The Logical Foundations of Social Theory
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Methodology for the Social Sciences
We review Marx's theory of alienation and pick up with the transition from the young Marx to the mature Marx who breaks with Hegelian thought and the Young Hegelians. Reflecting on the disappointed hopes of the French Revolution, Hegel wrote that the civil servants in France represent the universal class. In direct contrast, Marx writes that the state only appears to be the universal class. He then goes about writing his theory of exploitation to argue that the workers, as the only fully alienated class, represent the universal position.
He responds to Feuerbach with his eleven theses arguing for his own brand of historical materialism. Many of his "Theses on Feuerbach" remain very famous and widely-associated with Marx's oeuvre, including the last thesis, thesis eleven: the point of philosophy is not only to understand the world, but to change it. Today we cover the transition from the young Marx, with his emphasis on change and action, to the mature Marx who turns toward positivist science and determinism, arguing that capitalism will have to fail.
Through a closer look at Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach," we discuss different theories of truth with attention to the questions of where truth resides in the subject, in the object, or some combination , how we know it, and how we know when we know it. Arguing for his conception of materialism, Marx argues that truth is not simply the reflection of the object in the mind of the subject; we must access truth through our senses and through activity. And we discuss two of Marx's historical materialist claims: life determines consciousness and the ruling class always determines the ruling ideas of a people.
In the Grundrisse, Marx revisits and revises his theory of historical change. Previously, he argued that history is characterized by a uni-linear increase in the division of labor. He also argued that class struggle caused revolutionary transitions from one mode of production to the next—slavery to feudalism to capitalism—and that Communism will be the last form of production.
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In the Grundrisse, Marx develops a theory of historical change focused on property relations and ownership. In addition, he depicts a more complex, multi-linear development of history. The facet of Marx which he exhibits in the Grundrisse tends not to be the one that is widely remembered, but understanding the nuances he presents there is crucial to fully understand his idea of history and historical change and the role of property in capitalism and Communism. In order to move from a theory of alienation to a theory of exploitation, Marx develops a concept of class and of the capitalist mode of production.
Marx argues that what sets the capitalist mode of production apart from the commodity mode of production is not only the accumulation of money; the capitalist mode of production is characterized by the use of labor power as a commodity to create more value. The capitalist compensates the laborer enough for his labor power to reproduce the commodity the labor power , but the laborers' power produces additional value: a surplus value for the owner.
The worker is exploited when he does not keep or control the value created by his own labor power. Marx argues that the capitalist system forces people into one of two classes: the capitalist bourgeoisie or the proletariat class of wage laborers.
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However, this is not empirically accurate historically or in our contemporary moment; experience has demonstrated that a middle class—including artisans and agricultural workers who control their own labor power and products—that do not fit into Marx's model of the capitalist mode of production. Today we take a bridge into the twentieth century, constructed by Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber's critical theory. Each author is different in important ways, but they also agree on two crucial points: we must subject our consciousness and assumptions to critical scrutiny and, along with increasing liberation and rationalization in some ways, modern society also has repressive elements.
Nietzsche is the oldest of these thinkers; he dies in and stops working a decade before due to mental illness. While he was ill, his sister, a proto-Nazi and associate of Hitler, cared for him. Her control of his papers and how they were released to the public painted him as a proto-Nazi himself, but reading his whole oeuvre illuminates that Nietzsche subjected Judaism and Christianity to the same scrutiny.
In The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche attempts to use the genealogy method to be critical of modern morality without taking a certain vantage point. We discuss most specifically his genealogy of the ideas of good and bad and of good and evil. Freud's brand of critical theory adds important dimensions; he argues that we can better understand our consciousness through the process of psychoanalysis—the talking cure, dream work, etc—and we can cure ourselves through this process as well.
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We discuss Freud's early days in Vienna developing psychoanalysis as a clinical approach alongside Jung, Ferenczi, and others in their tight-knit circle. They develop the ideas of the id, ego, and superego as well as the antithetical drives, the love drive Eros and the death drive Thanatos. Later, Freud applies these concepts to society as a whole in his books Totem and Taboo and Civilization and its Discontents.
His argument in Civilization and its Discontents calls to mind Nietzsche; he argues that the repression of urges and drives allows civilization to bloom and flourish, but the same repression is problematic on the level of individual psychology as well as on the level of civilization. Max Weber wrote his best-known work after he recovered from a period of serious mental illness near the turn of the twentieth century.
After he recovered, his work transitioned from enthusiastically capitalist and liberal in the tradition of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill to much more skeptical of the down-sides of modernization, more similar to the thinking of Nietzsche and Freud. In his first major work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber argues that the Protestant faith, especially Luther's notion of "calling" and the Calvinist belief in predestination set the stage for the emergence of the capitalist spirit.
With his more complex understanding of the causes of capitalism, Weber accounts for the motivations of capitalists and the spirit of capitalism and rationalization in ways that Marx does not. Diverging significantly from Marx's idea that history can be traced by the modes of production and the economy, Weber argues that history is characterized by different modes of authority.
Leaders gain authority through domination, a combination of power and legitimacy. Weber argues that throughout history, leaders have successfully established domination power along with legitimacy in three modes of authority: traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational. We return to Weber's idea of domination, Herrschaft. Herrschaft has been translated into English as "authority" and as "domination.
We turn to the first way leaders legitimate their authority or domination: tradition. The primary forms of traditional rule are patrimonialism and patriachialism.
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For Weber, the chief difference between these forms of rule is that the patriarch rules without a staff and the patrimonial leader requires a staff that obeys his authority by virtue of personal loyalty and tradition. We end with the primary tension between traditional authority and capitalism: traditional authority systems are not motivated by profit but by satisfaction of needs. Charismatic authority, unlike traditional authority, is a revolutionary and unstable form of authority. Weber borrows the religious term of charisma and extends its use to a secular meaning. Audiences and followers believe that charismatic leaders have a close connection to a divine power, have exceptional skills, or are exemplary in some way.
Charismatic leaders promise change in the future for the society and also change people's attitudes and values; in this way, charismatic authority is revolutionary in a way that traditional and legal-rational authority are not. However, charisma is unstable and deteriorates if the leader cannot produce the changes he promises or when he confronts the contradictory logics and demands of the other types of authority.
https://questanizit.tk There are particular ways—including search, revelation, designation, or heredity—that charismatic successors are identified, but transferring charismatic authority is difficult and not always successful. The purest form—the ideal type—of Weber's legal-rational type of authority is bureaucracy. Legal-rational authority indicates that authority is invested in a set of rules and rule-bound institutions and that the creating and changing the rules are outside of the control of those who administer them; it does not mean, however, that the authority is democratic.
Monarchs and even authoritarian leaders who recognize a set of laws external to their powers govern using legal-rational authority. The characteristics of bureaucracy include a fixed salary, posts based on technical skill rather than personal connections, a well-defined hierarchy, and continuous rules which bind the behavior of administrators and citizens or clients alike. Along with the macro-level shift from traditional forms of authority to legal-rational authority, Weber's theory of class identifies a macro-level shift from status to class determining life chances.
In feudal times, under traditional forms of authority, monarchs or others in power conferred high status upon individuals and material wealth followed; first a man would be named a nobleman, and then he would get his estate. Weber, in contrast to Marx, argues that class is a modern phenomenon.
However, this does not mean that our modern and contemporary world does not have versions of status. Like remnants of traditional and charismatic authority co-mingled with legal-rational authority in the state and other institutions, status still determines life chances to a certain extent.
The influence of status is somewhat subsumed under Weber's category of social class. Emile Durkheim, a French scholar who lived from until , was one of the first intellectuals to use the term "sociology" to describe his work. In the early years of his career, Durkheim's orientation was functionalist The Division of Labor in Society and positivist The Rules of Sociological Method ; in the early twentieth century he took a cultural turn and became interested in religion The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Throughout his career, Durkheim was a methodological collectivist, and—unlike Marx and Weber, who were interested in social conflict—was consistently interested in what holds society together.
Durkheim argues in The Division of Labor in Society that the type of social solidarity has changed, due to the increasing division of labor, from mechanical solidarity between similar individuals to organic solidarity based on difference. Inspired by Montesquieu, Durkheim tracks this change in types of solidarity and change in what he termed the "collective conscience" by looking at a shift in law, from penal law focused on punishing individuals to restitutory law based on contract. Durkheim believed that society would function better if individuals labor at different and complementary tasks with the same vision or goal in mind.
In the transition from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity, brought on by increasing division of labor, industrialization, and urbanization, Durkheim argues that there will be social pathologies, which he calls anomie. These abnormal and unhealthy consequences of the change in type of social solidarity have various causes. Durkheim is best known for arguing that a lack of moral regulation leads to social pathologies, but he also argues that overregulation—in the form of forced division of labor—will lead to fatalism, a kind of anomie.
Anomie resulting from excessive demands on individuals from the market is similar to Marx's notion of alienation, although Durkheim does not use the terms alienation or exploitation. For Durkheim, anomie is an irregular form of the increasing division of labor and industrialization; it is not internal to the system itself. Durkheim's optimism about capitalism and his position that people need regulation, similar to Hobbes's conception of human nature, contrast sharply with Marx's ideas.
Durkheim's Suicide is a foundational text for the discipline of sociology, and, over a hundred years later, it remains influential in the study of suicide. Durkheim's study demonstrates that what is thought to be a highly individual act is actually socially patterned and has social, not only psychological, causes. How can we free ourselves from thinking in terms possibly appropriate to an earlier age, but no longer appropriate to ours, though still powerful in our intellectual tradition?
What are the new presuppositions of social thought which can do justice to the changes in social organization? Yet, Gunnar Myrdal asked himself these and similar questions as a young man in Stockholm, before embarking on the voyage described above. His subsequent career looks almost like a series of attempts to extort from concrete problems time and time again the replies to these and similar fundamental questions.
His biography might be an exercise in practical methodology. So at least it may appear from the point of view of this book. The following collection of essays is intended to illustrate his repeated attempts to explore the logical, political and moral foundations of social thought and action, as he pursued diverse academic and political activities. The volume is a companion to Myrdal's youthful and iconoclastic Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory. From his young days as a rebel against the firmly. An unknown error has occurred.
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