Bringing together some of the most eminent thinkers in the field, this book celebrates the seminal contribution of Ted Benton to such pressing themes as: realism, naturalism and the philosophy of the social sciences, the continuing relevance of Marxism, philosophical anthropology and human needs, and ecology, society and natural limits.
Qualitative Complexity offers a critique of the humanist paradigm in contemporary social theory. Drawing from sources in sociology, philosophy, complexity theory, 'fuzzy logic', systems theory, cognitive science and evolutionary biology, the authors present a new series of interdisciplinary perspectives on the sociology of complex, self-organizing structures.
Throughout his philosophical project Michel Serres uses the etymological connections between words to reveal much larger experiential and philosophical links. One such connection is between the words ‘media’ and ‘milieu’. In this paper I show how Serres’ philosophy of communication can be used to think critically about the relationship between media and the environment. The paper provides an introduction to Serres’ mode of thought, focusing on his treatment of communication systems. It explores his articulation of noise, information, and thermodynamics (...) and what this contributes to critical discussions of media ecology. (shrink)
Artykuł jest próbą ukazania etyki troski jako szczególnego i ciekawego przypadku ekologii społecznej i doktryny zrównoważonego rozwoju. Stawia sobie za cel również unaocznienie politycznego i ekologicznego wymiaru etyki troski. Rozpoczyna się prezentacją krótkiej historii stosunku do troski w zachodniej filozofii społecznej i źródeł kryzysu opieki. W części głównej, z perspektywy teorii Daniela Engstera, stara się odpowiedzieć na pytania: czym jest troska, dlaczego powinniśmy opiekować się innymi, jak powinniśmy dystrybuować obowiązki troski, jakie relacje zachodzą między troska a sprawiedliwością, co łączy etykę (...) troski z liberalizmem, libertarianizmem, socjalizmem, komunitaryzmem i teorią praw naturalnych.The article is an attempt to show care ethics as a particular and interesting case of socialecology and a sustainable development doctrine. It also tries to point the political and ecological aspects of care ethics. The article starts with a short history presentation of the attitude toward care in western socialphilosophy as the source of care crisis. The main part of the essay tries, from the perspective of Daniel Engster’s theory, to answer the following questions: What is care? Why should we take care of the others? How should care duties be distributed?, What are the relations between care and justice?, What do care ethics and liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism and natural law theory have in common? (shrink)
Environment is essentially in the category of culture and environmental research should be based on human value and culture. The study of the relationship between humans and their natural environment should also refer to human relations. Since the operational logic of social capital is the root of ecological crisis, the ultimate solution to this problem lies in human’s correct thinking, institutional, political and behavioral patterns in dealing with nature. Re-establishing human ecology therefore provides a cultural basis for the (...) harmony between human and nature and realistic basis for the psycho-physical harmony and spiritualization of humans. (shrink)
The power and the promise of deep ecology is seen, by its supporters and detractors alike, to lie in its claims to speak on behalf of a natural world threatened by human excesses. Yet, to speak of trees as trees or nature as something worthy of respect in itself has appeared increasingly difficult in the light of social constructivist accounts of “nature.” Deep ecology has been loath to take constructivism’s insightsseriously, retreating into forms of biological objectivism and (...) reductionism. Yet, deep ecology actually has much in common with, and much to gain from, some varieties of constructivism and can add a new dimension to constructivism’s own critique of current ideologies. (shrink)
Ambitiously identifying fresh issues in the study of complex systems, Peter J. Taylor, in a model of interdisciplinary exploration, makes these concerns accessible to scholars in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and science studies. Unruly Complexity explores concepts used to deal with complexity in three realms: ecology and socio-environmental change; the collective constitution of knowledge; and the interpretations of science as they influence subsequent research. For each realm Taylor shows that unruly complexity-situations that lack definite boundaries, where (...) what goes on "outside" continually restructures what is "inside," and where diverse processes come together to produce change-should not be suppressed by partitioning complexity into well-bounded systems that can be studied or managed from an outside vantage point. Using case studies from Australia, North America, and Africa, he encourages readers to be troubled by conventional boundaries-especially between science and the interpretation of science-and to reflect more self-consciously on the conceptual and practical choices researchers make. (shrink)
Abstract Experience is structured by thoughts which are composed of general concepts and conceptions of objects. Both of these elements of thought are rule?governed and rest on norms which are shared by thinkers. Concepts and conceptions of objects as the elements of thoughts whose content is essentially communicable plausibly rest on abilities tied to the use of linguistic terms. This suggests that language plays an active part in structuring human experience and cognition as suggested by both Vygotsky and Luria. The (...) role of language in thought implies that the human brain which is the information processing structure realizing thoughts is itself subject to shaping by the social milieu. Neural network theory suggests that this might proceed via the use of cue stimuli based on the responses of other human beings and, therefore, supports the view that cognitive neuroscience may be radically mistaken in thinking that it can provide an individualistic analysis of human mental life. (shrink)
IIn this essay I defend Heidegger’s critique of technology against possible criticisms that he may be an anti-humanist and a mystic. This essay will show that Heidegger’s critique of technology is helpful in thinking about ecological questions; and his contributions to such questions is relevant and not radically separated from some of the work of other philosophers today including Karen Warren and Marilyn Frye.
Concept of African social and political philosophy -- Faces of African freedom -- African socialism and Nyerere -- African personality : a social portrait -- Negritude : a philosophy of social action -- African tribalism : social and political implications -- Apartheid and African social experience -- The African and neo-colonial predicament -- Social self in African philosophy -- Crisis of common good and political instability -- Pan-Africanism as a concept and (...)socialphilosophy -- African philosophy and social reconstruction. (shrink)
Professor Little presents an introduction to the philosophy of social science with an emphasis on the central forms of explanation in social science: rational-intentional, causal, functional, structural, materialist, statistical and interpretive. The book is very strong on recent developments, particularly in its treatment of rational choice theory, microfoundations for social explanation, the idea of supervenience, functionalism, and current discussions of relativism.Of special interest is Professor Little’s insight that, like the philosophy of natural science, the (...) class='Hi'>philosophy of social science can profit from examining actual scientific examples. Throughout the book, philosophical theory is integrated with recent empirical work on both agrarian and industrial society drawn from political science, sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics.Clearly written and well structured, this text provides the logical and conceptual tools necessary for dealing with the debates at the cutting edge of contemporary philosophy of social science. It will prove indispensible for philosophers, social scientists and their students. (shrink)
Axel Honneth has recently proposed a reformulation of the task of socialphilosophy as the 'diagnosis of social pathologies'-i.e. as the critical diagnosis ofprocesses of social decline, fragmentation, and alienation. In this paper I evaluate Honneth's proposed reformulation, supplementing my criticisms with an alternative of my own.
The new social reality of the end of twentieth century has created the need to reexamine our social theories. This paper is devoted to the methodological andtheoretical aspects of a new paradigm for socialphilosophy. The author formulates the main features of the paradigm: restricted rationalism, pluralism, variability, multi-dimensionality, stochasticity, the human dimension of social processes, alternativity, non-predictability, catastrophicity, and self-organization. The author then uses the methodological tools of this paradigm to reconstruct and examine the (...) socio-cultural reality in post-communist Ukraine. (shrink)
The problems dealt with in The Idea of a Social Science are philosophical. It is an attempt to place the social science, considered as a single group, on the intellectual map, with special attention to the relations of the discipline to philosophy on the one hand and the natural sciences on the other. The author holds that the relation between the social sciences and philosophy is commonly misunderstood because of certain fashionable misconceptions about the nature (...) of philosophy, and because of an incorrect assessment of the significance of some of Wittgenstein's contributions. He discusses the influence of the natural sciences on our conception of the social sciences and examines some of the most influential ideas of J.S. Mill, Pareto and Max Weber. (shrink)
The Struggle for Nature outlines and examines the main aspects of current environmental philosophy including deep ecology, social and political ecology, eco-feminism and eco-anarchism. It criticizes the dependency on science of these philosophies and the social problems engendered by them. Jozef Keulartz argues for a post-naturalistic turn in environmental philosophy. The Struggle for Nature presents the most up-to-date arguments in environmental philosophy, which will be valuable reading for anyone interested in applied philosophy, (...) environmental studies or geography. (shrink)
Mary Midgley's book Utopias, Dolphins and Computers will be needed to recharge our more philosophical approach to life as new problems present themselves to humanity at an accelerated rate. The most dangerous attitude to these challenges, Midgley argues, is an anti-intellectualism that fails to see that all approaches presuppose tacit or hidden assumptions, that is a philosophy. One part of our tacit philosophy that is now breaking up is the social contract, according to Mary Midgley in Utopias, (...) Dolphins and Computers It needs tempering with a vision of people in relationships bordering on the organic—ideas with their roots in ecology—rather than as fundamentally isolated atoms in contractual union. (shrink)
The destructive tension between human needs and environmental conservation arises from flaws in our political and economic structures. Oppression of people and devastation of nature go hand in hand, and the root of both these evils is the denial of otherness. The ecology movement is basically a movement of liberation, and is in league, de jure and de facto, with other liberation movements, since it seeks to promote the rights ofthe nonhuman world. In this context, subjugation of the Other (...) is immoral in all forms and ultimately suicidal. Recognition of the value of nonhuman nature doesn’t preclude a rational use of it, but requires something analogous to the primitive custom of apologizing to the spirits of prey, i.e., a mixture of religious respect and common sense. Awareness of the beauty and power of nature, like awareness ofthe injured rights of our fellow humans, creates a revolutionary moral imperative to change the life of our society. (shrink)
This volume is devoted to Lewis's work in ethics and socialphilosophy. Topics covered include the logic of obligation and permission; decision theory and its relation to the idea that beliefs might play the motivating role of desires; a subjectivist analysis of value; dilemmas in virtue ethics; the problem of evil; problems about self-prediction; social coordination, linguistic and otherwise; alleged duties to rescue distant strangers; toleration as a tacit treaty; nuclear warfare; and punishment. This collection, and the (...) two preceding volumes, will disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. (shrink)
This is an expanded and thoroughly revised edition of the widely adopted introduction to the philosophical foundations of the human sciences. Ranging from cultural anthropology to mathematical economics, Alexander Rosenberg leads the reader through behaviorism, naturalism, interpretativism about human action, and macrosocial scientific perspectives, illuminating the motivation and strategy of each.Rewritten throughout to increase accessibility, this new edition retains the remarkable achievement of revealing the social sciences’ enduring relation to the fundamental problems of philosophy. It includes new discussions (...) of positivism, European philosophy of history, causation, statistical laws, quantitative models, and postempiricist social science, along with a completely updated literature guide that keys chapters to widely anthologized papers. (shrink)
This introduction to the philosophy of social science provides an original conception of the task and nature of social inquiry. Peter Manicas discusses the role of causality seen in the physical sciences and offers a reassessment of the problem of explanation from a realist perspective. He argues that the fundamental goal of theory in both the natural and social sciences is not, contrary to widespread opinion, prediction and control, or the explanation of events. Instead, theory aims (...) to provide an understanding of the processes which, together, produce the contingent outcomes of experience. Offering a host of concrete illustrations and examples of critical ideas and issues, this accessible book will be of interest to students of the philosophy of social science, and social scientists from a range of disciplines. (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)
This book is a critical introduction to the philosophy of social science. While most social scientists maintain that the social sciences should stand free of politics, this book argues that they should be politically partisan. Root offers a clear description and provocative criticism of many of the methods and ideals that guide research and teaching in the social sciences.
The authors examine the nature of the relationship between social science and philosophy and address the sort of work social science should do, and the role and sorts of claims that an accompanying philosophy should engage in. In particular, the authors reintroduce the question of ontology, an area long overlooked by philosophers of social science, and present a cricital engagement with the work of Roy Bhaskar. The book argues against the excesses of philosophising and commits (...) itself to a philosophical approach more deeply grounded in the social sciences. (shrink)
Critical Heuristics of Social Planning has been recognised as the seminal work on critical systems thinking. Ulrich offers a new approach both to practical philosophy (which has until now remained rather unpractical) and to systems thinking (which has reduced the systems idea to a tool of merely instrumental, rather than practical, reason). Critical systems heuristics (CSH), as the approach is now generally called, provides planners, practitioners and policy makers with a conceptual tool for practising practical reason. It will (...) enable them to identify and discuss systematically the value implications of policies, plans, problem definitions, or program evaluations. In addition, the book offers the most thorough-going introduction available today to the espistemological foundations of critical systems thinking, including a practicable model of cogent argumentation on disputed value implications of designs. A must for practitioners and scholars who are interested in a self-critical and practicable understanding of the widespread call for holistic or systems thinking! "Critical Heuristics will be recognised as a very important book in the emerging systems discipline and will hold a significant position for many years to come". Peter B. Checkland, University of Lancaster, England. "An outstanding contribution to an adequate philosophical and heuristic framework for critical social inquiry and design". C. West Churchman, University of California, Berkeley, USA. "The book fills a major gap in the literature on the systems tradition". Michael C. Jackson, University of Hull, England. "Drawing on a profound knowledge of both Anglo-American systems theory and German practical philosophy, this book belongs to the best studies I have seen on the normative foundations of planning and systems design." Horst Steinmann, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. "Mandatory for libraries in the field of planning". John Friedmann, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that critical theory needs to make its socio-ontological commitments explicit, whilst on the other hand I will posit that contemporary social ontology needs to amend its formalistic approach by embodying a critical theory perspective. In the first part of my paper I will discuss how the question was posed in Horkheimer’s essays of the 1930s, which leave open two options: (1) a constructive inclusion of social ontology within socialphilosophy, or (...) else (2) a program of socialphilosophy that excludes social ontology. Option (2) corresponds to Adorno’s position, which I argue is forced to recur to a hidden social ontology. Following option (1), I first develop a metacritical analysis of Searle, arguing that his social ontology presupposes a notion of 'recognition' which it cannot account for. Furthermore, by means of a critical reading of Honneth, I argue that critical theory could incorporate a socioontological approach, giving value to the constitutive socio-ontological role of recognition and to the socio-ontological role of objectification. I will finish with a proposal for a socio-ontological characterization of reification which involves that the basic occurrence of recognition is to be grasped at the level of background practices. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge‘ is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy‘ are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy (...) of science tend to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]. (shrink)
The most pressing problems facing humanity today - over-population, energy shortages, climate change, soil erosion, species extinctions, the risk of epidemic disease, the threat of warfare that could destroy all the hard-won gains of civilization, and even the recent fibrillations of the stock market - are all ecological or have a large ecological component. in this volume philosophers turn their attention to understanding the science of ecology and its huge implications for the human project. To get the application of (...)ecology to policy or other practical concerns right, humanity needs a clear and disinterested philosophical understanding of ecology which can help identify the practical lessons of science. Conversely, the urgent practical demands humanity faces today cannot help but direct scientific and philosophical investigation toward the basis of those ecological challenges that threaten human survival. This book will help to fuel the timely renaissance of interest in philosophy of ecology that is now occurring in the philosophical profession. Provides a bridge between philosophy and current scientific findings Covers theory and applications Encourages multi-disciplinary dialogue. (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)