in part as the result of a detailed critique of Lewis’s account in relation to a central everyday concept of a social convention. An account of (...) convention need not be judged by that standard. Perhaps it reveals the nature of an important phenomenon. Looked at in that light, these very different accounts are not incompatible. Indeed, neither should be ignored if one is seeking to understand the way in which human beings arrive at some degree of social order. (shrink)
In this paper I evaluate embodied social cognition, embodied cognition’s account of how we understand others. I identify and evaluate three claims that motivate embodied social cognition. These claims are not specific to social cognition; they are general hypotheses about cognition. As such, they may be used in more general arguments for embodied cognition. I argue that we have good reasons to reject these claims. Thus, the case for embodied social cognition fails. Moreover, to the extent (...) that general arguments for embodied cognition rest on these premises, they are correspondingly uncompelling. (shrink)
This article discusses explanatory theories of normative concepts and argues for a set of criteria of adequacy by which such theories may be evaluated. The criteria offered fall into four categories: ontological, theoretical, pragmatic, and moral. After defending the criteria and discussing their relative weighting, this article uses them to prune the set of available explanatory theories of oppression. Functionalist theories, including Hegelian recognition theory and Foucauldian social theory, are rejected, as are psychoanalytic theory and socialdominance (...) theory. Finally, the article defends structural rational choice theory as the most promising methodology for explaining oppression. Key Words: oppression explanation rational choice theory. (shrink)
Is an individual agent constitutive of or constituted by its social interactions? This question is typically not asked in the cognitive sciences, so strong is the consensus that only individual agents have constitutive efficacy. In this article we challenge this methodological solipsism and argue that interindividual relations and social context do not simply arise from the behavior of individual agents, but themselves enable and shape the individual agents on which they depend. For this, we define the notion of (...) autonomy as both a characteristic of individual agents and of social interaction processes. We then propose a number of ways in which interactional autonomy can influence individuals. Then we discuss recent work in modeling on the one hand and psychological investigations on the other that support and illustrate this claim. Finally, we discuss some implications for research on social and individual agency. (shrink)
The purpose of this book -- Intentionality -- Collective intentionality and the assignment of function -- Language as biological and social -- The general theory of institutions and institutional facts: -- Language and social reality -- Free will, rationality, and institutional facts -- Power : deontic, background, political, and other -- Human rights -- Concluding remarks : the ontological foundations of the social sciences.
This paper examines how experimental scientists choose theoretical frameworks as well as their experimental systems for doing research. I start out with Kuhn's claim that there are no (single) algorithms that could determine the choices made by individual scientists. Samir Okasha has recently provided an argument for this claim in terms of social choice theory, which I briefly discuss. Then, I show why this problem is not relevant in an experimental science. There are social mechanisms in place that (...) make sure the community chooses the best framework and a matching experimental system. As historical evidence for this claim, I present the case of classical genetics. (shrink)
Social reality is a key problem in the philosophy of social science. Outlining the major historical and contemporary issues raised by the social reality and social facts, this book has something to offer both philosophers and social scientists. To the former is shows how the well-worn topic of realism versus anti-realism assumes new and interestingly varied forms when social reality is substituted for physical reality. For the social scientist, the book offers conceptual clarification (...) of key issues in recent social science which are really philosophical issues. (shrink)
Simulation techniques, especially those implemented on a computer, are frequently employed in natural as well as in social sciences with considerable success. There is mounting evidence that the "model-building era" (J. Niehans) that dominated the theoretical activities of the sciences for a long time is about to be succeeded or at least lastingly supplemented by the "simulation era". But what exactly are models? What is a simulation and what is the difference and the relation between a model and a (...) simulation? These are some of the questions addressed in this article. I maintain that the most significant feature of a simulation is that it allows scientists to imitate one process by another process. "Process" here refers solely to a temporal sequence of states of a system. Given the observation that processes are dealt with by all sorts of scientists, it is apparent that simulations prove to be a powerful interdisciplinarily acknowledged tool. Accordingly, simulations are best suited to investigate the various research strategies in different sciences more carefully. To this end, I focus on the function of simulations in the research process. Finally, a somewhat detailed case-study from nuclear physics is presented which, in my view, illustrates elements of a typical simulation in physics. (shrink)
In this article I challenge the widely held assumption that human culture is inherited by means of social learning. First, I address the distinction between “social” learning and “individual” learning. I argue that most cultural ideas are not acquired by one form of learning or the other, but from a hybrid of both. Second, I discuss how individual learning can interact with niche construction. I argue that these processes collectively provide a non-social route for learned ideas to (...) be inherited and cumulatively modified. I conclude that human culture is not inherited by social learning alone; the capacities to learn from and modify our environments also play a significant role. (shrink)
A commonplace in contemporary philosophy is that mental content has normative properties. A number of writers associate this view to the idea that the normativity of content is essentially connected to its social character. I agree with the first thesis, but disagree with the second. The paper examines three kinds of views according to which the norms of thought and content are social: Wittgensteinâs rule following considerations, Davidsonâs triangulation argument, and Brandomâs inferential pragmatics, and criticises each. It is (...) argued that there are objective conceptual norms constitutive of mental content, but that these are not essentially social. (shrink)
Social systems theory has been dominated in recent years by the work of Niklas Luhmann, but there is another strand of systems thinking, which is receiving increasing attention in sociology: emergentism. For emergentism, the core problems of systems thinking are concerned with causation and reductionism; for Luhmann, they are questions of meaning and self-reference. Arguing from an emergentist perspective, the article finds that emergentism addresses its own core problem successfully, while Luhmann's approach is incapable of resolving questions of causation (...) and reductionism. On the other hand, neither paradigm yet has a convincing response to the challenges of meaning and self-reference. Key Words: social systems emergence paradigms autopoiesis critical realism. (shrink)
The emergence of queer theory represents a huge leap in our understanding of lesbian and gay peoples. It embodies a context for treating these people as worthy of consideration in their own rights and not as an appendage to general cultural theory. Max Kirsch argues that the current development of this area is in danger of repeating past mistakes in the construction of analyses, and ultimately, social movements. In this way, the book presents an alternative to the current fascination (...) with the abstract categories of identity, culture and difference, and emphasizes the need for a discussion of the importance of communities and role of globalization on queer movements. (shrink)
Tyler Burge has argued that a necessary condition for individual's having many of the thoughts he has is that he bear certain relations to other language users. Burge's conclusion is based on a thought experiment in which an individual's social relations are imagined, counterfactually, to differ from how they are actually. The result is that it seems, counterfactually, the individual cannot be attributed many of the thoughts he can be actually. In the article, an alternative interpretation of Burge's thought (...) experiment is offered on which the intuitions Burge evokes can be accepted while his conclusion about the social character of thought is denied. The alternative interpretation given, it is then argued that it is preferable to Burge's. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize Popper's conception of the rationality principle in the social sciences. First, I survey Popper's outlook on the role of a principle of rationality in theorizing in the social sciences. Then, I critically examine his view on the status of the principle of rationality concluding that the arguments supporting it are quite weak. Finally, I contrast his standpoint with an alternative conception. This, I show, helps us understand better Popper's reasons for adopting his perspective (...) on rationality. (shrink)
This textbook by Martin Hollis offers an exceptionally clear and concise introduction to the philosophy of social science. It examines questions which give rise to fundamental philosophical issues. Are social structures better conceived of as systems of laws and forces, or as webs of meanings and practices? Is social action better viewed as rational behaviour, or as self-expression? By exploring such questions, the reader is led to reflect upon the nature of scientific method in social science. (...) Is the aim to explain the social world after a manner worked out for the natural world, or to understand the social world from within? (shrink)
Akrasia is not always --or only-- a solitary failure to act on a person's judgment of what is, all things considered, best. Nor is it always a species of moral or ethical failure prompted by a form of irrationality. It is often prompted by social support and sustained by structuring political institutions.
In her recent book Persons and Bodies1, Lynne Rudder Baker has defended what she calls the constitution view of persons. On this view, persons are constituted by their bodies, where “constitution” is a ubiquitous, general metaphysical relation distinct from more familiar relations, such as identity and part-whole composition.
Although the enactive approach has been very successful in explaining many basic social interactions in terms of embodied practices, there is still much work to be done when it comes to higher forms of social cognition. In this article, we discuss and evaluate two recent proposals by Shaun Gallagher and Daniel Hutto that try to bridge this ‘cognitive gap’ by appealing to the notion of narrative practice. Although we are enthusiastic about these proposals, we argue that (i) it (...) is difficult to see them as continuous with the enactivist notion of direct coupling, and (ii) the failure to account for folk psychological action interpretation suggests that the enactive approach should adopt a broader notion of coupling. (shrink)
Communitarians like Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Michael Sandel, defend what we may call the ‘social constitution thesis.’ This is the view that participation in society makes us what we are. This claim, however, is ambiguous. In an attempt to shed some light on it and to better understand the impact its truth would have on our beliefs regarding autonomy, I offer four possible ways it could be understood and four corresponding senses of individual independence and autonomy. I also (...) indicate what senses liberals can accept that we are socially constituted and in what sense I take communitarians to argue we are socially constituted. (shrink)
All conceptions of equal opportunity draw on some distinction between morally justified and unjustified inequalities. We discuss how this distinction varies across a range of philosophical positions. We find that these positions often advance equality of opportunity in tandem with distributive principles based on merit, desert, consequentialist criteria or individuals' responsibility for outcomes. The result of this amalgam of principles is a festering controversy that unnecessarily diminishes the widespread acceptability of opportunity concerns. We therefore propose to restore the conceptual separation (...) of opportunity principles concerning unjustified inequalities from distributive principles concerning justifiable inequalities. On this view, equal opportunity implies that that morally irrelevant factors should engender no differences in individuals' attainment, while remaining silent on inequalities due to morally relevant factors. We examine this idea by introducing the principle of ‘opportunity dominance' and explore in a simple application to what extent this principle may help us arbitrate between opposing distributive principles. We also compare this principle to the selection rules developed by John Roemer and Dirk Van de Gaer. (shrink)
No longer is sociality the preserve of the social sciences, or ‘‘culture’’ the preserve of the humanities or anthropology. By the same token, cognition is no longer the sole preserve of the cognitive sciences. Social cognition (SC) or, sociocognition if you like, is thus a kaleidoscope of research projects that has seen exponential growth over the past 30 or so years.
Embodied social cognition (ESC) aims to explicate how our embodiment shapes our knowledge of others, and in what this knowledge of others consists. Although there is much diversity amongst ESC accounts, common to all these accounts is the idea that our normal everyday interactions consist in non-mentalistic embodied engagements. In recent years, several theorists have developed and defended innovative and controversial accounts of ESC. These accounts challenge, and offer deflationary alternatives to, the standard cognitivist accounts of social cognition. (...) As ESC accounts grow in number and prominence, the time has come for a dedicated, sustained debate on ESC and its most controversial and innovative elements. The goal of this special issue is to host such a debate with the aim of bringing clarity to the discussion of social cognition. (shrink)
Since the 1950s, Donald T. Campbell has been one of the most influential contributors to the methodology of the social sciences. A distinguished psychologist, he has published scores of widely cited journal articles, and two awards, in social psychology and in public policy, have been named in his honor. This book is the first to collect his most significant papers, and it demonstrates the breadth and originality of his work.
Critical theory has left an indelible mark on postwar social thought. But what are the relations between critical theory and 'the cultural turn' ? How did critical theory inform later French critical theorists, such as Lefebvre, Barthes and Baudrillard? This accomplished and accessible book: - Demonstrates the origins of critical theory in the Marxian analysis of the capitalist mode of production and Freudian psychoanalysis - Clearly explains the main achievements of critical theory - Elucidates how critical theory defines culture (...) as a system that constrains and alienates the individual - Explores the potential for social change and personal emancipation in the critical heritage. The author locates the importance of myth and reason, the significance of sexuality, the place of work, the difference between art and entertainment, the nature of everyday life and the relationship between knowledge and action. The result is a lucid and informative text which will appeal to all students interested in the critical traditions of social thought. (shrink)
This book explores the various aspects of social justice--to each according to his rights, to each acording to his desert, and to each according to his need--comparing the writings of Hume, Spencer, and Kropotkin. Miller demonstrates that there are radical differences in outlook on social justice between societies, and that these differences can be explained by reference to features of the social structure.
This book questions the value of the concept of 'agency', a term used in sociological and philosophical literature to refer to individual free will in archaeology. On the one hand it has been argued that previous generations of archaeologists, in explaining social change in terms of structural or environmental conditions, have lost sight of the 'real people' and reduced them to passive cultural pawns, on the other, introducing the concept of agency to counteract this can be said to perpetuate (...) a modern, Western view of the autonomous individual who is free from social constraints. This book discusses the balance between these two opposites, using a range of archaeological and historical case studies, including European and Asian prehistory, classical Greece and Rome, the Inka and other Andean cultures. While focusing on the relevance of 'agency' theory to archaeological interpretation and using it to create more diverse and open-ended accounts of ancient cultures, the authors also address the contemporary political and ethical implications of what is essentially a debate about the definition of human nature. (shrink)
Researchers in the enactivist tradition have recently argued that social interaction can constitute social cognition, rather than simply serve as the context for social cognition. They contend that a focus on social interaction corrects the overemphasis on mechanisms inside the individual in the explanation of social cognition. I critically assess enactivism’s claims about the explanatory role of social interaction in social cognition. After sketching the enactivist approach to cognition in general and social (...) cognition in particular, I identify problems with an enactivist taxonomy of roles for social interaction in the explanation of social cognition (contextual, enabling, and constitutive). In particular, I show that this enactivist taxonomy does not clearly distinguish between enabling conditions and constitutive elements, which would make them in danger of committing the coupling-constitution fallacy found in some attempts to extend cognition. I explore resources enactivism has to more clearly demarcate constitutive parts of a cognitive system, but identify problems in applying them to some of the main cases of social cognition enactivists characterize as being constituted by social interaction. I offer the mechanistic approach to explanation as an alternative that captures much of what enactivists want to say about the relations between social and individual levels, but views social interactions from the perspective of embedded cognition rather than as being constitutive of social cognition. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction; Part I. Revolutions, Paradigms, and Incommensurability: 2. Scientific revolutions as lexical changes; 3. The Copernican revolution revisited; 4. Kuhn and the discovery of paradigms; 5. The epistemic significance of incommensurability; Part II. The Evolutionary Perspective: 6. Kuhn's historical perspective; 7. Truth and the end of scientific inquiry; 8. Scientific specialization: taking stock of the evolutionary dimensions of Kuhn's epistemology; Part III. Kuhn's Social Epistemology: 9. Kuhn's constructionism; 10. What makes Kuhn's epistemology a (...) class='Hi'>social epistemology?; 11. How does a new theory come to be accepted?; 12. Where the road has taken us - a synthesis. (shrink)
One hundred years of French social theory : from structuralism to pragmatism -- The biological metaphor : functionalism and neo-functionalism -- The enigma of everyday life : symbolic interactionism, the dramaturgical approach and ethnomethodology -- The invasion of economic man : from rational choice theory to the new institutionalism -- Sociology meets history : Giddens's theory of modernity -- The history and the present : Foucault's archaeology and genealogy -- The spread of reason : Habermas's critical theory and beyond (...) -- A brave new world? : the empirical turn in social theory -- Conclusion : social theory for the twenty-first century. (shrink)
Proponents of evolutionary psychology take the existence of humanuniversals to constitute decisive evidence in favor of their view. Ifthe same social norms are found in culture after culture, we have goodreason to believe that they are innate, they argue. In this paper Ipropose an alternative explanation for the existence of humanuniversals, which does not depend on them being the product of inbuiltpsychological adaptations. Following the work of Brian Skyrms, I suggestthat if a particular convention possesses even a very small (...) advantageover competitors, whatever the reason for that advantage, we shouldexpect it to become the norm almost everywhere. Tiny advantages aretranslated into very large basins of attraction, in the language of gametheory. If this is so, universal norms are not evidence for innatepsychological adaptations at all. Having shown that the existence ofuniversals is consistent with the so-called Standard Social ScienceModel, I turn to a consideration of the evidence, to show that thisstyle of explanation is preferable to the evolutionary explanation, atleast with regard to patterns of gender inequality. (shrink)
This accessible and user-friendly text will prove invaluable to any student coming to social and political philosophy for the first time. It provides a broad survey of fundamental social and political questions in modern society, as well as clear, accessible discussions of the philosophical issues central to political thought. Topics covered include: the foundations of political authority, the nature and grounds of economic justice, the limits of tolerance, considerations of community, race, gender, and culture in questions of justice, (...) and radical critiques of current political theories. (shrink)
This book explores both the embodied nature of social life and the social nature of human bodily life. It provides an accessible review of the contemporary social science debates on the body, and develops a coherent new perspective. Nick Crossley critically reviews the literature on mind and body, and also on the body and society. He draws on theoretical insights from the work of Gilbert Ryle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu, and shows how the (...) work of these writers overlaps in interesting and important ways which, when combined, provide the basis for a persuasive and robust account of human embodiment. The Social Body provides a timely review of the theoretical approaches to the sociology of the body. It offers new insights, and a coherent new perspective on the body. It will be valuable reading for students and academics in sociology, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, and cultural studies. (shrink)
Greg Kavka (1947-1994) was a prominent and influential figure in contemporary moral and political philosophy. The new essays in this volume are concerned with fundamental issues of rational commitment and social justice to which Kavka devoted his work as a philosopher. The essays take Kavka's work as a point of departure and seek to advance the respective debates. The topics include: the relationship between intention and moral action as part of which Kavka's famous 'toxin puzzle' is a focus of (...) discussion, the nature of deterrence, the rationality of morals, contractarian ethics, and the contemporary relevance of Hobbes' political thought. Incorporating important new philosophical statements of problems and fresh contributions to the ongoing debate about rational intention this volume will interest not just philosophers but also political scientists and economists. (shrink)
"A book well worth reading as its expose of postmoderism has a clarity others would do well to imitate." --Tim Gay in NATFHE Journal Blue Velvet, sex, lies and videotape, Do the Right Thing, and Wall Street are just some of the provocative films that Denzin explores for their portrayal of the postmodern self. He examines the basic thesis that members of the contemporary world are voyeurs who, adrift in a sea of symbols, recognize and anchor themselves through cinema and (...) television. He skillfully weaves this idea back and forth between two kinds of texts: social theory, including poststructuralism, postmodernism, feminism, and marxism; and cinematic representations of life in modern America. The result is a solid assertion that postmodernism has shaped a dramaturgical society where the image has tragically replaced reality. Denzin offers a powerful reading of postmodern American society and the cinematic selves, however distorted, that inhabit this fantasy world. At the same time, he outlines the main contours of postmodern sociology and a postmodern sociological imagination that is responsive to the current historical moment. Images of Postmodern Society will play a key role in understanding the powerful relationship between postmodernism and the cinema for upper level graduates, gradate students, and contemporary scholars of cultural studies, communications, political science, anthropology, sociology, education, history, literary and cinema studies. "The book could be usefully incorporated into undergraduate sociology courses, particularly those that consider media and society, where it might serve as a basis for further discussion and examination of some important issues." --Journal of Communication "Images of Postmodern Society is a good book on two different levels. First, Denzin advances his own theory of postmodernism and, more specifically, of what he calls the "postmodern self," that is interesting and provocative. Second, this is one of the few books on postmodernity that is truly practical, in the sense that the book would be quite a good text to use in courses on the subject, whether they be in philosophy, sociology, film and media studies, cultural studies, and perhaps even anthropology. . . . I would certainly like to use the book for this purpose myself, and I would recommend the book for that purpose to colleagues in the departments mentioned." --Bill Martin, Philosophy Department, DePaul University "Denzin uncovers a profoundly important tension in postmodern culture . . . His work, then, demonstrates that the 'abundance of meaning' found in these films lies in the collision of modernist and postmodernist depictions of cultural practice." --Contemporary Sociology "Norman Denzin, one of the most interesting theorists and ethnographers in American sociology, has turned his critical eye to postmodern theory and contemporary American culture and society. Revitalizing Mills' sociological imagination, Denzin addresses the relations between Hollywood films of the 1980s, their constructions of self, and the structures of lived experience. He offers a postmodern sociology which addresses the increasingly conservative basis of postmodern ideologies of race, class, and gender. It offers an original postmodern critique of the postmodern. Images of Postmodern Society should be and will be widely read and discussed." --Larry Grossberg, University of Illinois. (shrink)
In this compelling book, Anthony Elliott traces the rise of psychoanalysis from the Frankfurt School to postmodernism, exploring in detail the social and political factors that have led intellectuals to draw from the insights of Freud. Examining how pathbreaking theorists such as Adorno, Marcuse, Lacan and Lyotard have deployed psychoanalysis to politicize issues like desire, sexuality, repression and identity, Elliott develops a powerful assessment of the gains and losses arising from this appropriation of psychoanalysis in social theory and (...) cultural studies. Moving from the impact of the Culture Wars and recent Freud-bashing to contemporary debates in social theory, feminism and postmodernism, Elliott argues for a new alliance between social-theoretical and psychoanalytic perspectives. (shrink)
In the past twenty years, the field of science and technology studies (S&TS) has made considerable progress toward illuminating the relationship between scientific knowledge and political power. These insights have not yet been synthesized or presented in a form that systematically highlights the connections between S&TS and other social sciences. This timely collection of essays by some of the leading scholars in the field attempts to fill that gap. The book develops the theme of "co-production", showing how scientific knowledge (...) both embeds and is embedded in social identities, institutions, representations and discourses. Accordingly, the authors argue, ways of knowing the world are inseparably linked to the ways in which people seek to organize and control it. Through studies of emerging knowledges, research practices and political institutions, the authors demonstrate that the idiom of co-production importantly extends the vocabulary of the traditional social sciences, offering fresh analytic perspectiveson the nexus of science, power and culture. (shrink)
Social participation requires certain abilities: communication with other members of society; social understanding which enables planning ahead and dealing with novel circumstances; and a theory of mind which makes it possible to anticipate the mental state of another. In childhood play we learn how to pretend, how to put ourselves in the minds of others, how to imagine what others are thinking and how to attribute false beliefs to them. Without this ability we would be unable to deceive (...) and detect deception in the actions of others, and our ability to interact within our social group would be greatly impaired. In this paper I claim that the capacity for deception is necessary for a theory of mind, and a theory of mind is necessary for complex social interaction. (shrink)
Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck reverberate widely (...) throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arguments in Risk Society and develops a range of critical discussions of aspects of this and other works of Beck. (shrink)
This paper discusses the concept of Dána or charity as the foundation of Indian Social life. 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.
Social externalism implies that many competences are not personal assets separable from social and cultural environments but complex states of affairs involving individuals and persisting features of social reality. The paper explores the consequences for competence identity over time and across contexts, and hence for the predictive role usually accorded to competences.
Realism in Action is a selection of essays written by leading representatives in the fields of action theory and philosophy of mind, philosophy of the social sciences and especially the nature of social action, and of epistemology and philosophy of science. Practical reason, reasons and causes in action theory, intending and trying, and folk-psychological explanation are some of the topics discussed by these leading participants. A particular emphasis is laid on trust, commitments and social institutions, on the (...) possibility of grounding social notions in individual social attitudes, on the nature of social groups, institutions and collective intentionality, and on common belief and common knowledge. Applications to the social sciences include, e.g., a look at the Erklären-Verstehen controversy in economics, and at constructivist and realist views on archeological reconstructions of the past. (shrink)