Statistical claims are often central to the contemporary construction of socialproblems. The failure to subject these figures to critical analysis is a form of innumeracy, the inability to deal effectively with mathematical concepts. Two cases from the United States -estimates of the number of missing children, and projections for the workforce in the year 2000 -illustrate how the uncritical acceptance of inaccurate statistics can shape policy debates. Claimsmakers, the mass media, and the media audience all contribute to (...) the innumerate interpretation of social statistics. (shrink)
Like much of modern scholarship, the study of socialproblems today is usually conducted in isolation from the truths of faith. Yet Catholics understand that the truths of science and the truths of faith are not in opposition but in harmony. This paper uses the Catholic concept of transcendent human dignity to integrate the scientific analysis of socialproblems with the Church’s understanding of man. This integral approach places the social scientist on a firm footing (...) from which to identify the principal socialproblems of our day and to clarify the appropriate solutions, which would guard the dignity of the human person and facilitate his true flourishing. (shrink)
In this paper we deal with the extension of Nash bargaining theory to nonconvex problems. By focussing on the Social Welfare Ordering associated with a bargaining solution, we characterize the symmetric Nash Bargaining Solution (NBS). Moreover, we obtain a unified method of proof of recent characterization results for the asymmetric single-valued NBS and the symmetric multivalued NBS, as well as their extensions to different domains.
In this essay, David Labaree examines the paradox of educationalization in the American context. He argues that, like most modern Western societies, the United States has displayed a strong tendency over the years for educationalizing socialproblems, even though schools have repeatedly proven that they are an ineffective mechanism for solving these problems. He starts by examining the ways in which the process of educationalizing socialproblems is deeply grounded in American beliefs, social processes, (...) political and organizational tensions, and structural possibilities. These include utility, individualism, optimism, professional interest, political interest, political opportunity, structural limits, and formalism. Then Labaree examines the roots of education’s failure in the role of social reform agent. Finally, he closes with an analysis of why we continue to pursue educationalization in the face of its ineffectiveness. (shrink)
This article defends methodological and theoretical pluralism in the social sciences. While pluralistic, such a philosophy of social science is both pragmatic and normative. Only by facing the problems of such pluralism, including how to resolve the potential conflicts between various methods and theories, is it possible to discover appropriate criteria of adequacy for social scientific explanations and interpretations. So conceived, the social sciences do not give us fixed and universal features of the social (...) world, but rather contribute to the task of improving upon our practical knowledge of on-going social life. After arguing for such a thorough-going pluralism based on the indeterminacy of social action, I defend it from the post-modern and hermeneutic objections by suggesting the possibility of an epistemology of interpretive social science as a form of practical knowledge. (shrink)
This paper investigates the possibilities and problems of benchmarking Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). After a methodological analysis of the advantages and problems of benchmarking, we develop a benchmark method that includes economic, social and environmental aspects as well as national and international aspects of CSR. The overall benchmark is based on a weighted average of these aspects. The weights are based on the opinions of companies and NGO's. Using different methods of weighting, we find that the (...) outcome of the benchmark is rather robust for a sample of more than 50 large Dutch companies. (shrink)
What is a social rule? This paper first notes three important problems for H.L.A. Hart's famous answer in the Concept of Law. An alternative account that avoids the problems is then sketched. It is less individualistic than Hart's and related accounts. This alternative account can explain a phenomenon observed but downplayed by Hart: the parties to a social rule feel that they are in some sense 'bound' to conform to it.
What is a social rule? This paper first notes three important problems for H.L.A. Hart's famous answer in the "Concept of Law". An alternative account that avoids the problems is then sketched. It is less individualistic than Hart's and related accounts. This alternative account can explain a phenomenon observed but downplayed by Hart: the parties to a social rule feel that they are in some sense 'bound' to conform to it.
This article concerns the emergence of psychological constructs of personal power and control in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s and the ways in which they contributed to contemporary political explanations of social unrest. While social scientists and politicians at the time saw this unrest as a social problem that posed threats to social cohesion and stability, they located its cause not in the power structure of society but in the individual’s sense of his (...) or her own powerlessness. The article discusses ‘locus of control’ as the central construct in new psychological explanations of powerlessness which drew on personality theory and behavioural psychology. The first half of the article traces the rise of the self-managing subject in behavioural psychology, identifying a key shift in conceptual, strategic and technical emphases, away from using behavioural approaches to modify the behaviour of others and towards developing ways of enabling people to manage their own behaviour. In the second half it examines the ways in which locus of control and related constructs were used to account for the educational under-achievement and political militancy of poor, black people in the United States. These explanations implicated individual helplessness and a sense of powerlessness in black people as a major social problem in the USA during this period: as a threat not only to personal development but, in particular, to social stability. In the process of this analysis I aim to demonstrate that the deployment of these constructs did more than reformulate old socialproblems in new ways; it enabled new socialproblems to be identified for which these constructs could offer explanations and solutions which both appealed to political authorities and helped to shape their conceptions of the ‘problem’. (shrink)
Educationalization is a term most frequently used to indicate that government has inappropriately imposed on educational institutions responsibility for providing the solution to some social or economic problem. In this essay David Bridges illustrates, however, the way in which educational institutions collude in this process, where they see doing so as in their interests. He also points to the way idealistically educators might seek to contribute to the wider social agenda of their age. Indeed it is arguable that (...) there is a conceptual link between the idea of education and that of social improvement. These observations frame the question about educationalization as one concerning the appropriateness or otherwise of looking to educational institutions to solve socialproblems and how one might determine such appropriateness. To what extent, Bridges asks, can and should educational institutions play a role in addressing the wider social and economic political agenda? In this essay he attempts the beginning of an answer to both these questions. (shrink)
At the beginning of one of his inimitable discourses William James once said, ‘I am only a philosopher, and there is only one thing that a philosopher can be relied on to do, and that is, to contradict other philosophers’. 1 In his succeeding discourse James himself departed from this theme. And so shall I. I shall not be contradicting other philosophers—at least not very often. What I aim to do is to take a fresh look at one of the (...) main traditions in American philosophy for insight and illumination on a way of dealing with some of the most serious issues of our time. But before I turn to that, my main theme, I want to pursue for a bit some variations on another, the cultural relevance of philosophy, for, as I view the matter, they are related. (shrink)