Skip to main content

Beyond Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft: The Foundations for Ethical Political Humanist Social Science

A piece that I wrote for The Hampton Institution: A Working-Class Think Tank has been posted.

Here is a snapshot:

It is pertinent to recognize that social reality is not an aura of perceived characteristics, of which there lays no unifying substance that could account for coherence. There is an evident danger in oversimplifying things. The attempt of this paper is to promote an approach to social science that engages issues concerning social ontology; that is, epistemic positions in regards to the means by which to uncover underlying interconnecting structures that constitute the manifestation of certain types of social reality. In this sense, the very notion of society itself amounts to an immensely complex entity - the broad functioning of which cannot be captured by obscure models of positivistic simplification.

Pragmatism does not tell us about the existence of anything. By not grasping the essence of human behavior that exhibits interconnections, we as human beings are left mystified about the world in which we live in. As such, "the attempt to define some underlying reality beneath the ever-changing surface of human phenomena, to delineate the common psychobiological structure of man, to specify the common blueprint of the human animal." (Wolf, 1974 [1964]: 33) We must abandon our Hegelian selves; social scientists have a responsibility to illuminate the intersections of the latent and visible content of human endeavor such that intelligible conclusions of human social life can be holistically developed.

Read rest here


Popular posts from this blog

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…