Concept and theory formation in the social sciences, by A. Schutz.--Is it a science? by S. Morgenbesser.--Knowledge and interest, by J. Habermas.--Sociological explanation, by T. Burns.--Methodological individualism reconsidered, by S. Lukes.--The problem of rationality in the social world, by A. Schutz.--Concepts and society, by E. Gellner.--Symbols in Ndembu ritual, by V. Turner.--Telstar and the Aborigines or La pensée sauvage, by E. Leach.--Groote Eylandt totemism and Le totémisme aujourd'hui, by P. Worsley.--Bibliography (p. 225-228).
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Building on the philosophies of the social sciences and of religion, this book is concerned with the interplay between the inner powers of individuals and the structures of their societies and with how these inner powers affect how they see outer realities. Dorothy Emmet looks at persons in a world of impersonal processes. She is critical of the notion of a personal God, but sees the emergence of personal activities as constrained but also sustained through "an enabling universe.".
It is a wise child who knows his own father; and the climate of thought of a generation may be subtly changed without conscious recognition of the formative minds which have been, if not the parents, at least the godparents of that change. That is to say, they have sponsored the baptism of ideas which would only be safe so long as they renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil; but, as is so often the case, when the offspring (...) grow up they form a pact with those very powers. To make Søren Kierkegaard spiritually responsible for the present war would have as little, and perhaps as much, truth in it as the facile explanations which made Hegel responsible for the last one. But it is part of the demonism of policies of power and ambition to be able to pervert to their own ends religious ideas which in their intention are a protest against those very ambitions; and, by so doing, to win a response from people who, in a dim, unconscious way, are feeling after the ideas themselves, but have neither the powers of self-criticism nor of radical thinking to resist travesties of them which appear to justify their own self-assertion. When Hitler informed Sir Nevile Henderson that he was a man of “ ad infinitum decisions” we may question the extent of his knowledge either of the Latin language or of the existential philosophy; but the phrase awakes an echo of the religious philosophy of circles far removed from National-Socialism. Both Nazi apologists and their Confessional or independent opponents are consciously or unconsciously moved by a way of thinking which puts the decision of the individual, made in the concrete moment, above any objective or universal norm of ethics or of reason by which it can be either justified or criticized. (shrink)
My purpose in this paper is to maintain that “justice” represents an objective and impersonal recognition of the nature of moral personality, and as such should retain its identity at all levels of human relationship. It is not, as certain idealist philosophers, and notably Bosanquet, have maintained, inappropriate at the deeper levels, at which it is said to be superseded by love.
The idea of Importance has received scanty treatment in philosophical literature, yet it is always turning up. Whitehead has, indeed, spoken of “the sense of importance” as “nerving all civilized effort”; and elsewhere he names “importance” and “matter of fact” as “two ultimate notions.” But the passage where he considers these is all too short and elusive, and I know of no other direct discussion of the meaning of importance. Plenty of attention has, of course, been paid to the notion (...) of interest . But “interest” does not cover the whole notion of importance; it covers at most that aspect which I shall call “relational importance.” “Importance” I shall suggest is a bridge notion, used to refer both to what matters in relation to some interest, and to what, as we say, “really matters.” It might therefore be worth considering its merits as a candidate for the position of generic term for value, since it can be subdivided so as to express both its relational and its absolutist aspects. (shrink)