Posts tagged social philosophy

Posted 3 years ago

In epistemology it can too often seem as if a concern with truth and rationality were wholly disconnected from any concern with power and the social identities of the participants in epistemic practices. For the most part the tradition provides us with a clinically asocial conception of the knowing subject, with the result that epistemology tends to proceed as if socio-political considerations were utterly irrelevant to it. At the other extreme, there are many ‘end-of-epistemology’ and postmodernist theories (treated as either occult tendency or as the new orthodoxy, depending on the company one keeps) who tell us to abandon reason and truth as universal norms on the grounds that they are mere functions of power as it is played out in the drama of epistemic practice. Whereas on the the traditionalist view social power is seen as irrelevant to the rational, on the postmodernist view reason tends to be reduced to social power. One might venture a diagnosis: that both the traditionalist and reductivist camps make the same mistake of thinking it is an all or nothing situation, so that if social power is involved in rational proceedings in any but the must superficial of ways, then it is all up with rationality.

…These characterizations of traditionalist and reductivist extremes are somewhat artificial, of course, although I think they are not quite caricatures. They serve to delineate two contrasting and equally mistaken conceptions of how rational authority and social power are related. I shall present a different conception of the relation, which explains, firstly, why socio-political matters are a proper concern in epistemology; and, secondly, why the very possibility of bringing a politicized critical perspective to bear requires that rational authority and social power be firmly distinguished.

Miranda Fricker, “Rational Authority and Social Power: Towards a Truly Social Epistemology”

(reprinted in Social Epistemology: Essential Readings, p. 55)

Posted 3 years ago

I am unbelievably excited for this coming semester.

Posted 3 years ago
Posted 3 years ago
There can be no individuality without the public and no public without understanding others as individuals.

Daniel Drache

(via dropouthangoutspaceout)

Posted 3 years ago

Conversations with History: John Searle

"I think my problem, as is a problem for every philosopher, is to do philosophy well, you have to know everything."

Posted 3 years ago
…a socially constructed reality presupposes a reality independent of all social constructions, because there has to be something for the construction to be constructed out of. To construct money, property, and language, for example, there have to be the raw materials of bits of metal, paper, land, sounds, and marks, for example. And the raw materials cannot in turn be socially constructed without presupposing in turn some even rawer materials out of which they are constructed, until eventually we reach a bedrock of brute physical phenomena independent of all representations. The ontological subjectivity of the socially constructed reality requires an ontologically objective reality out of which it is constructed.
John Searle, The Construction of Social Reality, p. 191
Posted 3 years ago
Just as there are ground-floor institutional facts that require collective recognition, so there are macro or systematic fallouts of institutional facts that do not require collective recognition in order to exist but simply are consequences of the ground-floor institutional facts.

John Searle, Making the Social World, p. 23

Searle’s social philosophy here goes a long way towards succeeding where the analytical Marxists failed- in explaining the nature of class relations. Previously, many of the analytical Marxists either denied the objective existence of classes (and in so doing gave up a significant amount of the explanatory power of Marxian political economy) or gave inadequate functional explanations of them. But Searle’s conceptual apparatus gives us an excellent framework for explaining class. The class relation (not always collectively recognized) arises out of the relation of private property, ownership of capital, and the wage system (all collectively recognized)- very similar to Marx’s original formulation. Searle’s ideas, however, give this formulation a very robust and well thought-out basis.

Posted 3 years ago
We need not so much a philosophy of the social sciences of the present and the past as we need a philosophy for the social sciences of the future, and indeed, for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of social phenomena.

John Searle, Making the Social World, p. 5

This book is going to be the central text upon which my History & Theory of Geography term paper is built. It is exactly what I want: an analytic approach to social phenomena that avoids the needless reductionism of many other works of analytic philosophy on the same topic.